After coming back to the island with only one bronze medal at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championship 2019, the athletes met Sri Lankan Sports Minister, Harin Fernando on Thursday, 2nd May at the Sports Ministry premises in Colombo.
Sri Lanka fielded a team of 15 athletes who competed in 11 individual events and 1 relay event throughout the four days of competition. Sri Lanka’s sole medal came in the Women’s Triple Jump event when Vidusha Lakshan won the Bronze with a best jump of 13.53m. Steeple chaser Nilani Rathnayake and Women’s 4X400m team came ever so close to winning a medal with the latter breaking a 20-year old national record.
“I had a lengthy discussion with the athletics team who participated in Qatar. The focus point during the discussion was on what we could do in the future. If we analyze the timings closely, I believe we could have won at least five medals. Somehow, we couldn’t get podium finishes as much as we expected.” The Minister said.
There were high expectations of Gayanthika Abeyrathne and Nimali Liyanarachchi, who were the prime medal hopefuls for Sri Lanka in the Women’s 800m event. Both had won medals in the 2017 edition but flopped this year ending in 4th and 7th places respectively.
Triple jumper, Vidusha Lakshani saved Sri Lanka’s blushes as she avenged her missed Bronze in the 2017 edition…
The Minister also stated that in the future, the athletes in the ‘Super Pool’ will have training camps under the guidance of the Sri Lanka Army before an international event.
Minister said: “Currently, most of our athletes apart from cricket are from the forces. Therefore, all our national pools will collaborate with the Sri Lanka Army in conducting residential camps in the future. We will also target the medal hopefuls, form a ‘Super Pool’ and fund their domestic and international training. “
Secretary to the Minister of Sports, Chulananda Perera also stated that providing adequate facilities in terms of international standard training stadiums will be seriously looked at, as Sri Lanka aim to bring back glory days in athletics. He also stressed that the internal rifts in the sport’s governing bodies in the country is the main reason why the country’s sport has suffered in the international stage.
“As a government official, I cannot be happy with the way elected officials run 90% of the governing bodies in the country.” He said.
“We are trying our best to overcome this situation as a Ministry by opening new stadiums and renovainge old sport complexes. Next month, we will open six more stadiums and complete the re-laying of the Synthetic Track in Diyagama.”
All the focus of the Sports Ministry will now be on the upcoming 13th South Asian Games, which will see over 700 Sportsmen of Sri Lanka participating in Nepal from the 1st to 10th December.