By Champika Fernando
The popular version of cricket, T20 is among the 12 sports that had received Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) approval for the 2017 Youth Asian Games set to be held in Colombo.
Sri Lanka after closely scrutinising country’s medal winning prospects, proposed 12 sports at Saturday’s OCA Council meeting held to coincide with the Asian Games in Incheon. Accordingly, athletics, swimming and diving, badminton, T20 cricket, beach volleyball, table tennis, tennis, rugby 7’s, 3x3 basketball, golf, kabaddi and shooting received the OCA green-light. Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo replaced Hambantota as the location for the 2017 Asian Youth Games, pending the fulfilment of several conditions regarding the construction of venues.
Sri Lankan delegates had agreed to commence construction of the venue before the end of this year, a prerequisite to retain its hosts rights of the Games.
“There are enough takers to host the Games. The OCA is ready to help us and we need to begin work as soon as possible including the initial constructions,” an organising committee source confirmed on the condition of anonymity.
“We will begin preparing the master-plan this week and will forward it for OCA approval by next month,” he added. The Games were initially awarded to the southern coastal town of Hambantota in 2012 shortly after the city was unsuccessful in their bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Earlier this month it was announced that Sri Lanka would remain as hosts despite having done too little to justify the selection but, under new proposals, events would be split between Hambantota, Kandy and the capital city Colombo. “We are planning to host golf at the Victoria Golf Course Digana using the existing facilities and probably two other sports will be shifted to Kandy. It’s too early to go into details since we are yet to put up a master plan for the Games,” the source added.
Sri Lanka has estimated that it would cost a staggering US$ 300 million, approximately Rs. 40 billion to successfully host the event. Sri Lanka has never played host to any multi-Sdisciplinary event at Asian level and their 2006 hosting of the South Asian Games had cost Rs. 1 billion with the government pumping in nearly two-thirds of the total cost.