By: Susil Premalal
Colombo, Dec. 4 (Daily Mirror) - The Minister of Sports, Harin Fernando, last week instructed the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) to look into the possibility of holding the 14th South Asian Games (SAG) 2024 in Sri Lanka.
In a special discussion held with the Ministry of Sports officials of NOCSL and top athletic, rugby, and football officials called by the Minister, the NOCSL authorities were given the instructions, Director General, Department of Sports Development, Dr. Shemal Fernando, told the Daily Mirror.
After the 2019 Kathmandu SAG could not be held until now, hosting the 14th SAG was assigned to the Pakistan Olympic Association by the South Asian Games Federation.
Accordingly, the Pakistan Olympic Association and Pakistan Government had decided to hold the SAG 14th edition in March 2023 in Lahore and Punjab Province, but due to various problems within the country, it is reported that a situation has arisen that it cannot be held even in 2024.
However, it has not been officially announced whether Pakistan will host the SAG or not.
The minister has advised that NOCSL should intervene and host SAG in Sri Lanka as the sportspersons in the region are getting overage due to the fact that SAG is not held on time and postponed year after year.
The sports minister has also indicated that he is ready to provide all possible support from the sports ministry and the state level.
According to SAG history, Islamabad has hosted the Games twice before, in 1989 and 2004, and this is the third time they would be hosts.
Sri Lanka has also hosted SAG before, in 1991 and 2006.
As the 2024 Paris Olympic Games are scheduled to be held from July 26 to August 11, sports experts say that the best time to hold SAG 2024 is in November or December in Sri Lanka.
Before hosting the SAG 14th Edition, the search for solutions to many issues, including ground facilities, should be started immediately.