President Gotabaya Raajapaksa has highlighted the need to establish a sports culture in Sri Lanka, stating that it was an imperative of the era to establish such a culture in order to form a healthy, disciplined and an athletic society in the country.
Sport is the youth’s language. Directing a child simultaneously towards both education and sports will raise a balanced individual for society. Ministries of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports have a massive responsibility to bear in this regard, he said.
President Rajapaksa made these comments during a discussion to review the future activities of the State Ministry of Rural and School Sports Infrastructure Promotion at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (16).
The President stressed the requirement of a program to hone the skills of the students who show talents in sports across the country by providing them proper nutritious food and access to international level training from a young age.
Despite the construction of school playgrounds following requests by the people, it was evident on multiple occasions that they had not been maintained accordingly. Simple maintenance tasks such as cutting grass are cheap and bearable, he pointed out.
President Rajapaksa further advised the officials to establish a separate unit to maintain school playgrounds at district level, stating that Provincial Government bodies have the capability to maintain school playgrounds.
Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival, Basil Rajapaksa then requested school playgrounds to be cleaned within 3 months.
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs, Namal Rajapaksa noted that plans have been devised to attach the National Institute of Sports Science at Torrington Avenue with the Diyagama Sports Complex to establish a globally recognized Sports University.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa added that in order to create a sports culture it is necessary to look for locations that attract young people to play and construct playgrounds accordingly.
The Minister further said that during the past month they have focused on tasks such as taking all the major playgrounds under the purview of one institute, maintaining 25 fully accommodated playgrounds, new proposals for the sports ordinance, formulation of a brand new sports act and attracting sponsorships from the private sector to promote sports.
During the meeting, State Minister Thenuka Vidanagamage showed the importance of developing sports at divisional level, pointing out that it was necessary to identify popular sports in remote areas and train sportsmen and sportswomen under training programs immediately.
In addition, Member of the Sports Council Kumar Sangakkara highlighted the importance of ranking each sport and training sportspersons targeting international games.
Sangakkara also suggested to promote providing marks for sports talents for university entrance to popularize sports as well as to breed national level sportspersons within university network.
It was also discussed during the meeting to make a full scale restructure of the Sugathadasa National Sports Complex Authority.
Moreover, mastering sports such as archery and the shooting which have a chance of winning Olympic medals, from the school level were discussed.
During the discussion, Cabinet and State Ministers requested the Sri Lankan sportspersons around the globe to gather under the national flag to bring glory to the motherland.
Minister of Education, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President, P.B. Jayasundera, Secretaries to the Cabinet and State Ministries, officials of the Line Institutes, representatives from Sports associations and veteran sports personnel were present at the discussion. (Colombo Gazette)