Sri Lanka launches ambitious program to promote sports for youth

Feb 09, Colombo: In a move to encourage participation of children and youth in sports, Sri Lanka today launched an ambitious program that would provide training and scholarships to promising children across the island.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the Kreeda Shakthi program at the Temple Trees Thursday with the participation of the Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

Addressing the event, President Rajapaksa has emphasized that restricting the child only to books is an injustice being meted out to the child.

He pointed out the need to involve the country’s youth in extracurricular activities as well as academics to prepare them to successfully face the challenges of the future.

The President requested the parents to direct their children to sports activities as well, without limiting them only to studies. They should be equipped with all extracurricular activities as well to successfully face the challenges of the future.

Under the initiative, a selected group of 1,200 children, aged between 14 and18, from all areas of the country will be given the necessary training and guidance in 17 sports disciplines to produce international level athletes.

President Rajapaksa handed over scholarships to the selected athletes today at the event.

The athletes will receive a monthly allowance of 2,500 rupees, in addition to insurance, nutrition supplements, food, residential training, and exposure to top level local and overseas competition, the Sports Ministry said.

The services of 500 coaches will be obtained for the programme. Following the conclusion of primary training the government plans to secure the services of foreign coaches.

The program for the first time awards sports scholarships to the children from the North and East.

Sri Lanka’s performance in sports other than cricket is dismally subpar and the participation in international sports events is low.

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