Individuals with proven credentials gang up to throw out underperforming sports administrators
The badminton scene in the country is producing some excitement at present with the news that a team laden with past national players are aiming to contest the upcoming the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB).
Past accomplished national players like Dr. Ranjani Senewiratne, Niroshan Wijekoon, Chandrika de Silva, Duminda Jayakody and Kaushali Dissanayake are said to have given their consent to back this team which set to contest the AGM of Sri Lanka Badminton, scheduled for March 24. Most of these players will be absorbed into committees that serve to develop the sport.
A source close to these past players said that a team comprising high-profile candidates is sure to garner the support of clubs and provincial associations. Badminton in the country is at present administered by individuals who are little known in the sport. Their method of administering the sport has attracted severe criticism. The last occasion where they received brickbats was during the National Championships held in Kurunegala where the players complained of being forced to play under unsuitable conditions.
The team that will contest the elections is led by Rohan De Silva who is expected to be elected as a vice president. A past player Nishantha Jayasinghe will be nominated for the post of president.
According to the source, this team plans to rally round the badminton fraternity and work towards making badminton the most preferred sport in the island.
Some the other prominent goals mentioned in the team’s election manifesto are; make the Sri Lankan players medal winners at international tournaments, commence the senior and junior national pools, merge tournaments so that events conducted by the schools’ badminton association and SLB don’t clash, publish the badminton calendar for the year one month after being elected to office, standardize all ranking tournaments and have an insurance scheme for players.
One of the key areas which remain quite grey regarding players is the improper diet most national players consume. This team if elected wishes to introduce a nutrition plan for the players.
The last national championships attracted flack from players and their coaches because of the substandard condition of the stadium in Kurunegala. The committee has specifically mentioned that two of their main aims will be to improve the infrastructure at the courts at SLB and make a badminton complex which can host international tournaments.
Another area which gave rise to debate and attracted criticism was how players were selected for tours during the time of the present executive committee. The team that’s bidding for slots in the executive committee at the upcoming AGM wishes to nominate their national selection committee and also spell out the selection criteria to player, well in advance.
The team also has plans to have a ‘train the trainers’ programme with the view of uplifting the standard of coaches.
At present, badminton is one sport which can be proud of producing a recent Olympian in Niluka Karunaratne. But followers of the sport have reservations regarding how players are treated, in terms of recognizing their talents. The team plans to conduct a colours nite for players, which many feel will give the sport a shot in the arm.
The present executive committee seems media shy and keeps reporters and journalists in the dark about events taking place in the badminton scene. The team plans to send regular updates to the media, once they assume position in office. They also plan to have a senior official to record complaints and suggestions.
In the past, there have been some players who have had the habit of deciding for themselves which international tournaments they’ll contest. This would be a thing in the past because this team has spelt out clearly that the SLB will be selecting tours so as to optimize performance of players at international tournaments.