EXPOSED: Sri Lanka wanted rugby team out of Games | Sunday Observer

EXPOSED: Sri Lanka wanted rugby team out of Games

Faizer Mushtapha
Faizer Mushtapha

Sri Lanka wanted its rugby team out of the Commonwealth Games, but for reasons known only to a Committee that was empowered to submit recommendations, the players were sent to compete at the event in Gold Coast, Australia and returned humiliated and thrashed like lever before.

Sri Lanka finished 15th out of 16 nations to field teams at the Games that raised several eyebrows over their participation against the heavyweights of rugby who mostly belong to the Commonwealth fraternity.

Rugby in Sri Lanka is run by a body called Sri Lanka Rugby headed by Asanga Seneviratne who is also a vice president of the National Olympic Committee.

He is likely to lose his position to the up-and-coming former Sri Lanka third row player Lasitha Gunaratne who will contest him at an election of office bearers this month.

Meanwhile in another startling revelation the new Sports Minister Faizer Mushtapha learnt to his dismay that despite a recommendation made by the Committee to limit the number of participants at the Commonwealth Games to 33, as many as 82 took wing to Australia, a virtual sightseeing tour for most of them.

Minister Mushtapha learnt about the scenario first hand when he inquired about it from one of the Committee members, retired Gen Daya Ratnayake.

Gen Ratnayake could only smile when the Minister asked him how was it that the same Committee that recommended the participation of only 33 athletes had approved an 82-member contingent.

“So it was a joy ride for them”, the Minister told Gen Ratnayake.

The Committee was headed by Sunil Gunawardene with EALCK Edirisinghe, IP Wijeyaratne and Susanthika Jayasinghe forming part of it along with Gen Ratnayake.

They were appointed by the then Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara to submit a report regarding Sri Lanka’s participation at the Commonwealth Games.

Minister Mushtapha had immediately ordered the setting up of a Committee to clean up the rot with instructions that only athletes with result-producing potential be picked to represent Sri Lanka at future international events.