Athletes should be looked at as entrepreneurs: Namal
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Lanka Sportreizen (LSR), a leading Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka, together with Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Tourism and Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka, will conduct an Open/National Surfing event on 26 and 27 September in Surfing Hub of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay.
This will mark Sri Lanka’s sports revolutionising concept by the Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa, who pledged to build Sri Lanka’s sports economy as a USD 1 billion industry within the next five years.
The Minister stated that in other countries sports is something which generates income for the country, and athletes are entrepreneurs who help the community to expand business and create jobs, but in Sri Lanka people do not look at athletes in that manner, which is due to the economic situation and sports economy in Sri Lanka .
“We should look at athletes as entrepreneurs. Internationally a good performing athlete brings honour to the country and an income for the family, but in Sri Lanka an athlete has become a headache for the parents. We should change that concept by promoting sports based tourism that will help the country’s economy and save athletes from this sad situation,” said Rajapaksa.
The Minister also said apart from Surfing, International cricket and Kabaddi events too will be held later this year, while they are exploring the possibility of hosting sporting events which could generate income for the country .
This event is expected to reawaken the interest that the sporting fraternity has for surfing since the period from January 2020 has not seen any event taking place in the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka due to the spread of the Covid 19 virus. Furthermore, stakeholders in the Eastern Province who have been starved of business with the break of the virus will be able to heave a sigh of relief about the future of their livelihoods with the conduct of this event.
In this scenario locals as well as foreigners living in Sri Lanka will be able to show off their skills to the large number of visitors that are expected to witness this event. Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd Sri Lanka and Lin Asia Holdings (Pvt) Ltd will be the main Sponsors of this event.
According to Hiran Ukwatte, President of SFSL, the Arugam Bay event will be the third and final instalment of the National Championship, which was held earlier in Hikkaduwa and Madihe in Matara before the outbreak of the pandemic.
“Anyway, an event was already planned for September with the collaboration of the World Surf League, but as we all know, activities across the world came to a standstill. Furthermore, the stakeholders in the Eastern Province have been severely affected by it, and this event will surely be a sigh of relief for them,” said Thilak Weerasinghe, Chairman of LSR. The event will start on 26 September with the Open Championship, which will be held as an event without any barriers attracting mainly the foreign surfers who have been stuck in Sri Lanka for some duration, and it will also allow local competitors to surf alongside their more competitive international counterparts.
The National Championship will be held on 27 September which will allow local surfers to upgrade themselves in rankings following the conclusion of the two competitions held prior to the pandemic. The organisers expect around 100 surfers in both categories - including women - and the decision to separately categorise women surfers will depend on the number of entries.
Lanka Sportreizen, a leading Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka which has been in the forefront of promoting Tourism through Sports and Adventure has organised and conducted the following Surfing Events in the past.
• British Pro- Surf Championships
• Rating Tournament for the Japanese Pro- Surfing Association
• ASP WQS 6 Star Men's Short Board Event with the Australian Surfing Professionals
• ASP WQS 6 Star Men's Long Board Event & Women's Short Board Event with the Australian Surfing Professionals
• WSL WQS 3000 Men's Short Board Event with the World Surf League