Millions busted as Sri Lanka falls short at SA Games | Sunday Observer

Millions busted as Sri Lanka falls short at SA Games

Sri Lankan sports officials have expressed dismay at the current performance of the country’s athletes at the South Asian Games in Nepal saying the investment has not brought forth its desired results.

As many as 567 athletes from Sri Lanka from many sports arrived here in Nepal to contest the 10-day event making it the biggest contingent at the Games behind giant neighbour India and host Nepal.

“The government spent nearly a hundred thousand for each of the athletes selected for their final preparations before the games and Rs.123 million was spent on air travel and other expensives and over a hundred of them were not able to win a single medal,” said a charged up Dhammika Mutugala who is the director general of sports in the Sports Ministry.

But according to analysts nothing is likely to change, or may change if a new system is introduced, as the trend of squandering of funds has always been part and parcel of Olympic sports in the country and continues to grow unchecked.

In addition, funds were also utilised for four officials from the Examinations Department to accompany six athletes who were also sitting for their OL examination raising questions on whether it was lunacy for sportsmen to focus on both studies as well as a Games competition at the same time which is not known to happen anywhere else in the world.“You either stay at home and do your academic exam or you forget about it and do sports whichever you think can bring you a future,” said one official at the Games.

According to Mutugala, assurances were given by numerous sports associations in Sri Lanka that their sportsmen and women will be able to account for 64 gold medals alone and not even half that number had been achieved so far. “We doled out funds to the affiliated associations for their athletes to benefit with nutrition but most of these associations used that money to buy air tickets.

The bottom line is that we are not satisfied with the results that is not in keeping with our investment,” said Mutugala.

“The biggest nation India sent a small number in their contingent based on the medal prospects and we make up the largest participation after the host nation. We need to take a good look at all this especially about winning medals.”

Matugala also questioned the wisdom of recruiting foreign coaches, some them paid nearly half a million rupees a month which could have been put to better use to train local coaches. He singled out volleyball as one of the culprit team sports with a foreign coach.“Our coaches are much better than experts from other countries and the language is very important when coaching,” said Mutugala.

He acknowledged that 24 officials from the Ministry of Sports also made the trip to Nepal.

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