Athlete’s arrest and detention raises a hidden story? | Sunday Observer

Athlete’s arrest and detention raises a hidden story?

Rumeshika Ratnayake
Rumeshika Ratnayake

Several eyebrows have been raised and questions asked over the arrest and detention of female sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake who was on her way to the USA to follow a one month High Performance training course early this week.

While it has already been reported that the National Olympic Committee (NOC) has accused the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka of attempting to stall the progress of Ratnayake and having her arrested and held back by airport Police, questions have been raised on whether she was the ideal candidate to follow advance training in the USA ahead of many others.

According to an athletics official, Ratnayake had not taken part in the two mandatory trials held this year to select sprinters for next month’s Asian Athletics meet in Qartar and that alone raises the question on the criteria to select her for training in the USA at a time she did not present herself for the Asian Athletics meet selection trial.

He asked on what grounds was Ratnayake selected for the American course that was provided to her by the National Olympic Committee.

“There are better sprinters ahead of her and she has been given favourable treatment that cannot be justified”, the official said and requested that he not be named as he is not authorized to make any public comment.

But the NOC in a letter signed by its president Suresh Subramanium and addressed to Sports Minister Harin Fernando has declared that Ratnayake was the best candidate to follow the course in the USA.

The NOC while highlighting Ratnayake’s eligibility over the others with her performances and potential has also stated in the letter that athletes should not be subjected to “sexual harassment” or be “scarred mentally”.

The NOC reportedly does not see eye to eye with the Athletics Association and in the letter have accused them of causing the arrest and detention of Ratnayake.

Meanwhile it is also being alleged in athletic circles that some of Ratnayake’s close aides had been using and exploiting her financially when money and other benefits came her way following some of her successful performances in the past.

Athletics followers, the NOC and the Athletics Association are now eagerly awaiting the outcome of an inquiry that the Sunday Observer understands will reveal the truth of what is taking place in the country’s athletic set-up, the NOC as well as the airport episode involving Ratnayake.