By Susil Premalal
The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) is hoping to find employment for medal winning athletes at the 13th South Asian Games, with the objective of preparing them to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and Asian Games in Hangzhou, both in 2022.
The NOCSL President Suresh Subramanium and Secretary General Maxwell de Silva are planning to hold discussions with corporate giants in the country in this regard.
This was announced at a press conference held at Olympic House today (16) by the NOCSL headed by Subramanium and Executive Committee members in the presence of athletes and officials of various sports.
“If the NOCSL, Ministry of Sports and National Sports Associations work together we can enhance the chances of medal winning opportunities in 2022,” de Silva said.
The Sri Lankan contingent which participated in the Kathmandu was the biggest ever numbering 721.
“We succeeded in winning a total of 251 medals which is the highest medal haul by far in the history of the Games. This included 40 gold, 83 silver and 128 bronze medals,” he added.
“All these achievements came despite the athletes facing many obstacles and challenges such as climate and logistic issues,” de Silva said.
“The NOCSL was only responsible for coordinating issues pertaining to the Games while the Ministry of Sports handled the other aspects related to the athletes such as air tickets and accommodation. We encountered a major health issue related to dengue but we took the initiative to resolve the crisis when a woman footballer was down with the ailment. NOCSL president Suresh Subramanium took immediate action with the help of Dr Lal Ekanayake to control the situation,” said Maxwell de Silva.
The NOCSL Secretary General was critical of swimmers Kimiko Raheem, Chirantha de Silva and Minoli Kalugalle for pulling out at the eleventh hour citing injury.
“We would have five more gold medals if they had participated,” he said.
“There were also at least half a dozen officials from the Ministry of Sports who were present in Nepal without having accreditation. This is a discredit to the country,” he added.