Local athletics coaches gang up to rid Sri Lanka of foreign experts | Sunday Observer

Local athletics coaches gang up to rid Sri Lanka of foreign experts

21 November, 2021
Cuban coach Luis Miranda
Cuban coach Luis Miranda

Athletes preparing for the Asian Games left to fend for themselves ahead of trials:

At least three foreign athletic coaches will be sent back to their respective countries after several of their local counterparts ganged up against the overseas visitors, the Sunday Observer learns.

The local coaches who have yet to prove their credentials have already succeeded in sending away the foreigners allegedly with the help of some Sports Officers in the Ministry of Sports.

One such coach who will make his exit in December is Luis Miranda who has been successful in uplifting the standards of high and long jumpers to new heights. These top national athletes have been left puzzled and want to know who will be in charge of them with just four months to go for trials for selecting athletes for the Asian Games.

It is learnt that these local coaches who also guide national and school level athletes, have grown jealous at the large sums of money being paid to these foreign coaches.

Athletes who were being trained under these local coaches have also been decreasing in numbers while it was the other way around with the foreign coaches.

Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) and some Ministry officials who understood the situation had resolved the matter on numerous occasions earlier.

But the newest plot this year is that the local coaches allegedly came up with bogus reports to show the failures of the foreign coaches and succeeded in their campaign to oust them.

As the Asian Games is the most looked forward to event, the athletes and SLA had requested that these foreign coaches be retained at least until the trials are held. But these requests fell on deaf ears.

Sri Lanka had three foreign coaches in Miranda who is a specialist in grooming jumpers, Sergio Manuel Rodríguez who is a specialised sprinting coach highly regarded by Susanthika Jayasinghe’s coach Tony Campbell during his visit to Sri Lanka and a Kenyan middle distance coach Dan Muchoki, who was the national coach of Kenya.

The two Cuban coaches Miranda and Manuel Rodriguez were doing very well while several athletes who were training under the Kenyan had stopped attending his training sessions.

“They are well trained coaches who believe in a long-term plan of three to four years, rather than the present day Sri Lankan coaches’ theory of short term plans that destroy the athletes. “These local coaches want quick results and do not believe in long term plans. Our target was to keep them until at least the end of the trials to be held in April next year,” said the president of SLA Maj. Gen. Palitha Fernando.

During his nine year stay here Miranda guided the local jumpers to achieve new heights. Men’s jumpers were recording over eight metres with the Sri Lanka record standing at 7.86 metres. Even the women’s long and triple jump records were shattered.

Currently, the Sri Lanka long jump record holder is Amila Jayasiri (8.15m) and the top ranked jumper is Janaka Prasad Wimalasiri (PB 8.14m).

Women’s SAG Gold medallist triple jumper Hashini Balasooriya (PB 13.40m), women’s long jump SAG silver medallist Anjani Pulwansa (PB 6.26m), former Sri Lanka triple jump men’s record holder Sanjaya Jayasinghe and several other jumpers were moulded by Miranda and were all targeting next year’s Asian Games trials.