Dayasiri Jayasekare’s comprehensive plan for all sports associations might leave half-baked sportsmen, officials and coaches exposed!
Sri Lanka ushered in the New Year last Sunday, a day in the week where most sportsmen and women preferred to relax at home. This was how most people involved with sport thought many years ago. Regular international tournaments together with a hectic domestic calendar have changed all that. Those in national pool have a choice to take sport seriously. The best news that can motivate athletes is Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekare briefing officials of sports bodies about the plans he has to uplift sports in the country. Among the plans he has, offering insurance schemes to athletes, providing air conditioning to the rooms where the athletes stay and facilitating athletes who wish to contest the 2020 Olympics from this year onwards are points to ponder.
Any sportsman wishes to have a future through sport. Their parents are the most interested in their welfare. These promises made by the Sports Minister, when he met sports association officials to discuss plans for 2017, will influence parents to keep their sons and daughters in sport.
Sports associations must now take it on from here and initially amend their constitutions to fall in line with the sports ministry regulations. Sports association officials who got themselves elected to earn some social capital must think of leaving this job to people who are serious about doing administration.
The welfare of the athletes is the most important. If one observes sports like rugby and swimming, most of these athletes are managing higher studies with sport. The sports ministry can consider giving some educational loans to the national athletes who are pursuing higher studies.
The sports medicine unit has come in for praise over the years. This is an area where you need expert guidance. In sports like rugby, the potential for injury is very high. It must also be said that rugby players need have the physiotherapy part right because we have seen so many promising careers cut short due to injury. Haris Omar was one classic example.
The diet of a sportsman is a calculation that should not go wrong for whatever reason. We have seen national poolists having junk food like a sausage bun and a Chinese roll for breakfast. It’s good to know that the minister plans to have a specialized cook to cater to the needs of athletes training at Torrington. Can’t this service be extended to sports like rugby, boxing, weight lifting and tennis?
The decision taken to provide air conditioning to the rooms where the athletes dwell must be lauded. But these athletes must be educated about how much sleep to get and how important it is to recuperate. We hear so much disturbing stories about sportsmen who have active night lives! Providing air conditioning is not the answer. Sportsmen and women should be taught how to be responsible athletes.
The 2020 Olympics is so important for Sri Lanka. We have a full three years to prepare for this mega sporting event. The vision is needed to recruit athletes with potential and form national pools so that they can go into training immediately. The sports ministry should not leave room for associations to complain that they didn’t have enough time to train their chargers.
The sports minister must keep a check on sports associations that send its players on joyrides. Most junior tours should be banned because some of them are made to expensive European countries and the competition is so high that we have no chance of obtaining medals or getting the right exposure. It’s high time the sports ministry did their homework so that sports associations can’t hoodwink government officials and fill their travel calendar with tours that are unproductive.
Let 2017 be a year where the sports minister can bring some of the sports associations out of the wildness.