Sri Lanka is set to field a large contingent of 161 for the Commonwealth Games 2022 to be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom from 28 July to 08 August.
Team includes 110 athletes (competing in 13 sports disciplines), and 51 officials (including coaches). Sri Lanka initially discussed sizing down the team due to the current economic situation, but in the end the final team had 22 members more than the last edition (139-member contingent which included 80 athletes).
This is the first time Sri Lanka is fielding more women athletes (60) than men (50). Women’s cricket captain Chamari Atapattu and 2018 CWG Silver medalist, weightlifter Indika Dissanayaka, will be the flag bearers at the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket contributed Rs 22.5 million to cover the cost of 28 members of the team, while the National Olympic Committee had secured funding through the Commonwealth Games Federation (CWG) to cover the rest of the expenses. Unlike previous years, Sports Ministry is not funding the contingent.
Sri Lanka won 6 medals in 2018, three from Weightlifting and three from Boxing. Flag bearer Indika Dissanayaka was the only Silver medalist in 2018 in the men’s 69 kg weight category. Chathuranga Lakmal, who is included in this year’s team as well, won a Bronze medal in the men’s 56 kg weight category. None of other medal winners have made it to the team this time around.
Women’s Cricket is a new addition this year. Sri Lanka qualified for the Games by winning the qualifier round early this year.
The Athletics team includes six athletes where no relay team is included. 100m runner Yupun Abeykoon, who ran 9.96 seconds recently, has high hopes of reaching the final, while based on performance Long Jumper Sarangi Silva is within reach of a medal. Both Nilani Rathnayaka and Gayanthika Abeyrathne are in good form as they competed at the World Athletics Championship last week. The team will also feature 400m runner Kalinga Kumarage and Olympian Javelin Thrower Sumedha Ranasinghe.
Sri Lanka fields ten athletes in Gymnastics, including Rhythmic Gymnast Anna Marie Ondaatje who is within medal range this time, while the rugby team will find it tough as they are drawn to take on New Zealand, England and Samoa in the first round.
Unlike last year only two swimmers – Akalanka Peiris and Ganga Senevirathne – are set to compete at the Games.
The Weightlifters are competing in all categories, and Sri Lanka expect a good haul of medals from them. With only four entries per weight category, the Wrestlers too would fancy their chances of winning a couple of medals.
Director General of Sports Amal Edirisooriya from the Ministry of Sports is included in the contingent as General Team Manager along with Gamini Jayasinghe and Chandana Liyanage, while Dampath Fernando will function as Chef de Mission.