year 2004 that was
Apparently, more often than not, sport in Sri Lanka is full of square
pegs in round holes. So much so that the deterioration in some of
the major sports in the country has been pathetic.
of the billing come athletics and rugby. The doldrums that these
two sports have fallen into is a crying shame. In the year 2000
Sri Lankan athletics reached dizzy heights with our sprint queen
Susanthika Jayasinghe becoming the third fastest woman on earth.
Come year 2004 and Sri Lankan athletes are not of a standard to
make their mark even at a regional Asian Athletic meet.
in 2004 the same contingent took wings to Athens to take part at
the Olympic Games along with a posse of officials which later turned
out to be an utter farce or else you could say a crude attempt at
making a funny movie by athletes, officials and members of the government
themselves. The icing on the cake was that one clown who wants to
get counted, gets up in the aftermath of the Olympics disaster and
makes a proclamation and states that the year 2000 Olympic bronze
medal was a mere fluke.
by the happenings the wagon moves on. At present they are in the
process of making preparations for another spectacle in the year
2005-the South Asian Federation games. Ironically it was just the
other day that the whole bunch got a piece of her mind from none
other than the President of the country herself. She said she did
not like the lackadaisical approach of the officials in the run-up
to the games.
other shameful sport in the country is rugby. Under normal circumstances
in this game only the ball is flung backwards when a move is on
but at present, thanks to official bungling, this sport is running
backwards. For instance China which took to the game only recently
have made easy meat out of Sri Lanka who have been playing this
game for over one hundred years. Generally what happens is that
when you are at a given vocation or sport for a period of time you
acquire more skills which take on the quality of being intrinsic.
But, it seems in Sri Lanka we are losing our skills at rugby, which
we have developed down the century. Pointing a finger at the culprits
is rampant. One is accusing that the other is at fault. But, the
ultimate result is that when the Rugby Asiad will be held in the
island next year, Sri Lanka will only be competing in the 'bowls'
tournament. What an achievement for a host country!
alone running backwards, Soccer, Hockey and some other sports remained
non-starters yet for another year. However the public’s focus
on these sports have not been too great and may be officialdom also
prefers to keep things out of ken so that they can linger comfortably.
seems that only in cricket - by far the most popular game -- that
Sri Lanka is willing to learn from her own mistakes.
was not so long ago that for some undisclosed reason the national
cricket selectors decided to appoint Hashan Tillekeratne as the
Test match captain and Marvan Atapattu as the one-day captain. Under
these circumstances for a while it looked as if Sri Lanka had lost
the art of winning till they got a three-nil home drubbing at the
hands of the Australians. Mind you, Sri Lanka led in the first innings
in most of the matches, only to throw away the initiative in the
these wise selectors finally decided to dump Hashan and give both
responsibilities to Atapattu. With this move they hit the correct
button. Lankans in their reciprocal visit down under did not do
badly as they did in their own backyard. Since then Lankan cricket
has been on the upward trend, having won the Asia Cup and their
maiden series win against South Africa.
through its own achievements has now hit the pinnacle. At present
the game is of a high professional standard and it has also become
an important commercial venture and the people involved in it too
cannot cross the line too much without being exposed. But, as far
as the other games and its officialdom are concerned there are too
many square pegs in round holes and till the root causes of the
ailments are attended to, these games will remain in the same quagmire
even in the future.