The crisis in Sri Lanka has made headlines around the world. Images of an angry mob storming the domiciles of the president and prime minister have grabbed widespread international attention.
The crisis is a compounded result of multiple factors such as the devaluation of the national currency, the decision of the government to move away from hitherto practised methods of agriculture and the impact of COVID-19.
With the economic crisis growing by the day, it seemed impossible for athletes from the island nation to be able to represent their national colours at the 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in Birmingham, England.
But, at the eleventh hour, in came the Sri Lankan Cricket board to save the CWG contingent, the largest ever in the history of the nation, to ensure that the Lankan flag will indeed be represented in the UK.
The nation’s cricket board came forth and contributed a handsome amount of 22 million Sri Lankan Rupees to the benefit of the CWG mission unit, which is being utilised to fund the travel cost of the athletes and to cover the expenses of the competition gear among other necessary expenses.
CWG chief of mission Dmpath Fernando said that the tiny nation’s tightly knit federation greatly appreciated the cricket board’s gesture.
More than a hundred athletes stand to benefit from the generous move from the nation’s Cricketing body, including the likes of sprint sensation Yupun Abekoon, who became the first South Asian to complete a 100m dash within the 10-second mark.
The nation is set to send 54 men and 60 women athletes in all to the CWG, which is the highest ever number of participants at the CWG.
The cricket board was able to extend help as they remained to stay aloft despite the crisis that has devoured the nation thanks to the revenue they gained as a result of permitting the crowd for the series against Australia, the first time that audience was entertained to enter stadiums since the pandemic. The broadcasting deals that the country’s cricket federation had signed were also a big help in ensuring that the board wouldn’t go down with the country.
Maxwell da Silva, Sri Lanka’s Olympic Association secretary has imposed stringent austerity measures on the travelling contingent. The athletes will have to make do with the limited gear that has been assigned to them individually. So, if you see the Sri Lankan contingent emerge in tracksuits for the opening and closing ceremonies instead of traditional designer clothes, do not be surprised.