Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The South Asian Games – Swimming medals the Glory, mostly privately financed!

Sports and national participation are part and parcel of both the credibility of a Country’s diversity, disparate skills and a means where talent is exposed and rewarded, when performance is excellent.

It therefore  is the duty of a Government to have a coherent sports policy, and along with it a program that is publicly funded to carry out that policy. It is impossible to fund all sports, and so certain decisions have to be taken on how the available funds are divided, representing the broad interests of the people who are participating as part of the goal that the nation sets for itself.

This policy needs to be reviewed from time to time, and updated because new sports and facilities can add to the existing mix of sports that Sri Lankans participate in.

It is therefore extremely regretful that when 20 of the 25 Golds that were won were for Swimming with hardly a penny spent by the Government, it is simply the dedication of the Coaches, the Athletes, and their parents who MUST bear all the costs of training and where available certain scholarships provided by overseas institutions and Universities that are keen to have proficient sportsmen and women in their Academies to boost their reputation.

I have NOT heard a word uttered by the Minister of Sports on this matter, or to even promise that our swimming talent will be recognized and rewarded in future, especially bearing in mind that with the increase in provision of swimming pools in the provinces, their swimming talent along with the whole paraphernalia of this sport can be developed, further encouraging participation, thereby not restricting it to a few families who are so dedicated with a passion to the sport that they live and breathe that sport and turn out a family of swimmers!

Sri Lanka excelled in the recently concluded South Asian Games, as compared with their neighbors, but there is still much room for improvement, as there is talent that must be harnessed and exploited to the fullest, as the athletes themselves commit a lot of time to their sport, and with the Olympics this year, we would like to see some medal winners too, not just restricted to sending a shooting team from the Forces! I trust that the authorities have taken note of their responsibilities and are able to fulfill them to bring fame to the Country.

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