Our target is winning Gold Medals: Dian Gomes
By Asanka Gammanpila
The President of the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Dian Gomes believes Sri Lankan boxers have a realistic chance of winning Gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games in the near future.
The godfather of Sri Lanka boxing for two decades, Dian Gomes has been appointed uncontested to the post of President for another four-year term at the recently held AGM.
This was the third time he was appointed President. Previously he held this position from 2004-2009 and 2017-2020. The main target of BASL is the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham, United Kingdom in 2022. Another important event for the Sri Lankans is the South Asian Games in 2022 which is scheduled to be held in Lahore, Pakistan.
During the past four years BASL had participated in 35 international meets, and Sri Lanka’s elite pugilists have won a total 41 medals (9 Gold, 15 Silvers 17 Bronze), while youth boxers have won 5 medals (3 silver, 2 Bronze).
“But still the record is not great; 35 tournaments with only nine Gold medals! Our greatest achievement was winning three Bronze medals after 68 years at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Cost,” said Gomes during a press briefing held on Saturday.
“Now BASL is planning for the next four years, along with a long-term plan of another four years for my successor,” said Gomes. For the next two years Sri Lanka is scheduled to participate in several international meets including Asian Championship, South Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Olympic qualifiers for 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
He further said from last year BASL’s whole concentration for the next two years will be to find new talent among the schoolboys and youth. “The current youth team is fairly strong and they have participated in a couple of tournaments. In Sweden SL won two medals and our concentration is on that as well,” said Gomes.
Lack of support by the Sports Ministry is a major concern and Gomes believes the newly appointed Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa will give his full support to the sport and Sri Lanka can entertain hopes of winning more international medals.
For the last three years out of the 35 international meets, 32 meets were sponsored by BASL, well wishers and the Corporates. “So, imagine how much funding we need to train our boxers - both men’s senior and junior level - and the women,” said Gomes.
“My biggest hope is the newly appointed Minister, who is a sportsman himself having played a series sports, is young enough to dream of Sri Lanka’s long-term sports philosophy and the growth of sports. So I am sure with him taking a very serious role we will be able to get the medals and take boxing forward.
“I have yet to meet him officially, but I’m sure in the next couple of weeks we will develop a rapport with the Ministry and see how we can work together to get the medals.”