Olympic Com­mit­tee go­ing gaga

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

Last week we were amazed to read in the news­pa­pers the Pres­i­dent of our Olympic Com­mit­tee say­ing that Sri Lanka will com­pete at the Win­ter Olympics and that for this pur­pose the Olympic com­mit­tee is look­ing at con­struct­ing an Ice Ring !

We don’t have a win­ter in this coun­try and there is no snow here. Build­ing Ice Rings and their main­te­nance is very ex­pen­sive and not only a waste of money but will be lu­cra­tive to those busi­ness­men and op­er­a­tives who are mas­ters at earn­ing com­mis­sions and kick­backs.

For­get win­ter games, even in nor­mal sport­ing events, we don’t even qual­ify to com­pete. At the last Asian games Sri Lanka did not win a sin­gle medal, while much smaller coun­tries man­aged to win medals. In the last ten years this is our gen­eral story at in­ter­na­tional sport­ing events. At these events there are more of­fi­cials ( and fam­i­lies) par­tic­i­pat­ing than ath­letes. When trav­el­ling of­fi­cials of the Olympic com­mit­tee get a daily stipend of 500 US dol­lars a day. The Olympic com­mit­tee is like our Par­lia­ment, the of­fi­cials de­cide how much they should get paid !

The pres­i­dent is talk­ing about an agree­ment with a ten­nis or­gan­i­sa­tion. Ten­nis is not even a na­tional sport. Olympic com­mit­tee has be­come a Colombo cen­tric busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion. There is talk of 50 Mil­lion ru­pees promised by the Prime Min­is­ter. There is no need to bring in pol­i­tics to sports. It should be re­ferred to as gov­ern­ment fund­ing and not iden­ti­fied with one politi­cian.

Like ev­ery­thing else in this coun­try, the Olympic Com­mit­tee seems to have lost its way and fallen into the hands of those who use ev­ery­thing to their ad­van­tage. It is high time the sport lov­ing pub­lic woke up to the real sit­u­a­tion of our so called sport­ing cul­ture

Jayan­tha Gu­nawar­dena

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