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Sunday, 12 October 2014





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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 Asian Games.

Hemasiri Fernando

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 opponents.

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 medalists.

“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.



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