16 May, 2022


Namal’s Container Gyms: Dilith’s GS Health And High Octane Fitness Shortlisted For Pilot Project 

A controversial decision by the Cabinet of ministers to establish 500 container gymnasiums around the country at a whopping cost of Rs 625 million has come in for serious criticism as Sri Lanka grapples with the third wave of the deadly coronavirus.

The proposal submitted by the Ministry of Sports was line item number 8 in the list of cabinet decisions published following the ministerial meeting on May 3, 2021.

Dilith Jayaweera and Namal Rajapaksa

The list of cabinet decisions is a study in the Government’s priorities as nearly 2000 infections are recorded daily and the country recorded 745 deaths from Covid-19, observers said. The only item on the list of cabinet decisions on May 3 that pertain to Government plans to curb the spread of the disease, is the 13th and final item, regarding approval granted to purchase more Covid-19 PCR test kits.

Social media has been inundated with posts linking the controversial and grossly untimely proposal to a sports and gym equipment store unveiled on May 2, 2021 by George Steuarts Health.

Minister Namal Rajapaksa attends as Chief Guest at GS Health sports and gym equipment Showroom launch

Presidential confidant and media mogul Dilith Jayaweera is the proprietor of George Steuarts Health and its parent company. Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa attended the launch of the showroom as chief guest.

The next day, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Sports Minister’s proposal for 500 contained gymnasiums at a cost to the taxpayer of Rs 625 million.

Sure enough, documents seen by Colombo Telegraph revealed that George Steuart Health was the No 1 bidder for the proposal to construct container gyms, and ultimately made it to the two shortlisted bids for the pilot project.

GS Health and High Octane Fitness Centre were shortlisted from among seven bids, called as far back as November 10, 2020. Bidding opened on December 1, 2020. Based on documents seen by Colombo Telegraph, the bids appear to be for procurement linked to a pilot project by the Ministry of Sports for an initial 25 gyms. High Octane Fitness submitted the lowest cost bid, at Rs 983,810 per container gym, and a total cost of Rs 25.4 million for all 25 units.

However, based on the decision by the cabinet of ministers, 250 container gyms will be established in various parts of the country by the end of 2021. Two hundred and fifty more will be added by the end of 2022 based on Minister Rajapaksa’s proposal.

It remains unclear when bids will be called for the remaining 225 container gymnasium units necessary to implement Minister Namal Rajapaksa’s project by the end of this year. However, sources close to the Government told Colombo Telegraph that while High Octane – also owned by a politically connected family – had won the initial pilot project bid, it was possible that GS Health will be the main contender for the bulk of the supply in the end.

The proposal comes amid the soaring prices of consumer goods and food items, stifling import restrictions and a mounting debt and balance of payments crisis that experts believe will have the Sri Lankan economy in freefall by the end of this year.

Defending his proposal in Parliament on Wednesday (5), Minister Namal Rajapaksa assured the House that funds would not be diverted from the Covid-19 fund for his gymnasium project but will be drawn from funds allocated from the Treasury. (By Janakie Mediwake)


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Latest comments

  • 31

    This would be almost like those night car races of the bastard sons. Night car races run by Namal bastard almost didstroyed everything to that time.
    Why do people tolerate any harm being done by these bastards. Srilanken nation is hugely hit by a bunch of criminals:

    • 7

      No doubt, Namal baby will introduce whorehouses next.. gold buiscuit queen and the wives of the bastards sons could lead the brothels. … …. srilankens are hard up of any kind of business.. these bastards are the masters to promote even the oldest as is the case in Thailand.
      People paved the way bitch s sons to be back, now they have to bear whatever they will introduce to the nation.
      Good riddance.

  • 24

    A shipping container turned in to a gym?
    can you imagine exercising in side a room made of solid metal. Even though its open to the elements.
    The Sri Lankan weather is scorching hot or persistent rain.
    whose is going to exercise in those weather condition inside or outside an open style metal box?
    further how many adults can the metal container accommodate at one time?
    whose daft idea is that?
    another white elephant waste of public money

    why didn’t they think of using that money to convert the containers in to a walk thru Covid-19 vaccine centres ? its only take few minute to put the vaccine in to the arm?

  • 14

    Somebody is getting rich off this. That will be the usual suspects. People are getting infected with this terrible pandemic, there are no vaccines to save lives, and there is no comprehensive plan to help the people, and they are opening these gyms? Gyms cannot help a pandemic, it will only add to more people being infected in these places. In other nations they shut down all gyms for fear of Covid spreading, not open new ones.
    Priorities, priorities. Every stupid decision made by the Rajapaksa’s has THEM richer and the country poorer.

  • 14

    When we have idiots as Ministers this would happen and more would happen!

  • 9

    The Buwa doing something for the Baiyas. The night sky over North Korea is pitch dark. Kim Jong Un the dictator has no money to import petroleum. Any energy resoursces the country has is exported for badly needed cash. So no lights. No Cars. Buwa might be on to something. He is training his Baiyas to ride bicycles where ever they have to go since no more energy scenario is fast approaching. The farmer too will have to get fit since no money for fuel means he has to do the work manually. Well done Buwa for forward thinking.

  • 6

    Left SL about 15 years ago and when ever I go on YouTube or internet I notice that Sri Lankans are fat. How do you hump these humongous women? Specially Muslims. Sheesh. It’s a leap forward that Gyms are being introduced. Even if someone is going to make money. Practically, it’s cheaper to use an existing structure than built a new one. Hence containers. They probably have windows cut out.

    • 7

      Looks like going abroad has not made you classy, or refined. It also has not taught you to make comments like a decent human being.

    • 8

      Unfortunately it looks like going abroad has not been an improvement for you. If only it helped turned you into a classy and dignified person, who can write like a decent human being. What a shame.

  • 16

    ….why didn’t they think of using that money to convert the containers into a walk thru Covid-19 vaccine centres ?……….
    Same reason that Rajapakse priorities are only for making a buck for self and chums. Many villages need a simple bridge for a 3-wheeler to go across the river – low priority.
    Many villages need potable water for bare existence – low priority.
    Elephant rampage of villagers and crops – low priority.
    But Nuwara Eliya races with Yoshitha and wife, dressed Ascot style, high priority.

  • 12

    Ridiculous people. They wouldn’t bother with such things unless someone was making money along the line. Reminds me of Premadasa’s motorcycle helmets and Paradise Stores. For anyone who doesn’t know, President Premadasa brought in a law that everyone on a motorbike had to wear a helmet. Good idea but helmets were only available at Paradise Stores which was owned by…..?.
    Bastards, the lot of them.

  • 7

    Yes man bring back the night car racing as well it’s almost lockdown anyway so bring your flashy cars for fun

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