Despite desperate attempts, the first group of Sri Lanka Junior team for the World Athletics Under-20 Championship was unable to reach Cali on time due to Qatar Airways flight QR 779 to São Paulo getting delayed by 2 hours.
This resulted in Long Jumper Hirusha Hashen failing to compete in the qualification round which started at 11.45 a.m. Cali time.
Hirusha along with Kaveesha Bandara and Coach Badra Gunawardana left the Island on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Hurdler Kaveesha Bandara clocked 14.18 seconds and finished 6th in the heats of 110m hurdles heat, running straight from the flight. Kaveesha landed very close to the time of his event, then rushed directly to the stadium to participate in his event without any rest or warm up.
Earlier, Ceylon Today reported bureaucratic bungling and visa delays meant the team of 7 athletes and 2 officials who were to take wing to Cali, Colombia for the World Junior Championship on 1 August, were unable to do so without tickets which created havoc.
The team protested and stayed overnight at Torrington on Friday, where officials and Ministers just managed to send the team to Cali in two groups after a chaotic process. One group flew on Saturday night while others went on Sunday night.
Team had a hectic route from Colombo to Doha, Doha to Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo to Panama City and then to Cali.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe said disciplinary action will be taken against Director General of Sports Amal Edirisuriya, Director of Sports I.P. Wijerathne and top officials of Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) regarding the air tickets mess up, which almost prevented the Sri Lanka Junior team flying to Colombia.
Ceylon Today learns the Minister had called for a report regarding the incident within 72 hours. Director General at the Department of Sports Development Amal Edirisuriya is currently in Birmingham, participating as one of the general team managers for the Commonwealth Games.