Sri Lanka hockey in dire straits

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Published by : CT WEB 2017-10-11 13:35:01

By Karuppiah Ramakrishnan

Ceylon Today learns that the Sri Lanka hockey team who were set to participate in the forthcoming Asian Hockey Championship to be held from 25 November – 3 December 2017 at Yangon, Myanmar, has not been approved by the Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara.

The same team members, including coaches and managers, have been participating in international tournaments since 2015. In 2015 there was an election to elect new office bearers and out of the two parties contesting one party was rejected by the minister: They went to Court over the issue and elections have been delayed ever since and the same team had to continue as a result of there not been elected office bearers at the Hockey Federation of Sri Lanka. According to the minister he was requested by the selection committee to include some new young players but it was impossible due to a Court order. Since 2015 there has been no National Hockey Championship held and this has turned into such a bad situation for the sport of hockey.

Ministry of Sports has decided to conduct a National Championship in the near future and indentify new young talented players for future international tournaments.

Due to several issues in the hockey administration, that has ended up in Court and due to that hockey is run by the Department of Sports development. The Director General is the person in charge. The minister has requested the former selection committee chairman Dharshana Wijesinghe who filed the case against the Hockey Federation of Sri Lanka, to withdraw the case and conduct a democratic election to elect office bearers.

A veteran hockey player expressed his disappointment and told Ceylon Today the game of hockey is defunct with no proper administration and no planning. We don't participate in many international tournaments. But remember we have talented men and women players. Sri Lanka can proceed on a successful journey with hockey in Asia. But due to the non participation in international tournaments, we cannot improve our game. We have become stale in the same position.

The Asian Challenge Cup was introduced by the Asian Hockey Federation in 2013 to provide the second-tier hockey nations in Asia with more opportunities to compete at international level against opponents of similar standard. The event's inaugural edition was held in Bangkok, Thailand, two years ago and won by the team from Sri Lanka, ahead of Myanmar and Thailand, with Thailand B coming fourth.

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