Only medal prospects for Asian Games, Arjuna says | Sri Lanka News

The National Sports Council (NSC) said that only athletes that have the potential to win medals will be sent for the upcoming Asian Games, adding that athletes of 17 sports had been earmarked to represent the country at the games.

The Asian Games, which was originally scheduled for last year, will be held in Hangzhou, China in September.

A final decision on the number of athletes representing the country will be taken after the Minister meets with the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka and the NSC next week.

Of the 17 sports that have been earmarked, three are team sports, while the rest are individual events.

“Due to several sports associations not completing their selections trials to date, there has been a delay in the selection of the final contingent,” Minister Roshan Ranasinghe said at a discussion between sports officials and members of the national high-performance pool.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the NSC Arjuna Ranatunga said only those considered as medal prospects will be sent for the Asian Games in a trimmed down contingent.

“Additionally, other than the coach and the manager, the Ministry will not give approval for any other individuals to travel with the Sri Lankan contingent,” Ranatunga added.

Several athletes in the high-performance pool also aired their grievances to the Minister at the discussion, with reiteration of the effects of the lack of financial support.

Sri Lanka’s preparations in several sports have been hampered by the dollar crisis faced by the country, as their respective sports associations have been unable to bring down overseas coaches.

Particularly affected by this are badminton and squash players, who have seen their world rankings plummet due to not having good coaching and being unable to travel for overseas tournaments.

Athletes travelling from outstation have been affected by the closure of the canteen at the Department of Sports Development Hostel at Torrington when they come to Colombo for training.

Some of the high performance pool athletes also claimed that they have not received allowances promised by the Ministry since November last year.

In response, Ranatunga said that a lot of these issues arise from a lack of communication between national associations and the NSC.

“Only the Paralympic committee respond immediately to the letters we send them,” Ranatunga said, adding that it was one of the main reasons for the delay in finalizing Sri Lanka’s contingent for the Asian Games.

In the history of the Asian Games, Sri Lanka has won 46 medals – 11 gold, 11 silver and 27 bronze medals.

At the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta however, Sri Lanka went medal-less, even though 173 athletes from 28 sports travelled for the games. By Susil Premalal

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