Local News Update: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said a University of Sports will be set up in the future, and Diyagama will be upgraded to a sports complex. He made these remarks at yesterday’s congratulatory ceremony for the South Asian Games medal winners held at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theater. The Prime Minister also said the government plans to focus more on sports economics because it plays a major role in supporting athletes and their growth.
“I am very honoured and proud to give my speech to the winners who made our mother land proud,” said Prime Minister Rajapaksa, who was the chief guest at the Sports Ministry ceremony to congratulate the South Asian Games medal winners. “When I was chairman of the Sri Lankan Susanthika Jayasinghe Athletic Association, I won the Olympic medal and I was delighted. I feel the same when I see you all here. Nilani Ratnayake receiving her cash prize from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who won the gold medal in the Women’s 5000 metres.
Aruna Dharshana who won the gold medal in the 400 m and 4×400 m relay received his cash reward from the prime minister.”We are far behind in sports facilities compared to other countries but our athletes have won foreign medals. We need to raise their level more in the future.”When I was president (of the country) we attempted to host the Sri Lankan Commonwealth Games but were unable to. It would have been more helpful for the participants if we had the chance to host the Games at that time.
We need to improve our athletes ‘ confidence levels while improving the infrastructure, “he said. Speaking further the Prime Minister said,” Our government is also planning to concentrate on athletes who come from the property sectors and get them more involved in sports. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today submitted a cabinet paper raising the salaries of estate workers by about Rs. 1000. “South Asian Games medal winners were congratulated by the Sports Ministry and a total of 251 athletes were given cash prizes with the Prime Minister awarding the medal winners with Rs. 500,000 for Gold, Rs. 300,000 for Silver and Rs. 200,000 for Bronze.