Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera has decided that 23 sports in each district should be specially encouraged and 23 coaches should be assigned to do this job.
His main targets are the Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, where these athletes will be able to rake in medals. Meanwhile if there are special coaches among them, they are to be sent abroad for special training.
“Our athletics coaches are stuck in a mud hole. If Sri Lanka’s Chandika Haturusinghe as coach was able to bring the Bangladesh cricket team to its present status, there are obviously many more talented coaches among our ranks. Just because a player takes part in the Olympics, or is a member of a top notch cricket team, he cannot be rated as a top level coach. Just because a bowler takes 400 or 800 wickets, he cannot be judged as a leading coach.
“Chaminda Vaas is a player who has taken 400 international wickets. I told him that if he aspired to be a coach, he should obtain training in coaching. Today he is training in various countries abroad because he has obtained that coaching. Just because someone wins a big medal, do not think he can be a top level coach!
“The best example is Dav Whatmore. He has not even played 50 Tests. But today he is one of the best cricket coaches.We hope to obtain several foreign coaches in the future. In the past we have sent sprint and middle distance runners to Kenya for special training.
“Then a Kenyan coach came to Sri Lanka to train our athletes. This coach said that Sri Lanka possesses extremely talented coaches. Today most of the coaches are a selfish lot.That is the main reason for the downfall in sports. There is no opportunity for young coaches to come forward. Present coaches train children without any education or knowledge of the game.
“As a sportsman, I know that the methods used today are the ones used in the 60’s. The stomach exercises that athletes do today belong to the 1975-1980 era. Our coaches are unaware of the changes that have taken place in exercises.
“Most of our cricketers start doing exercises, after coming into a team. By that time the strength has been directed to another segment of the body. Our cricketers when they reach 50 runs, hold their legs and are unable to run. Earlier, a runner could be used.Now that too is prohibited. This is a good decision. If he cannot run after scoring 50, he should go home!
“If a player is not fit or strong enough, there is no point in continuing in the sport. Most of our cricketers are pot bellied.This can be seen from the tee-shirts that they wear.There are no such ugly cricketers in any other country other than Sri Lanka. Only a few cricketers exists of perfect stature.
“One player has said that just because you drop a catch, one does not lose a game. But I say that the dropped catches, lose matches. If the stomach is big the hand does not go to take the catch.Then the cricketer catches his head in dismay!
“Take for instance the Bangladesh cricketers. None of them has a protruding stomach. This should be the style. I suggest that our players should undergo six months training in a Forces Camp”, these comments were made by the Sports Minister at a Sports Science Diploma ceremony held at the Sports Ministry Auditorium. Over 600 sports instructors wer awarded diplomas at this ceremony.(Susil Premalal)