Niluka Karunaratne gets the highest scholarship

Olympic scholarships are given to athletes who have the potential to represent the country at the Olympic Games. This has been going on for many decades and several athletes have been able to represent the country at these Games all these years. There is no hard and fast rule to say that these athletes are not good enough to win at the highest level such as the Olympic Games, the main objective is to represent the country that matters.

This is why the National Olympic Committee (NOC) is paying out considerable amounts to prospective athletes to pursue in their career and reach qualifying standards to represent the country. True enough Sri Lanka is far from winning a medal at these Games, except for the rare athlete like Duncan White who won a silver medal at the 1948 Games. It took Sri Lanka more than fifty years to find another medal winner in Susanthika Jayasinghe at the Sydney Olympic Games. This is how long Sri Lanka waited to win an Olympic medal. Now how long will it take for another Sri Lankan to win an Olympic medal?

The NOC is targeting the Rio Olympic Games next year and is offering cash every month for five athletes to prepare themselves to reach qualifying standards. These five athletes will have enough funds to travel overseas and lower their ranking points so that they can qualify for the Games.

Unlike in the previous years, the athletes could not find the money to participate in international events to obtain qualifying ranking points. Today the NOC is given an international solidarity grant from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to develop the standards of our athletes to international levels.

The athletes who are receiving monthly grants leading up to the Rio Olympics are as follows:

Niluka Karunaratne (Badminton) US$ 1500. Anton Sudesh Peiris (Weightlifting) $ 1000, Chamara Milinda Perera (Wrestling) $ 1000, Chandrika Rasnayake (Athletics) $ 1000 and Chamara Dharmawardana (Judo) $ 1000.

There are other athletes who are receiving monthly grants by the NOC to participate in Olympic qualifying tournaments for Rio 2016. They are as follows:

Ms M.B.N.S. Rajasekara (athletics) Rs. 40,000. Chinthana Vidanage (weightlifting) Rs. 40,000. Indrajith Cooray (athletics) Rs. 40,000. Indika Dissanayake (weightlifting) Rs. 40,000. Thilini Hendehewa (badminton) Rs. 40,000. Sachin Dias (badminton) Rs. 40,000.