NOC chief discloses strategy to win medals
NOC to take notice of a achievements...... : President of the
National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka Hemasiri Fernando said that the
authorities must pay serious attention on Sri Lanka contingent’s
pathetic performance at the recently concluded 17th Asian Games in South
Korea and prepare a strategy to regain Sri Lanka’s lost prestige in
Fernando’s call comes after Sri Lanka’s dismal performance at the
45-nation Games, winning two medals in cricket - the gold in men’s T20
and the bronze in women’s T20 tournaments, after fielding a 111-member
Sri Lanka contingent, which competed in eight disciplines.
The Lankan contingent would have returned home empty handed if not
for the two medals in cricket which too was against relatively weak
Although Sri Lanka won an Asian Games gold medal after 12 years since
sprinters Susanthika Jayasinghe (women’s 100m) and Damayanthi Darsha
(women’s 400m) won their respective events in Busan 2002 Games, Sri
Lanka’s men’s team gold medal in T20 cricket tournament could not cover
the decline of Sri Lanka sport. In an exclusive interview with the
Sunday Observer after the conclusion of the 2014 Incheon Games, the
former ace Sri Lanka marksman turned senior Olympic official in Asia
said that serious attention should be paid on resurrecting Sri Lanka
sport. “I feel there should be development and monitoring committees for
each sport. Those will function as advisory committees - the think tank
of the respective national sports associations (NSAs),” he said.
Fernando, who is also a Vice President of the Olympic Council of
Asia, said that developing strategies should be entrusted to the
development and monitoring committees while the elected ex-co of the
respective NSAs could run the administration.
“Establishing development and monitoring committees to the NSAs is a
must. These committees should comprise of experienced people who had
represented Sri Lanka in the past, those involved in the game and are
willing to share their expertise for the development of Sri Lanka
sport,” Fernando explained.
The Sri Lanka Olympic chief said once the development and monitoring
committees are set up, those committees should plan the future of the
respective sport and advise the Ex-Co on the development and technical
aspect of each sport.
The NOC President stressed the need to identify prospective
medal-winning sports and supporting those NSAs to produce future
“There are over 50 NSAs registered with the Sports Ministry. But out
of these about eight NSAs could be ranked as prospective medal-winning
ones at Asian level. We must identify those sports bodies and help them
to develop a strategy for the future,” he explained. Fernando vehemently
opposed the practice of individual sportsmen and women being sent for
overseas training, spending millions of rupees. “There is no point in
sending selected individuals for foreign training spending a colossal
sum of money. Instead, we must get down foreign coaches here to train
the future medal prospects. Javelin thrower Nadeeka Lakmali was pent for
overseas training spending over Rs. six million. What benefit has she
made in performing such a poor performance?” he asked.
“Obtaining services of foreign coaches is a must. For example
athletics need five separate coaches - for sprints, middle distance,
long distance, throws and jumps. Perhaps we may be able to do with four
as we have Sunil Gunawardena who has a proven track record in producing
champion sprinters at international level,” he said.
Fernando added that a sport such as shooting could well produce
medallists if we secure services of reputed international coaches for
both rifle shooting and pistol shooting.
“Sending our sportsmen and women for intensive overseas training
could be done after they go beyond Asian level. Initially, we must get
down foreign coaches for identified medal prospect sports to work here
with the respective national pools. Once we achieve certain standards
and produce Asian Games gold medallits, they could be sent for overseas
training to reach world level,” Fernando said.
The NOC President said the ground work for the 2017 Asian Youth Games
are being done but stressed the need to meet the headlines to ensure all
necessary facilities are ready to meet the Olympic Council of Asia
headlines. “President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen to see Sri Lanka hosts
the Asian Youth Games successfully and it is the duty of all relevant
officials to work towards that goal,” he emphasised.