114-strong contingent to compete

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Sri Lanka has confirmed a contingent of 114 athletes – 54 male and 60 female – spreading over 15 sports disciplines, will compete at the XXII Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.

Due to the financial constraints and sports with qualifying standards to earn eligibility for participation, the selection was done meticulously through a stringent selection process under the scrutiny of CGA Sri Lanka, MOYS and NSSC, restricting the total number to 114 athletes.

“It will be an honour and privilege for our national athletes to compete against 71 Commonwealth member nations and territories in Birmingham,” said Rtd General Dampath Fernando, Chef-de-Mission to the Games.

At a time the country is going through an unprecedented economic crisis, the decision to send a national sports contingent of 114 athletes along with 51 team officials and supporting staff is undoubtedly a lifetime opportunity bestowed upon them.

“Some people were questioning why Sri Lanka is sending athletes for events like rugby, where we have not reached the standard to compete against top nations, but this is not only about winning. This is an opportunity for our athletes, and as a responsible authority we support them to get this lifetime opportunity,’’ said National Olympic Committee (NOC) President Suresh Subramaniam.

Rtd General Dampath Fernando replying to a query said, “Based on past performance, SL has a chance of winning a medal in Weightlifting. We also expect better results from athletes who currently train overseas.”

Unlike the Olympic Games, the athletes will not be housed in one Athletic village but scattered over five different Games villages within the boundaries of Birmingham. Lankan athletes will be housed in CGB, CGW, CGN and CGC.

“The responsibility bestowed to be the Chef-de-Mission, I take very seriously. I will be responsible for the entire contingent in all operational, logistics and administrative matters during the entire period of stay in Birmingham,” said retired General Fernando.

By Asanka Gammanpila