The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) announced dates for the national athletics trials and the National Athletic Championships at a press briefing held at the Ramada Hotel last evening (11).
Accordingly, the national trials, which will function to form a national contingent are scheduled to be held from the 23-25th of October 2020, while the National Athletic Championships are expected to commence some time in December.
Following the announcement of schedules, the President of the AASL Major General Palitha Fernando also revealed the new sponsor for Sri Lanka Athletics, the Gnanam Foundation. The Major went on to express his thanks to the Foundation for coming in to sponsor the sport despite the economic difficulties faced globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are ready to use this sponsorship for the development of the athletes in Sri Lanka. We will be using it to fulfill the requirements of athletes competing in local competition. The sponsorship will not be applicable for overseas competitions.” He went on to say.
Speaking on the national trials, the Major said that the AASL is determined to hold the competition as scheduled, no matter what obstacles come their way.
“We will have to make sure the event goes ahead as schedule, failing which we will have no way of having these athletes train together as a national squad. Holding the trials in late October means that we only have November and December of this year to train together.
By April 2021, we have to finalize a squad for the Asian Relay Championships and then in May we have the Asian Athletics Championships. In the midst of these events, if more international events are scheduled, we need to be prepared for that as well.”
“If we are to give athletes a fair chance of gaining qualification for these championships, then we need to have identified the top athletes in the relevant events. So the trials are an essential part of our schedule. If we cannot complete it in 3 days, we are ready to seek advise from the health authorities and extend it accordingly.”
This situation (the pandemic) has a huge impact on our work. The Asian Youth Championships are to be held next year but the Ministry of Education has not given the go ahead for schools sports to go ahead. So we are even prepared to limit the number of events on one day and try to finalize that contingent as well.” Major Fernando continued.
Furthermore, he also revealed that teams of athletes are continuing to engage in training at Diyathalawa, Boralanda and Colombo.