23 May, 2022


Sri Lanka’s Misery At Commonwealth Games 2014

By Helasingha Bandara

While other nations battle on the field of sports for national pride, the people representing our nation battle to secure a place on the list to go on a free holiday, a wily purpose.  A bronze medal in Weight Lifting in the recently concluded Glasgow Commonwealth games is enough evidence that our purpose, our attitude and our strategy in this regard are completely off track.

Mahinda RajaThe Commonwealth games came to the beautiful city of Glasgow in Scotland. Both the opening and closing ceremonies were fun filled combined with Scottish humour, Glasgow friendliness and were much appreciated by all parties. Individual athletes, teams and countries were highlighted as victorious and many a tear of joy were shed. We the Sri Lankans, watched with great expectations but had to bear with disappointment after disappointment. One report said that the Sri Lanka contingent had 156 athletes. If that was correct, with the officials it could have been close to 200 people travelling that far on the money that the poor people of the country sweat to earn. The waste can be justified if our athletes compete at an acceptable standard despite not winning. It was quite the opposite. In the track and field events no one could reach even a final, why?

The reasons can be found in the only highlights of Sri Lanka participation at the 2014 games.

Highlight 1, riding on the motorway.

British media reported that some Sri Lankan athletes (cyclists) had gone on to a very busy motorway for a practice session and the police had to remove them. In fact at the opening ceremony, within the spectacle this incident was particularly ridiculed on the television screens across the UK and on millions of other screens all over Commonwealth.

The organizers of the Sri Lanka party, probably the sports ministry officials, did not know what their athletes were doing because they could have been very busy with sight seeing or shopping. They did not seem to have a well organised practice plan. It also showed ignorance on the part of the athletes to risk their lives on a busy motorway.  We showed our stupidity to the world in this negative manner. Perhaps this could be the behavioural reflection of our characteristic national disregard to road safety in Sri Lanka?

Highlight 2, spreading the Lion flag

At the closing ceremony Kirani James of Granada and a few other athletes were interviewed at one time for their comments on the Glasgow games in general,  the welcome they received from the Glasgow crowd and their individual happiness on winning.  While the interview was live on TV one Sri Lanka participant held a large Sri Lanka lion flag behind the athletes for the camera. The idea was either to deceive the world that those were Sri Lanka athletes or to steal a spot on the TV. Either way this was an act of disgrace. In the first place no one under the Sri Lanka banner performed at the games in any manner that should catch the eye of the world. While no other nation including the countries of those athletes interviewed made an attempt to show their flags.  Sri Lankans trying to steal a spot standing behind the athletes of other nations could only be described as a shameful act. Do we need that? What attitude is that!

We have produced world renowned cricketers such as Aravinda, Arjuna, Jayasooriya, Mahela, Murali and Sangakkara to name a few. We are recognized as a cricketing nation. The reason for that is that  along the path, Arjuna Ranathunga  thought that it was time for us to  start a tradition of winning. – He fought his way to win the world cup in 1996. The tradition now continues and we win.  Susanthika Jayasingha, Sugath Thilakrathna, and Sriyani Kulawansa have won medals at Commonwealth games. This disproves the hypothesis that our physical build is no match to the black athletes of Africa or the Caribbean.  The problem lies with our purpose, attitude, desire, investment and management.

Our purpose should be to compete with the best and be on par with them. Is it common sense to send a hundred meter sprinter who runs it around 11 seconds when it is certain that the winning time is 10 seconds or less? If we have someone who runs 100 meters in 10.2 or 10.3 seconds we know that our runner would give the spectators their money’s worth. It is not difficult to decide whether we have athletes who can compete on the world stage. As long as our purpose remains to give a chance for a bunch of people to visit another country in the guise of taking part in an athletic meet we will remain a dormant nation on the field of athletics.


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Latest comments

  • 13

    Lets call a spade a spade..

    Sri Lankans are lazy, selfish and suffering from all kinds of inferiority complexes.

    You want proof? Look in the mirror!

    The joke that Sri Lankans will kick the ladder they climbed so no one else can rise is not a joke. It is a sad commentary of SL society.

    The fact that you need to know someone or bribe someone to get them to DO THEIR JOB, is of of another bad habit.

    What is mine is mine, and what is yours will also be mine, soon!

    But, when it comes to dealing with foreigners, we either play ‘high and mighty’ with our sub-continent bretheren, or poor and victimised with our benefactors, be they Arab Shiekhs, Whites of any strata or even third world dictators and miscreants.

    So, when will Sri Lankans truly care about self respect and national pride ? When everyone else has it and we have nothing!! Today the sense of achievement comes mainly from material wealth not from any other accomplishments. It is about showing off to the relatives, neighbours and friends.

    • 1

      No Upul….do not blame …Sri Lankan People are not lazy…they just lack proper leadership ….the present Govt corrupted and incompetent… and Chakravarthy is rotten..it is the Leadership …their aim is elections and night races.. Sugath,Dharsha,Susanthika,Sriyani ….Cricketing great Arjuna ..were all were the products of UNP and were bloomed during the War…..How much the Country should produce today…!!!!

  • 2

    Get a life!!

  • 3

    Get a life!!!

  • 6

    Helasingha Bandara makes some valid points but let us set the record straight before going any further. Sri Lanka had two sportsmen at these games who did us proud.

    Sudesh Peiris WON a SILVER in the 62kg Group A Weightlifting

    Nadeeka Liyanage came a very credible 6th in the FINAL of the Womens Javelin Throw.

    That was the good news. Bandara is of course right in his scathing comments on the bloated disproportionate band of officials and their management of the team. But this is only a reflection of the sporting set up here in Sri Lanka. Every one of our sporting organisations is politicised, and the main focus of officials elected is the identifying of opportunities to travel overseas.

    Probably only 5 or 6 of the team were worthy of their place; the rest were clearly out-of-their-depth no-hopers. Sporting events are organised in a way where there is a hierarchy of challenge and a sportsman/woman can be damaged by trying to compete in a situation where they are not qualified to. Some of the athletes who took part, did not even start competing.

    The Rugby Sevens team was an embarrassment; whose idea was it that we could learn anything from making up the numbers? Was the whole fiasco organised to bolster someone’s (??) ego?

    Bandara got it right with his castigation of the ‘yakkos’ who distastefully bombed various TV spots with our national flag, and made many if not all Sri Lankans squirm with shame. Before anyone makes smartarse suggestions, there were clearly identifiable team members in those shots – not outsiders. Do we not have any responsible team managers to brief those travelling on the expected standards of etiquette and behaviour of those who are after all representing their/our country.

    YES, as our cricketers have shown, WE have ample sporting talent. What we do NOT have is a dedicated leadership in organisation because all our national organisations are infested with political hangers-on whose only objective is a free shot.

  • 4

    Where was Chris Nonis, our high commissioner who is a voluble sycophant, according to whom all is OK in sri lanka – to advise the athletes?
    Cycling on the highway while this is prohibited even in sri lanka – on the southern expressway – shows crass stupidity and/or ignorance about to how to behave abroad while being ‘sporting ambassadors’ of sri lanka.

  • 8

    Why don’t the two established dupe-masters of the Rajapakses regime – the Grand Liar P and Kabara Lal – now invent something to explain our
    pathetic performance at the Glasgow Games. Blaming the Diaspora, the non-existent tiger bogey or the UN/Mrs. Pillay’s anti-Sinhala Buddhist conspiracy have now run out of gas. It is time Gothabaya’s MoD discover something and put their pet canines, the BBS, on the road – again.


  • 5

    upul, its true man , we are f….d up with our own pride

    • 5

      steve murphy

      “upul, its true man , we are f….d up with our own pride “

      No you are a proud people with an impressive score card, 18,000 in 1971, 130,000 between 1987 and 1991, and more than 100,000 over 30 years. You should be celebrating those victories forever, at least for the next 2,500 years.

  • 4

    It’s all MaRa’s fault. He should have bribed the umpires or referees through the Ambassador or High Commissioner Dr. Nonis guy.
    This is what happens when the country send some yakkos to take part in other international games, except cricket.

  • 6

    Good that MR didn’t or couldn’t go to open the commonwealth games in Glasgow. Thanks should go to the diaspora and other anti-lankan forces for saving MR from the big public international embarrassment.

  • 5

    I was suprised to see one of the officials were known to me in my schoolday have never been in the area of sports at all .We havent even seen him not even the school ground or not even in the pavilion.His only qualification to be in this tour as a sports official is the friendship with the sports minister and connection to president family.So how can you expect any development of sports from thia kind of situation.

  • 5

    I disagree. We did a very good job show casing our morosity and incompetence and i am glad that it was associted with the lion flag.Pity MR coukd not garce the occation in person.

    • 7

      Kirri Yakka

      Did you count the number of athletes who participated in the game and the number of supposed officials accompanied them?

      I bet there would have been few mistresses of the officials or their brothers.

  • 3

    Sri Lankans stand out wherever they go or in whatever they do. Thanks to Chinese aid most roads in Sri Lanka are either highways or motorways and hence it was difficult for the confused cyclists to make out the differences between cycling tracts, lanes and motor ways. Thank God they did not create a traffic mayhem and delay the games.Bensen

  • 1

    It is a shame on the Govt led by ” supposed to be war winning President ” has failed to produce a single athlete like Susanthika , sugath, Sriyani, Dharsha to compete in the finals, forget about Olympics, at least in Commonwealth Games…!!!!!! …..because all those said names that brought honor to the Country were produced during the War time… How much should the Country produce in this ” supposed to be peace time…” ? Peace is for the serviles …just look ..42 athletes had been accompanied by 110 officials…what shameful regime is this.. Everything is crumbling under these despots engrossed only in Elections for survival than developing the Country and its people…..Very soon Cricket will enjoy the same fate…..we just heard Media Minister the Atikeheliya …hik…hik…hik…is plannig to get his son into the 2015 world cup squad….!!!!!!!

  • 0

    Thank God

    Tamil Diaspora Did a great favour to MARA by preventing from attending the Games.

    Otherwise he would have faced the Giory/Ignomy Faced by the Nazi Ariyan supremacist from the lowly JC Owens at Berlin Olympic. That is now History/

    When is MARA Going to be history?

    May God Seve Sri Lanka. Blessed by the Triple Gems/ or the Triple Sins/


  • 2

    Hi Helasingha Bandara – Have you forgotten the Commonwealth Gold medallist from Jaffna N.Ethirveerasingham in 1954 in Tokyo. what went wrong with the country needs no explanation.

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