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Lack of funds — Sri Lanka pulls out of YOG Asian Qualifier

By Naushad Amit

Asian Rugby Under-17 Sevens
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Sri Lanka are the defending champions of the tournament, which SLR has pulled out of this year - File pic

Lack of funds has forced Sri Lanka to pull out of the upcoming Asian Rugby Under-17 Sevens Championship scheduled to be held in Chinese Taipei next month.

This tournament also serves as the qualifying platform of the Youth Olympic Games 2018 to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) authorities have not shown any interest to see the defending champions of the tournament make proper preparation.

According to a top official of Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR), the junior age categories, even if it comes to national or international levels, come under the radar of SLSRFA, but SLR play a key role in providing technical and logistic assistance.

“The Schools Section is not providing enough funds to run their national teams, which come under their responsibility. It takes a lot of effort to prepare the team, which is done by SLR, and providing them with necessary technical guidance through our High Performance Training Department,” the source stated.

One of the main objective of the SLR High Performance Training Department was to send the potential youngsters through a proper process before each competition and to condition young players to the national level. But with the current situation, SLR has come to an opinion that their exercise serves no purpose without proper input from SLSRFA.

In November last year, SLR and SLSRFA formed a 10-member Joint Committee with a broad-based vision for School and Junior Rugby but so farnothing has come out positively.

With the understanding, the SLR has doled out SLSRFA when they were at a financial shortage last time to send a Sri Lanka Junior team for the same tournament last year, where they emerged champions. After months of ineffective sittings and with the SLSRFA failing to return the borrowed Rs. 5million, SLR has sent the Schools Section a Letter of Demand inquiring about the money.

“It’s unclear if the Schools Section is really interested in maintaining their national sides. They have the talent, SLR provide the technical and other resources and they must understand their responsibility. Or they should officially hand over the responsibility of the national junior teams to SLR. The SLR is not asking for their local tournaments, where our interest is not focused at. Here, nothing feasible is happening”.

SLR’s annual estimated budget to maintain and send junior teams of different age categories and segments for international competitions for an year comes to above Rs. 25 million. It has a sponsor for the Junior Asiad, or the Sri Lanka Under-20 side, which the SLR highly focuses on.

“Definitely School Rugby is marketable and with a little streamlining and focus the SLSRFA has the ability to lay out a proper structure on all their activities. What is visible now is their incapability, distrust on their own breed and their superfluous focus on local tournaments. If the Schools Section needs to improve with planning and development of their national sides, they will definitely have to work very close with SLR, like it or not,” the source added.

However, when the Secretary of the SLSRFA was inquired on the claims made by SLR, he was unaware of such an international assignment or any sort of pull out. He claimed that the Under-17 Sri Lanka team was picked, but later stated that he was not sure of it and would verify with the higher authorities and make an official statement. The top SLR official assured that it had already pulled out as the tournament is due to take place on September 9 and 10 and an invalid no-show could see Sri Lanka fined by the regional governing body.

Posted on 2017-08-20 14:56:41
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Should Dilshan have continued until Cricket World Cup 2019?

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THE DAY'S QUOTE

“That was pathetic. No excuse at all. The whole team is responsible. Whoever the captain is, we have to back him and try and support him. The captain has to do so many other stuff. All the 11 guys must back him and support him.” “We have addressed the issue of finishing off the overs on time in the past as well, but it cropped up again. It’s so unfortunate to see Upul going out as he is a crucial player in our set up. He batted well against South Africa and it’s so unfortunate. This can’t happen again,” - Angelo Mathews

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Cricket is a game of fine margins and Mathews is set to be a modern great. Hang in their Angie, this team can achieve something on this tour. Thirimane and the youngsters form was a real positive. Prasad was missed. Chameera should be persisted with. If Bairstow was our early outcome could have been very different.

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