‘Send the children back to play’ | Page 2 | Sunday Observer
Coaches and parents told…:

‘Send the children back to play’

26 June, 2022
The fullhouse of coaches who received their licences
The fullhouse of coaches who received their licences

More than 100 taekwondo, boxing and athletic coaches were awarded certificates after successfully completing the Level One course conducted by the National Institute of Sports Science (NISS) which comes under the aegis of the Sports Ministry.

The coaches were urged to not only focus on teaching techniques of a particular discipline but to be a mentor to students and prepare them to face the challenges in life.

The Secretary to the ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Anuradha Wijekoon who was the chief guest on the occasion exhorted coaches and even parents to bring back children to the playgrounds which he said are deserted.

“We have so many playgrounds all around the country but how many are really being used. Some are brand new because they are not used but everything has an expiry date,” he said.

Wijekoon, who was earlier secretary to the Education Ministry, said education and sports should go hand in hand to produce healthy citizens. He wanted coaches to create a wholesome package for aspiring stars by getting the assistance of experts in various different fields to provide them a wholesome education about life.

“It’s not just about winning. We must instill discipline in children to accept defeat,” he said. The top bureaucrat in the Sports Ministry urged all stakeholders in sports to work towards making the country a hub for sporting activity. As a first step, he assured that the archaic Sports Act of 1973 would be changed within this year to keep pace with the times. “This is the era of globalization and digital technology. Even coaches should be updated about the latest techniques,” he said.

Wijekoon also urged coaches not to hold their charges to ransom by not releasing them when they reach a different stage. “They don’t have a marriage contract with their students to keep them hostage for life when they want to grow their careers. Experience sharing is important,” he said.

He also wondered whether talent-hunting was happening properly in the country with the intention of winning medals at international level. “We have to go and look for talent in the villages instead of waiting for children to come to play cricket because they like it. There may be a lot of children with hidden talent,” he pointed out.

He also pointed out that in other countries nobody can become a coach without a license. “We are in the process of introducing a coaching licensing system so that children will get proper guidance in sports,” he said.

Wijekoon was also of the opinion that a new sporting culture should be created but change should begin at home. “The economic difficulties we are going through are nothing compared to the problems we face in sports. We should have more Olympic medals but do we have a strategy to produce champions even at the Asian level,” he queried.