Sri Lanka To Send 90 Athletes To Commonwealth Games
By Hishan Welmilla
The only Sri Lankan gold medalist in a Commonwealth Games (CWG), weight lifter Chinthana Vidanage, will lead the Sri Lankan Contingent to XIX Commonwealth Games scheduled to get underway in Delhi, India from October 3.
Sri Lankan contingent will comprise of 78 male athletes and 18 female athletes who will compete against 72 countries, including the strong host nation India in this 12-day event. It will also be the first occasion that the Commonwealth Games will be held in India and the second time Asia will host the event.
According to the President, National Olympic Committee (NOC), Hemasiri Fernando, NOC has appointed a special committee named Sri Lanka Commonwealth Games Sport Council to look in to matters concerning Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games.
The special committee has announced that a contingent of 135 members (90 athletes and 45 officials) will take wing to India on September 30 to contest 17 disciplines (including three para sports).
There are many experienced athletes among the Sri Lankan squad, which also includes new athletes who are taking part in an international event for the first time. Among the experienced athletes who have been selected for the games, Heshan Unamboowe who captained Sri Lanka at the Youth Olympics in Singapore, experienced swimmer Conrad Francis, athlete Shehan Abeypitiyage, marathon runner Chaminda Wijekoon, high jumper Manjula Kumara, badminton players Thilini Jayasinghe, Niluka Karunaratne and Dinuka Karunaratne, boxer Manju Wanniarachchi, squash players Sharya Guruge and Navin Samarasinghe, table tennis players Nuwani Nawodya and Rohan Sirisena, weight lifter Chinthana Vidanage and tennis player Harshana Godamanna are some with notable achievements to their name.
Sri Lanka will contest in swimming, synchronized swimming, archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, rugby sevens, shooting, squash, table tennis, tennis, weight lifting and wrestling. In addition to the list, there will be para events for differently-abled sportsmen and women. They will contest the (para swimming, para athletics and para lifting). The events will be worked off in 18 venues. Group Captain of the Sri Lanka Air Force Chandana Liyanage will take responsibility of the role of Chief de Mission.