By Ravi Nagahawatte
Former Sri Lanka national table tennis champion Lalith Priyantha, who is now a coach, is exhausted thinking of ways to survive during the present pandemic.
Priyantha, speaking to media representatives at a briefing held in Colombo on January 6, said that the Table Tennis Association of Sri Lanka (TTASL) should start conducting tournaments keeping with health guidelines.
“We haven’t had table tennis activities since March last year. The last tournament which was held was the inter-school championships,” said Priyantha who added that all his classes were stopped because of the present situation in the country.
He said that he had conducted some online classes, but added that such attempts at coaching were
He said that the TTASL must conduct a tournament in each district inviting the top sixteen players in the men’s and women’s segments.
“Table tennis is a safe sport because there is no player contact. During a game, players will stand about 9-13 feet apart. After every six points players can refresh themselves using towels and at this time they can use sanitizer,” he said.
He said that Commonwealth Games are scheduled for the future and Sri Lanka must commence practices if they are to contest the event.
“Countries like England and Sweden have already started tournaments so why can’t we?” asked Priyantha who also had the honour of heading the TTASL as its president in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.
He hailed Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa for spelling out plans to revive sports activities in the country very soon.
He said he would make a comeback as an Administrator and serve the TTASL if the authorities make a request.
Priyantha has also been former Sri Lanka coach accompanying teams to event like the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. He was also at one time a member of the Table Tennis National Selection Committee.