Sri Lanka to contest 17 sports at Asian Games | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka to contest 17 sports at Asian Games

26 March, 2023

For the first time in Sri Lanka a record number of 17 sports have been earmarked to be contested at the Asian Games in September this year.

Besides this, the National Sports Council (NSC) has stressed that only athletes who have the potential to win medals will be selected to represent the country.

The final decision on the number of athletes to represent the country will be taken after Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe holds a discussion with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and the NSC next week.

These revelations were made when the Minister Ranasinghe met the athletes in the high performance program along with the NSC chaired by Arjuna Ranatunga at the Duncan White Auditorium at the Sports Ministry on Tuesday (21).

Ranatunga noted that the contingent will be trimmed down and only those who are medal winning prospects will be considered. “Additionally, other than the coach and the manager, the Ministry will not approve additional individuals to travel with the Sri Lankan contingent,” Ranatunga added.

“There has been a delay in the selection of the final contingent, due to several sports associations not conducting their selection trials to date,” said Minister Ranasinghe.

“Athletes must continue with their training throughout the year if they wish to improve and officials have to make plans to get more success,” emphasized Minister Ranasinghe.

Several athletes in the high performance pool also aired their grievances to the Minister at the discussion. They reiterated that lack of financial support also hampered their progress somewhat.

Sri Lanka’s preparations in several sports have been hampered by the dollar crisis faced by the country, as their respective sports associations have been unable to enlist overseas coaches.

Meanwhile athletes travelling from the outstations have been affected by the closure of the canteen at the Department of Sports Development Hostel at Torrington.

Some of the high performance pool athletes also claimed that they have not received allowances promised by the Ministry since November last year.

In response, Ranatunga said that a lot of these issues arise from a lack of communication between national associations and the NSC.

“Only the Paralympic committee responds immediately to the letters we send them,” Ranatunga said, adding that it was one of the main reasons for the delay in finalizing Sri Lanka’s contingent for the Asian Games.

In the history of the Asian Games, Sri Lanka has won 49 medals – 11 gold, 11 silver and 27 bronze medals.

At the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta however, Sri Lanka returned without a medal, though 173 athletes went for the Games.