By Susil Premalal
The Sri Lanka Archery Association (SLAA) have successfully negotiated with the Ministry of Sports to regain the services of a foreign coach in their preparations for the South Asian Games (SAG) which will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in December.
In fact, the Sri Lankan archers were trained by a British coach last year for more than six months but unfortunately, he had to leave the country due to a Visa issue.
However, President of the SLAA Interim Committee, Dr. Seevali Jayawickrema assured that they have made arrangements to get the services of the same coach on a long-term basis. "I believe if Sri Lanka is to be competitive at international level, we need to have an experienced foreign coach to train the archers," said the President of the SLAA.
“We are delighted to announce that the British coach who was involved with the National Squad would return back to the island and will resume training shortly,” added Dr. Jayawickrema who is also the Director General of the Anti-Doping Agency.
The National Squad would now expect their training under the guidance of the British coach at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Complex in Diyagama.
The Sri Lankan archers are targeting the regional SAG in Kathmandu as well as the World Championships which will be worked off from June 9-18 in the Netherlands. The SLAA have already formed a 28-member National Pool comprising 14 Men and 14 Women in preparations for these two events.
In the previous SAG, Sri Lanka won two Silver Medals in both the Men's and Women's team events.
India is the top contenders to win the highest number of medals in archery followed by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The leading archer in the Sri Lanka Men's Pool is Ravin Dalpathado, a product of St. Thomas’ College, Bandarawela and the best among the Women is Rehan Thivabali from the Colombo Archery School. Archery was introduced as a sport in Sri Lanka during the 2006 SAG held in Colombo.
There are over 600 Men and Women archers from 10 different clubs registered with the Association, with over 200 archers participating in the National Archery Championships. The majority of the archers’ hail from Badulla, Bandarawela, Kurunegala, Matara and Colombo.