High jumper quits in disgust | Sunday Observer

High jumper quits in disgust

Manjula Kumara Wijesekara
Manjula Kumara Wijesekara

Olympian high jumper Manjula Kumara Wijesekara announced his retirement this week bringing to an end almost 20 years in the field just days after the Department of Sports Development in the Sports Ministry controversially refused to permit him a place at the recent National Sports Festival.

“The Rules for competitions like the National Sports Festival should change. It should offer an opportunity to athletes who reside outside Sri Lanka to return and compete,” said Manjula as he announced his retirement.

“I competed at the Australian Open Championship with proper authorization from the Sri Lankan authorities and I achieved 2.15m. The Australian Open Championship is an international meet and recognized by the world of athletics as well as the Olympic movement.

“An athlete can achieve qualification standards for the Olympic Games and the World Championship but as for our National Sports Festival (NSF), I was told that it wasn’t recognized as a qualification event to consider my entry. I think these rules should change. The National Sports Festival is a platform for athletes to perform and not to block them,” said Manjula.

He said he hopes to be involved in sports in some other capacity in the future.

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