OCA Gives Sri Lanka Another Chance With AYG 2017!
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has granted Sri Lanka a second chance to prove its organising capabilities by provisionally reconfirming the hosting rights of the Asian Youth Games (AYG) 2017.
However according to reliable sources the AYG 2017 will be wholly moved to Colombo from the initially promoted southern city of Hambantota. The OCA will again observe the progress of the infrastructure development in projects targeted for the AYG 2017 in Colombo and will make a final decision before granting the full hosting rights.
If Sri Lanka fails to impress, it is told that the OCA will look at fitting alternative venues, most probably at cities that are already geared to host an event with over 5000 athletes from 45 Asian countries expected to take part.
Officials of the Organising Committee of AYG 2017 headed by Ajith Nivard Cabraal and four other top level officials met the Chairman of OCA, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabahhas earlier this week in Kuwait to hold fresh discussions on Sri Lanka’s possibilities of hosting the Games.
Others in the Sri Lankan delegation were Hemasiri Fernando, the President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka and Deputy Chairman of AYG Organising Committee, Anura Jayawickrema, Secretary to the Minister of Sports, Maxwell de Silva, the Secretary General of National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, and Prema Pinnawala, the adviser to the President of Sri Lanka on sports affairs.
However according to reliable sources the OCA has tasked Sri Lanka to build a fully-fledged and multipurpose indoor sport facility which is estimated to cost the hosts millions in US dollars.
Moreover according to further revelation the Games are being targeted to be held at Diyagama in Homagama.
The possibility of holding events at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo will be minimal. But the stadium will be used as a one of the training facilities. Other training venues will be designated at selected school venues in and around Colombo.
But the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium and the Sugathadasa Swimming Complex will be two of the venues totally allocated for the AYG 2017. However Sri Lanka will be given a period only three months to show its progress on the whole process.
With the earlier debacles experienced on the infrastructure development in promoting Hambantota, the OCA will strictly adhere to the deadline before making a final confirmation.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Sports issuing an official statement last Tuesday said that the OCA has ‘reconfirmed that Sri Lanka would be endorsed as the host for the AYG 2017 in the cities of Colombo and Hambantota’.
“At the meeting, Cabraal conveyed the commitment of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government towards the organisation of the AYG, and in response, the OCA Chairman Sheikh Ahmad expressed his appreciation of the efforts of President Rajapaksa towards the development of sports, both in Sri Lanka and in Asia,” the statement said.
“The logistics in relation to the organisation of the Games as well as the events to be conducted were also discussed, and it was agreed that a final decision on the specific sports and venues would be taken, immediately after the General Meeting of the OCA which is due to be held in Incheon, Korea in mid-September,” it added.
If the official statement issued by the Ministry of Sports stands correct this will be the first occasion in history a multitude sporting event to be hosted in two cities in the history of Olympic, Commonwealth and Asian Games level.