Egodawela forced to compete without coach at Olympics

Shooter to be accompanied by NSSF Secretary

4 July 2021 10:55 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Harsha Amarasinghe

Shooter Tehani Egodawela will be forced to compete in the Tokyo Olympics without her coach, U.M. Premalal.

The Department of Sports Development, in a letter addressed to the National Shooting Sport Federation (NSSF) of Sri Lanka and copied to the National Olympic Committee (NOC), has requested to consider sending the coach along with the shooter as per a discussion held on Friday (2).

“Whatever the chances Egodawela has on winning will be increased by the presence of her coach. Hence, the NOC is required to make arrangements to obtain the accreditation for the coach from the International Olympic Committee (IOC),” the rough translation of the letter originally written in Sinhala reads.

When contacted by the Daily Mirror, Suresh Subramaniam, President, NOC, revealed that the accreditation for the coach looks unlikely at the minute.

“I clearly understand the need to send the coach with the shooter, but this time with the threat of Covid-19, a lot of things have changed. We are only given the permission to send very few people other than the athletes. In this case, I don’t think we will get the coach the accreditation due to strict rules,” said Subramaniam.

Daily Mirror, however, understands that Egodawela is set to be accompanied by the Secretary of NSSF, Pradeep Edirisinghe to the Tokyo Olympics.

“This was down to the NSSF because we make decisions based on what they recommend. It was they who believed Edirisinghe would be the ideal person to accompany the shooter. We have to be realistic with things when we make decisions of this nature. We are going to another country where everything is different, from the meals to stadiums, and also we have to consider the current situation as well. Hence, someone who has the administrative capacity to handle these things and also fluency in speaking in English are very important factors.

Further, for me the first priority is the athlete. I had a conversation with her over the phone, and she said she is okay to be travelling with secretary. I mean, she does prefer having the coach as well, but she said she could go with the secretary,” the former President of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) pointed out.

However, the role of coach becomes extremely important in shooting and Department of Sports Development are more than happy to fund the coach if the accreditation could be obtained by the NOC.

As per another letter in possession of the Daily Mirror, the NSSF Vice President Lt. Col. Janaka Ritigahapola has urged the President of the NSSF to make arrangements to send the coach in the hope of a better performance from the shooter.

“I had been made to understand that the coach who had been training her for the last nine years is not accompanying her due to the reasons unknown to me. Target shooting is a sport involved with the highest level of mental stability and concentration, and the coach’s presence at the time of the competition will be an added advantage and help towards a better performance. I wish to remind that a similar mistake was made at the London Olympics in 2012 which badly affected the shooter and could not deliver the best performance. I hope that the same mistake may not be repeated during the precious period of your office,” the letter reads.



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