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Sri Lanka Sports Ministry to investigate N Eliya racing tragedy

Saturday, 26 April 2008 - 4:12 AM SL Time

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`This person (de Costa) distorts the facts and spreads utterly false stories saying that we have made an organisational blunder in conducting the N Eliya race. But the fact is that Mr. de Costa is acting on his personal egoism and making use of this sorrowful human loss for his own benefit. That is really pathetic,` said present SLMC acting president Mahesh Gammampila yesterday.

`We met the Sports Minister (Lokuge) last Thursday (24) and showed him all the documents to prove that we held the races in a proper manner. This is one of the oldest motor races in the country. Even the main accuser here (de Costa) too was part of the organising committee of the N Eliya car races for some years. We have collaborated with the motorcycling mother association before these races. I think the minister was very much convinced that we were not at fault as the organisers of the event. But he needed some time to investigate more into the issue and convey his final verdict,` Gammampila further explained.

After Sunday s tragic death of Bandaranayake who succumbed to his injuries at the N Eliya General Hospital after a horrible crash in his Mini Seven car, de Costa said on Monday (21) that he had previously informed the related authorities that the N Eliya track was not safe for car races. He put the blame of the Bandaranayake death directly on the SLMC saying it held the races without prior permission from the authorities.

`It was a shocking experience. We are part of the same (racing) community. Dilshan s father too was a friend of mine. In fact, I was working with Dilshan, before the races, on introducing new rules on the Mini Seven Class where he met with his tragic accident. That was the most economical Class of motor racing. Dilshan was thoroughly involved with this particular event for the last four years. Everybody knows that this is a genuine racing car accident,` added Gammampila.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Lokuge told The Island that there were different opinions on Sunday s N Eliya racing car accident.

`Yes, there is an investigation going on (on the accident). I don t say that everybody should take permission from the ministry before conducting sports events. But I d see that at least the sports associations that are attached to our ministry would take our permission from here. The Weliweriya incident (where Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and more than ten others died in a bomb blast during a marathon) was one incident which we could ve avoided if there were proper pre-event organisation,` added Lokuge.

`The prime concern of the organisers of any motor racing event is the safety of the spectators. We had proper barricading at N Eliya this time. It was a 1000cc event which was the slowest version (of motor racing). Every driver came to the races after obtaining proper licences from the association. Knowing all this, if somebody is accusing us, he should be having something very personal against us,` said Gammampila.

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• Associated Press

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LK Information  26 Apr 2008 03:36:33 GMT  Report for Abuse  

Hello.... Mahes.G, what do you need to prove to Lokuge by showing documents that the races were held in a proper manner?
What does Lokuge know about how it should be held ????

Don't be foolish.... If Lokuge needs to find out the truth let him appoint some capable people to conduct an Investigation.

What does Lokuge know?

make those documents transparent through an official investigations.
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