Sri Lanka busts millions on alien sport | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka busts millions on alien sport

This is the sport that is called kho kho that Sri Lanka found it an honour to spend millions to be in
This is the sport that is called kho kho that Sri Lanka found it an honour to spend millions to be in

As many as 39 players and officials in a sport that critics say is akin to “chuck gudu” went on joy ride at December’s South Asian Games while a cycling event was fixed and legitimate boxers were replaced according to Probe report

Does any Sri Lankan sports fan know of a sport called Kho Kho. As the name alone may arouse curiosity and raise questions, it was bemusing yet true that Sri Lanka had sent 30 players and nine officials to participate in this sport at the 13th South Asian Games that was held in Nepal last year.

The event according to a Probe report now in the hands of the Sunday Observer, was a mere joy ride in the Himalayan kingdom.

The Sports Ministry has refused to make the Probe report public and according to a Ministry official the investigation was done for “private purposes”.

The Probe report has been submitted by the SAG Review Committee to the Director General of the Sports Ministry.

The Sports Ministry had spent Rs 8 million for just this one team of 30 players plus nine officials that proved an utter loss of public funds.

The players failed to do anything worthwhile and now the Ministry is to hold an inquiry into the conduct of this team.

Kho Kho is a tag sport and played between two teams of nine players each. The defending team would sit on their knees in the middle of a rectangular field the size of a basketball court.

The other team players will try to tap them on their run round the court. This is exactly how the locally named sport called “chuck gudu” is played according to some officials.

Questions are also being raised whether there is a controlling body for this sport, who are its office-bearers and it is alleged that the team was selected on the notion of what is called “picking their own players” without even conducting trials.

Along with Kho Kho the other teams that failed miserably were football and handball that only managed to win a bronze medal.

Football sent 40 players plus eight officials that consisted of both the men’s and women’s teams while handball had 32 players plus seven officials.

It is reported that the Ministry had spent more than Rs.10 million for the football teams while another Rs.10 million was set aside for the handball team.

An inquiry will also be conducted on the Cycling Federation at the Games as there is an allegation that it had not fielded a proper team for the Down Biking event that requires special bikes.

They had fielded two cyclists for the event probably on a request made by one of the countries as at least three teams are required to conduct the event.

The two Sri Lankan riders had done just two rounds and given up that allowed the two other teams to win the Gold and Silver medals.

This move by the Cycling Federation is alleged to be of a suspicious nature and the Ministry is to conduct an inquiry against the Federation.

Some athletes from other countries who won medals in athletic events were suspected to have taken performance enhancing drugs which is being probed by WADA.

Sri Lanka won 251 medals, the highest number after a long lapse of time, at a South Asian Games.

The swimming team had also done well to win seven Golds, 11 Silvers and 18 Bronze medals swimming in icy cold water which was against procedure on the part of the Games organisers.

An inquiry is to be conducted on why two leading swimmers, Kimiko Raheem and Cherantha de Silva, were not included in the team. It is reported that the two swimmers had stated that they were sick and unable to join the team but not submitted medical reports.

Even the weight lifting team was not selected by conducting trials while the badminton team had included extra players who were not part of the pool.

The Probe report further reveals that the two boxers who were legitimately selected were replaced by two other boxers while the women’s volleyball team was also a disaster.

It also claims that officials from the NOC and the Ministry were in conflict while athletes had difficulty in securing accommodation on their arrival, the result of lethargy on the part of officials.

Before their departure to Nepal the athletes were housed at a location infested with mosquitoes which resulted in some of them falling sick.