Minister brands badminton a family business | Sunday Observer

Minister brands badminton a family business

17 February, 2019
Harin Fernando
Harin Fernando

Minister of Sports Harin Fernando branded the Sri Lanka Badminton Association as a “family business” along with several other sports bodies in what some analysts say has been a long overdue public assessment of sports organisations in the country.

But independent observers are skeptical and contend that nothing is likely to change given the numerous remarks and branding made by Minister Fernando’s predecessors.

It is well known and spoken of in sporting circles in the country that badminton is being influenced by the Karunaratne family.

Minister Fernando made his remarks at his ministry on Thursday and further said that the Ministry of Sports spends nearly 3000 to 4000 US dollars (Rs 750,000) a month for a foreign coach for badminton but there was no proper national pool formed.

“We are planning to conduct a sports bodies symposium this month and will take everything up for discussion as well as our future plans,” Minister Fernando said.

He declared that the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation continues to function under the administration of the Ministry of Sports due to legal issues since 2014 saying it was a sad situation for Sri Lanka sports and that Interim Committees were not the solution.

“All sports bodies must hold their elections this year,” he said.

“We need to develop all sports, specially medal-prospective sports and there are good opportunities to win medals in the aquatic sports and wushu (martial arts) in the international arena.”

Minister Fernando said that following a lengthy discussion with the National Sports Council, the Sports Ministry is to establish a “super pool” consisting of sportsmen and sportswomen who have high potential to secure international medals as well as introduce an insurance scheme for all sports personnel.

The renovation of nine stadiums all over the country that will be under the direct purview of the Sports Ministry is also in the pipeline.

“We are ashamed that we have only one synthetic track in the country”, said Fernando. “We are opening the sports complex in Killinochchi on March 1 with the support of the Indian Embassy.”

He said that the Ministry has called for tenders relating to High Performance Centres which will be prioritized in what he called an “endeavour to uplift sports in Sri Lanka”.