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    PM praises South Asian Games medal winners

    January 15, 2020

    Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said a Sports University will be established in the future and Diyagama will be upgraded into a sports complex. He made these remarks at the South Asian Games medal winners’ felicitation ceremony held at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre yesterday.The Prime Minister further said the government plans to concentrate more into sports economics because it plays a major role to sustain athletes and their developments.

    “I’m very honoured and proud to deliver my speech in front of the winners who made our mother land proud,” said Prime Minister Rajapaksa who was the chief guest at the ceremony held by the Ministry of Sports to felicitate the South Asian Games medal winners.“When I was president of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka Susanthika Jayasinghe won the Olympic medal and I was happy. I feel the same when I see you all here.Nilani Ratnayake who won the gold medal in the Women’s 5000 metres receiving her cash prize from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Aruna Dharshana who won the gold medal in the 400m and 4x400m relay receiving his cash award from the Prime Minister.“We are very much behind in sports facilities compared to other countries but our athletes have won international medals. We need to uplift their standard more in the future.“When I was President (of the country) we tried to host the Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka but were unable to. If we had got the opportunity to host the Games that time, it would have been more helpful for the athletes. We need to build the confidence levels of our athletes while developing the infrastructure,” he said.Speaking further the Prime Minister said, “Our government also plans to concentrate on athletes who come from the estate sectors and get them more involved in sports. Today President Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted a cabinet paper increasing the salaries of estate workers by about Rs. 1000.”

    The South Asian Games medal winners were felicitated by the Ministry of Sports and a total of 251 athletes received cash prizes with the Prime Minister presenting the medal winners with Rs. 500,000 for Gold, Rs. 300,000 for Silver and Rs. 200,000 for Bronze.The Ministry of Sports distributed cash awards to the winners to the total value of Rs. 85 million.The Sri Lankan team won 251 medals with 40 gold, 83 silver and 128 bronze and finished third in the medals standings behind India and host Nepal.




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