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DateLine Sunday, 19 August 2007

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Colombo Marathon can boost image of Sri Lanka

Marathon: Minister of Sports and Public Recreation Gamini Lokuge was optimistic that tourism in the country could be restored from the present downtrodden situation through sports.

Chairing a press briefing at the Tourist Board Auditorium at Colpetty in connection with the 8th Colombo Marathon which is scheduled to take place on 7th October, the minister said that the demand for accommodation in hotels for the forthcoming England cricket tour of Sri Lanka is already hotting up and the hotels are in big demand which is a good positive sign for the tourist industry.

Talking about the marathon, the minister said that every country conducts their marathons like the London Marathon, Singapore Marathon etc. Likewise, the Colombo Marathon should be given national status as it will improve sports and the image of the country.

He said that the marathon started on a small-scale in 1998 in Galle, but he thought of conducting it in a bigger and a broader margin with the participation of runners from other countries. Journalists too, from other countries have been invited to cover the event, with SriLankan AirLines providing air tickets at a very nominal rate.

These foreigners could assess the situation of the country by seeing things through their own eyes and give a feed back to the world of the real situation of Sri Lanka. The main objective of organising the event is to boost the fast diminishing image of Sri Lanka as a safe and secure tourist destination where people live in harmony and go on to promote Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for recreational activities.

The full marathon is opened to both men and women who will have to run a distance of 42.196 Km. The winner of both categories will receive Rs.50,000 as prize money and air tickets from SriLankan AirLines. The other winners from the second place to the 10th will also receive identical prize money with the winner of the second place pocketing Rs.25,000, third place 15,000, fourth place 10,000, 5th place 7,500 and from 6th to 10th places Rs.5000 each.

The Colombo Marathon will be flagged off from Ministry of Sports at Torrington Square at 6 am on October 7th and the runners will go through Borella, Dematagoda, Peliyagoda, Wattala along the Hamilton Canal, Pamunugama, and Negombo. SriLankan AirLines, Ministry of Sports & Public Recreation, Athletic Association of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education, The Municipal Councils of Negombo and Colombo, will be assisting Lanka Sportreizen to organise and conduct the event according to international standards.

Present at the press briefing were Milinda Moragoda (Minister of Tourism), D.K.Dharmapala (GM Lanka Sportreizen), George Michael (Additional Secretary Ministry of Tourism), Renton de Alwis (Chairman Tourist Board), Chandana de Silva (Head of Corporate Communication, SriLankan AirLines).

RA

 

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