The players make us proud, the administration makes us ashamed.
Sri Lankan sports administration is generally appalling, but it seems especially bad that none of our athletes in London were able to bring coaches. Instead 30 assorted ‘officials’ went, which is of limited use. Shooter Mangala Samarakoon is saying he could have used a coach there, and one could presume the same for badminton player Niluka Karunaratna. It’s really quite depressing that we treat our sports and sportspeople so badly.
Take Susanthika Jayasinghe, who won a silver medal in 2000. She then alleged that Minister S.B. Dissanayake tried to harass and threaten her for sex. Or take cricket, our flagship sport. The cricket board spends money on itself and goes months (almost years) without playing the players. Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga doles out cricket contracts to a TV station he heads and equipment supplier he owns. It’s pretty sick.
The president’s son’s girlfriend runs that TV station, and he’s also captain of the national rugby team (though the sons are actually pretty good at the sport). That’s the least egregious thing going on, but it’s still not good.
I’ve been hearing commenters here saying that our Olympic team was hobbled by lack of coaches (which other countries bring) but I didn’t think our sports administration would be SOOO bad. But apparently they are. Sin.