- Steps to select 100 of the best athletes to represent each sports event and provide them with the necessary facilities and training.
- President’s attention to the development of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Complex in Diyagama as a Sports University.
- Plans to introduce baseball to 100 schools this year.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed the Minister of Sports and officials, to establish an expert committee to assess the development of Sri Lanka’s sports sector and its future strategies.
In addition, the President instructed that the committee should comprise ministers in charge of sports and education, industry experts, as well as representatives from both the ruling and opposition parties in parliament.
President, Ranil Wickremesinghe, gave these instructions during his visit to the Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Complex on Saturday (25) as part of his observation tour.
Additionally, the President highlighted that consistent implementation of this program each year can yield a cohort of athletes in Sri Lanka capable of achieving international success within a few years.
The President emphasized the significance of identifying children’s sporting talents between the ages of 10-12 years and providing them with appropriate opportunities for growth and development.
The President recommended that 100 schools across the island, headed by the leading schools in Colombo, should take steps to promote baseball within the year and aim to establish Sri Lanka as a prominent country for baseball in Asia.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe also emphasized the significance of offering retirement options to athletes who have represented the country in various sports events and enabling them to obtain a degree, recognizing it as a fundamental qualification.
This morning, the President visited the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Diyagama, inspecting the main sports track, baseball field, and training track. He engaged with the athletes training there and engaged in friendly conversation with them and inquiring about their well-being.
During the inspection:
It was noted that several facilities, such as the swimming pool, cricket ground, and sports training tracks, were inadequate for effective training of athletes.
Consequently, the President compiled a list of priorities and instructed officials to take measures to enhance the infrastructure. He also suggested the potential for private sector support in achieving these goals.
According to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Government has set aside sufficient funds to refurbish the Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Complex in Diyagama. He urged officials to refrain from submitting misleading reports and identifying unnecessary expenditures. Furthermore, he noted that the government cannot allocate additional funds for this project presently.
The President stressed that the Ministry of Sports had neglected to maintain the stadium adequately in the past and highlighted the government’s accountability for every penny spent.
The President proposed that the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Diyagama be transformed into a comprehensive sports complex where female athletes from schools across the island can participate in sporting activities. He also suggested that in the future, it should function as a sports university where athletes can complete a degree in sports.
The Director General of Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa International Sports Complex, Major General Lal Chandrasiri, provided an overview of the current state of the sports complex and its requirements.
Minister of Irrigation, Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe, Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media Bandula Gunawardena, Presidential Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, Member of Parliament Premanath C. Dolawatta, former minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Army Commander Major General Vikum Liyanage, Chairman of the University Grants Commission Professor Sampath Amaratunga, Chairman of the National Youth Service Council Pasidu Gunaratne, Director General of the Sports Department, and other senior officials were present at the event.