Prime Minister pledges patronage for the Promising | Sunday Observer

Prime Minister pledges patronage for the Promising

Dilshy Kumarasinghe who won gold medals in the 400, 800 and 4X400 metres at last month’s South Asian Games receives her financial reward of Rs.1.5 million from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presence of Sports Minister Dullas Allahapperuma (Pix Sulochana Gamage)
Dilshy Kumarasinghe who won gold medals in the 400, 800 and 4X400 metres at last month’s South Asian Games receives her financial reward of Rs.1.5 million from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presence of Sports Minister Dullas Allahapperuma (Pix Sulochana Gamage)

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he wants to make sports economically vibrant so it will help athletes develop and improve to international standards.

He made the remarks at the felicitation ceremony of the South Asian Games medal winners at the Nelum Pokuna on Tuesday as swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe’s father Manoj was presented with a reward of Rs.3.5 million, the highest, on behalf of his son who won a record seven Golds at the Games

He along with the Ministry of Sports, plan to increase the financial status in the ministry as it plays a major role in sustaining the athletes in their endeavour to develop further.


The captain of the gold medal winning volleyball team A Ekanayake receives the prize money on behalf of his players     

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that he was very honoured and proud to have the opportunity to stand in front of the medal winners who brought honour and glory to the country.

“When I was the president of the Athletic Association I was happy to get the opportunity to see Susanthika Jayasinghe win at international meets.

In the same way I got the opportunity to speak in the presence of you,” said Prime Minister Rajapaksa. “You have shown the way to win for others too. I believe that the others too can win in the future. We have been lagging behind in the past but you have shown the way for others to shine,” he added.

He said he understood that the athletes faced many difficulties in Nepal where some even fell sick yet nothing stopped them from performing and winning medals. “The silver medals won by Duncan White and Sustanthika Jayasinghe at the Olympic Games and the cricket team that won the World Cup in 1996 are very valuable for us,” said Rajapaksa. “I as a father look forward for my sons to do well in sports. In the same way all fathers anxiously see whether their children are shinning in sports.”

“We must go in search of athletes, they will not come to us. They must be groomed further to enhance their standard. It is with this intention that the government has decided to promote and upgrade sports so that there will be a good society in the future.

“A Sports University will be established for these reasons and with all facilities at the Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.”

The Prime Minister recalled how when he as President of the country endeavoured to host the Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka but were unable to. “If we had got the opportunity to host the Games that time, it would have encouraged the athletes to look forward to something more inspirational. We need to build the confidence levels of our athletes while developing the infrastructure,” he said.

There were 251 athletes who won medals at the 13th South Asian Games held in Nepal in December. Each gold medal received a cash reward of Rs. 500,000. A silver medal fetched Rs. 300,000 cash reward and a bronze medal fetched Rs. 200,000.

The cash rewards for the gold medal winners received their prizes from the Prime Minister who was the chief guest at the ceremony.

Comments