The 52nd Junior Athletic championships one of the major events of the athletic calendar organised by the Sri Lanka Athletic Association is scheduled to be conducted at the Sugathadasa Stadium on June 4, 5 and 6 commencing at 8 a.m. each day. This was disclosed by Athletic Association President General Palitha Fernando at a press briefing held at AASL auditorium yesterday.
Addressing the mediamen he said that this is the stepping stone for young athletes to enter the national level pools to represent the country at the international arena.
He also said that Sri Lanka s main telecommunication giant Sri Lanka Telecom has come forward to sponsor this event and also all the events conducted by AASL during the year.
Adding further he stated that athletes from all districts excluding Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi have confirmed their participation at this meet and 14 athletes from Jaffna district will fly today to Colombo spending their own money to compete at this meet.
Over 2,200 athletes from all parts of the country will be seen in action on these three days of competition. It is also interesting to note that nearly five hundred athletes from the liberated North and East competing under difficult conditions. Their participation here will show the talents what was kept aside from nearly three decades, and also give the AASL to find new poolists to undergo training for future international event.
The participation of these athletes from Northern and Eastern Provinces also could pave the way for high class competition which could also lower many existing records.
General Palitha also noted that this event will serve as a trial to pick athletes to undergo training as preparations for the Junior World Athletic Championships to be held in Italy in the near future.
We have to be prepared for the forthcoming South Asian Games to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 2010. Everyone in this country expect the athletes to bring in a large haul of medals from this games. Earlier too it was athletics that had the richest harvest of medals at SA Games. As such we have to be prepared to maintain this trend, he said.
The events will be worked for age groups of under - 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 23 for both sexes. He added that the meet is sure to bring in new talented athletes to the limelight.
Chairperson of Sri Lanka Telecom Mrs. Leisha de Silva Chandrasena addressing the media as the chief guest said that her organisation came forward to serve the athletes in a big way. This is one of the sports that most of the poor masses can participate. If they are given the right opportunity they will bring honour to the country.
Athletes in Sri Lanka has done the country proud by winning medals. They need the co-operation of all of us if we are to maintain our reputation in this sports, and she wished all the success for the meet.
Chairperson SLT will be the chief guest on the final day of the meet.