Sri Lanka NOC rubbishes 58 officials at Tokyo Olympics | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka NOC rubbishes 58 officials at Tokyo Olympics

5 June, 2021
Tokyo Olympics 2020
Tokyo Olympics 2020

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka has refuted claims that it plans to send a large contingent of officials and non athletes to the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to be held next month calling it ‘slanderous misinformation’.

“We clearly stated in our communiqué that the contingent would be eight athletes and fifteen officials in number and it was the guideline set forth by the IOC. However, a person who is a resident of Thailand seems to have been privy to this misinformation and come out with this highly malicious statement alleging that the Olympic tour squad comprises two athletes accompanied by 58 officials at a cost of Rs. 22 million. That information is totally false,” stated Maxwell de Silva, the Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee.

“The total budget of Rs.22 million is correct. The NOC contributes Rs.9.2 million or 41.4 % of the Budget and the Ministry’s contribution is 58.7 % of which approximately 43 % consist of cost related to Covid expenses, airfare and accommodation cost for six journalists. VIP accommodation, amounts to Rs.5.7 million and also there is provision of transportation of the horse (for equestrian event) amounting to Rs. 1 million and another Rs. 400,000 for shooting ammunition transport etc. This is the total commitment for the Tokyo 2020,” said de Silva.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) is yet to name their athletes who have qualified for the Olympics with the closing date fast approaching on June 29.

One athlete who is almost certain to qualify is Nilani Ratnayake the 3000m steeple chaser who is ranked 32 in the list while a total of 45 will be eligible to qualify. As for the other athletes they will have to first participate in an international meet that is to be held in Kazakhstan this month. They will have to perform at their best to reach qualification.

However, according to retired Maj Gen Palitha Fernando the president of SLA they are still awaiting approval from the Minister to proceed. Besides, they will also face difficulty in obtaining visas to Kazakhstan at short notice. This will only jeopardize any chances they have to qualify.

Yupun Abeykoon who trains in Italy is the best prospect in the 100m event for men. He is 58th while only 56 will be selected for Tokyo.

Athletes Nimali Liyanarachchi and Dilshi Kumarasinghe who are specialists in the 800m are within touching distance and everything will depend on their participating at the Kazakhstan Open.

The US based high jumper Ushan Thiwanka is joint world number seven this year while 400m runner Nadeesha Ramanayake is within touching distance of qualification.