Sri Lanka Olympic Day to combat coral mining | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka Olympic Day to combat coral mining

Suresh Subramanium (left) president of NOC and Maxwell de Silva at the media briefing on Olympic Day Run held at the NOC on Thursday.  Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe
Suresh Subramanium (left) president of NOC and Maxwell de Silva at the media briefing on Olympic Day Run held at the NOC on Thursday. Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka has lined up many significant events to mark the Olympic Day celebrations which fall on June 23, but the country will celebrate it on June 25 in Matara. The event is celebrated all over the world on June 23.

The most significant event will be the replanting of corals off the sea of Matara where the marine system has been destroyed by vendors who have plundered the reef for financial gain.

The other important event is the run which will be held on June 25 so as to accommodate school children from the close proximity of Matara to run the four kilometre distance. The run will begin at 3.30 p.m. from Polhena and culminate at the Uyanwatte cricket ground with over 1000 school children in attendance.

There won’t be a winner as all will run together from start to finish.

Olympic Games silver medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe will be there and exhibit her medal so that the public can catch a glimpse of it.

The chief guest at the event will be the minister of Ports, Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake.

Making this year’s event unique, the NOC has diverted its focus on environmental protection in their endeavour to become a partner to the global conscience. The events will begin with the cleaning of the beach with the participation of several state institution personnel, school children and parents.

To make the event more vivid a string of beach sports activities such as beach volleyball, beach kabaddi, fun surfing and several other events are lined up.

Already an Open Art Competition has been launched for schools in the Matara area on the theme ‘give the coral another chance’. The winners of this event will be presented with prizes and certificates.

The NOC is planning to spread the awareness of sustaining coral cover which has been damaged to an alarming extent. They will develop an information centre on Coral Preservation at the Polhena beachfront to start with.

The NOC has also sought the guidance and assistance of different partners such as the National Aquatic Resource and Development Authority (NARA), the Navy combined with Coast Conservation, Coast Guard, Marine Environment Protection Authority, Ocean Resources Conservation Association (ORCA), Tokyo Cement and the Wildlife Authority to work at the information centre.

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