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A Request to Chairman of National Sports Council

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A Request to Chairman of National Sports Council Mr. Mahela Jayawardene, and to its members, especially Mr. Kumar Sangakkara.
Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam. Ph.D. (Cornell)
Olympian 1952 and 1956.
Gold Medalist 1958 Asian Games, Tokyo.

My appreciation to Mr. Sangakkara for addressing, in his interview with Rex Clementine in the Island newspaper of August 22, 2020, the need to update the Sports Law of 1973 and its subsequent amendments. Though there are many sections that needed to be updated, I would like to specifically address two that need to be included or updated. I am making my observations and recommendation to improve the sports associations’ noble efforts in the spirit of the Olympic Games and not as a criticism.

 

They are:

1. Specify new requirements for registration of any Olympic Sport to be formed as a National Sports Association in addition to the current requirement.

2. Specify new requirements for any National Sports Association that wants to be affiliated to the corresponding International Association and the National Olympic Committee (NOC), in addition to the current requirement.

 

There are, as of end of 2019, thirteen (13) Olympic Sports Associations or Federations affiliated to the NOC Sri Lanka. Out of them Cricket, Athletics, Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball have functioning District Associations in all, or a majority, of the 25 Districts in Sri Lanka. The other registered National Sports Associations affiliated to the NOC are not as well registered in Districts across the country. This assessment is by personal observation. None of the associations have indicated in their websites the number of District Associations, their membership, or whether the District associations are represented in their Council. Such information should be published.

The rational for my suggestion of item 1 and 2 is based on the Spirit of the Olympic Games and Olympism, Vision and Mission that were adopted by the NOC SL (See Constitution of NOC SL adopted 04-01-2018)

“Olympism is a philosophy of life which places sport at the service of humanity. This philosophy is based on the interaction of the qualities of the body, will and mind. Olympism is expressed through actions which link sport to culture and education.”

 

Vision

Contribute to the building of a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practices without discrimination of any form whatsoever and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

 

Mission

Develop, promote and protect the Olympic movement in Sri Lanka, in accordance with the Olympic Charter”. “Also committed to propagate Sports in Sri Lanka and thereby to achieve unity and brotherhood among the different communities living in Sri Lanka and to promote sportsmanship and healthy competition in the World Sports Arena.

Except for the Associations or Federations mentioned above none of the others are abiding by the spirit of Olympism or the NOC’s Vision and Mission. In most of such associations they do not abide by their Mission, Vision and Aim as stated in their websites.

The rationale for Items 1 and 2 above is based on observation of the activities of the National Sports Associations. For example, Soccer, Cricket, Athletics have functioning District Associations and have also spread their sport activities to most schools in almost all of the 25 Districts in Sri Lanka.

Many of the National Associations that are affiliated currently as members of the National Olympic Committee are not active in more than 3 – 5 Districts. Examples are Tennis, Golf, Archery, Rowing, Aquatic Sports, Yacht Association of Sri Lanka (YASL). Such organisations however represent Sri Lanka, at the expense of funds allocated by the Sports Ministry, because of their affiliation to the NOC and International Associations of their respective sports.

International Associations, except the ICC, do not have or have not published established criteria of representation a country should require to represent and to be affiliated to the International Association beyond the legal requirement to register an organisation within a country. It is therefore important for the Sports Law to address the issue. National Sports Council can examine the problem and make amendments to the Sports Law to ensure that the National Sports Associations and Federations adhere to Olympism and the Vision and Mission of the NOC. The NOC Constitution has provisions to consider and make amendments in its Annual General Assembly.

It is important to require all of the NOC affiliates to establish District Associations to increase the pool of events Participants and Officials in their sport. Such a spread will improve performance and number of performers in their sports in local and international competitions. Such a spread will also give the youths in all of Sri Lanka equal opportunities to achieve their potential.

National Sports Associations and Federations may not have the financial resources to establish District Associations in all 25 Districts. To start with the Sports Ministry and the Mercantile sector can help Olympic Sports Associations in at least 13 Districts first and then increase to at least one each year.

An Association of any sport should not be accredited as a National Sports Association for membership in its corresponding International Association if it cannot give a chance to citizens in all or at least most of the Districts in Sri Lanka to be selected for a National Team.

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“Crysbro Next Champ” join forces with NOC to empower young athletes

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Under the agreement, Crysbro will serve as the sponsor for 20 deserving athletes scouted by NOCSL, with potential to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games 2022, Asian Games 2022, Commonwealth Games 2022, and South Asian Games 2021.(Pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja)

As part of its ongoing mission to empower and support the aspirations of young people in rural Sri Lanka, poultry producer Crysbro signed a landmark MOU with the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) to launch the ‘NOCSL-CRYSBRO Next Champ’ scholarship programme. The objective of this magnanimous partnership is to uplift talented young Sri Lankan athletes to the international sports arena.

Under the agreement, Crysbro will serve as the sponsor for 20 deserving athletes scouted by NOCSL, with potential to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games 2022, Asian Games 2022, Commonwealth Games 2022, and South Asian Games 2021.

Sri Lanka’s living athletic legend, Olympic medal winner, Susanthika Jayasinghe praised the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka for joining hands with Crysbro in this multimillion rupee sponsorship to empower and support deserving athletes from Sri Lanka’s rural settings.

“We are extremely honoured to join forces with the National Olympic Committee to unearth and groom the future torch bearers of Sri Lankan sports. While it is certainly rewarding to help these young athletes realize their aspirations of winning a medal at these games, our primary focus will be on supporting the journey, the strategy, and the holistic development of each athlete which involves a combination of physical, mental, and psychological training. However, at the core of this initiative, is a deep desire to elevate the experiences of many resilient Sri Lankan athletes in rural areas with big dreams but with very little financial backing to make them a reality,” Crysbro Senior Marketing Manager Amores Sellar said.

In addition, this partnership will see the launch of an online portal, which for the very first time in Sri Lanka will enable members of the public to financially sponsor rural athletes, school sports associations, and sports clubs and chambers. All funds collected through this portal will be fully disbursed to the entities they were contributed, a process carefully overlooked and strictly managed by NOCSL.

The scholarships will cover costs such as nutrition, transportation costs, coaching fees, accommodation, logistics such as clothing, sports gear, and medical expenses necessary for the training, grooming and development of each selected athlete. The programme will also give athletes access to a combination of high-value tools and world-class mentors, including foreign training exposures.

“Our partnership with Crysbro offers a unique opportunity for home grown athletes to succeed in the global arena. Over the course of two years, they will have access to numerous tools that will assuage the challenges they may face due to inherent financial and situational constraints, and flourish in a sustainable support system that identifies, nurtures, and maximizes their potential. We are excited to kick off this venture as one which would undoubtedly contribute greatly to furthering the Nation’s agenda for sports,” stated National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, Secretary General, Maxwell De Silva.

The ‘NOCSL-CRYSBRO Next Champ’ scholarship programme is phase-II of Crysbro’s ‘Next Champ’ scholarship programme, which up to date has groomed and supported the dreams of 120 young athletes from the under-privileged regions of the country. The initiative has also successfully produced a collection of athletes who secured gold and silver medals at the recent South Asian Games in Nepal.

Crysbro Next Champ not only recognizes and rewards young sporting talent from all corners of the country, but also budding athletes from multiple sporting disciplines with guidance from experts on aspects such as proper training methods and a suitable diet. The project’s founding vision sought to bolster Crysbro’s already significant social contribution as a key pillar of the country’s rural economy plus creating sporting opportunities and promoting the message of staying physically and mentally active.

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Dean Jones – Sri Lanka’s friend indeed

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by Rex Clementine

The Aussies were in Galle for the first Test of the series in 2004 and Dean Jones joked in commentary. He said that it took him less than four hours from Singapore to Katunayake but five hours to get to Galle from Katunayake! He was driving home some pertinent points. Travel in Sri Lanka before the highway days was a nightmare. Sri Lanka Cricket did not raise objections with the television company that employed Jones nor did the Sports Ministry. His criticism was well taken by all and sundry. Jones didn’t mince any words. He was a bold critic. As The Island’s former Editor Mr. Gamini Weerakoon used to say, ‘A good journalist works with his resignation letter in the pocket.’

Jones was a huge fan of Sri Lanka. After the death of Tony Greig, he was an ideal ambassador to promote tourism and he did a splendid job. Some of his best moments in commentary came in Sri Lanka.

He earned the nickname of ‘Professor Deano’ for the pre-match show that he did during a triangular series in Dambulla. Jones was dressed as a Professor giving the pitch report and supporting him was up and coming actress Anarkali Akarsha, just 18-years-old. The show was a hit and fans took an immediate liking to both the ex-cricketer and budding actresses.

Not that his career was entirely smooth. During a Test match at P. Sara Oval in 2006, Ten Sports fired him while the day’s play was in progress for calling Hashim Amla a ‘terrorist’. Jones was off air but the microphone in the studio had picked his remark. He apologized immediately and was reinstated a few months later.

The fact that he was shortlisted to take over from Graham Ford in 2017 as the national cricket team’s Head Coach was a poorly kept secret by Sri Lanka Cricket. The Island asked him what would be the first thing he would do if he got the job. Jones said, ‘ban f***ing football during training.’ The Sri Lankan cricket team’s obsession to engage in a game of football as warm-up before a day’s play and training was frowned upon by many given the high number of injuries it was causing.

Jones was a fine batsman and in his generation only Viv Richards played one-day cricket better. A smart thinker of the game, it was Jones’ bright idea to run the extra run on the throw in the vast Australian grounds. He earned a reputation as an excellent runner between the wickets and when asked what was his secret, he replied, ‘just common sense.’ Soon, others followed the extra run on the throw theory while playing in Australia and it paid rich dividends.

His finest hour in the sport came in Test cricket though during the tied Madras Test in 1986. Jones made a double hundred and the scorching heat took a toll on him. He was vomiting and feeling uneasy but did not throw it away. At the end of his 210, Jones was hospitalized. Coach Bob Simpson said that it was the greatest innings played for Australia. His final Test match was played in Moratuwa in 1992.

Jones was in Bombay doing studio shows for host broadcaster on IPL games. The Island learns that he had gone for a run in the morning and was with former fast bowler Brett Lee when he suffered a severe heart attack in the seven star hotel lobby at lunch time. Lee desperately tried to save him with CPR after Jones collapsed but for no avail.

He was 59

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Medal prospect Tharushi laments absence of coach Susantha at Walala

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Olympic Committee announces sponsorships for future prospects

by Reemus Fernando

Ratnayake Central Walala athlete Tharushi Karunaratne said that the absence of reputed coach Susantha Fernando at the premier Sports School has made her train by herself. She said that she was following Fernando’s schedules in his absence in reply to a query by The Island at a function organized by the National Olympic Committee to announce Crysbro Next Champ sponsorships for up and coming athletes  at the Foundation Institute on Thursday.

Fernando gave up on training at Ratnayake Central after completing  more than two decades of committed service a couple of months back. During his tenure Fernando guided many a school athlete to reach international level.

Incidentally, Tharushi’s brother Harsha too graduated under Fernando to win a silver at the Asian Youth Athletics Championship in Thailand in 2017. Officials of Ratnayake Central have been trying in vain during the last few months to obtain Fernando’s services again. In his  absence training of Ratnayake Central athletes remain interrupted.

Tharushi produced several record breaking performances at Junior National competitions last year. Fernando had earmarked her as a junior international medal prospect. She had been rightly picked by a selecting committee inclusive of Olympic medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe, former sprinters Shehan Ambepitiya and Ineka Cooray and Olympian Reshika Udugampola for the Crysbro Next Champ sponsorship.

The Selection Committee tasked with selecting 20 athletes for the Crysbro sponsorship announced names of the first five chosen athletes yesterday. Sprinter Sithum Jayasundara who also hogged the limelight last year making a clean sweep of Under 16 sprint events is the other track and field athlete to have been picked for the lucrative sponsorship. Two young weight lifters, namely, W.DK. Kumara and R.S.R. Laksarani and gymnast Milka Gihani were the others named by the Committee.

Explaining the selection criteria Ambepitiya said the probable list of athletes had been forwarded by respective Sports Associations. Their performances had been analysed against the medal deciding  performances at three last junior international competitions before picking them.

They are in the process of finalizing the next five athletes. Their names will be announced shortly.

The next ten athletes will be selected after various sports associations conclude their national level competitions.

 

 

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