Integrated sports system needed for Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Integrated sports system needed for Sri Lanka

25 October, 2020

When one examines the successful sports systems around the world, it becomes apparent that not only do they function on democratic principles, but they are closely integrated with various cognate within the government.

Sri Lanka, in its efforts to develop and implement a sports system, would be well advised to follow the countries which are currently leaders in the field. Therefore the establishment of a democratically based sports system is essential; and at the same time, key links must be forged with the areas of Education, Health, Tourism and Youth Affairs. If these objectives can be achieved, an effective sports system can be developed. In addition, a more important outcome will also occur for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and that is that sport will act as a “vehicle for nation building”.

Strategic Objectives

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Sports, when reviewing the role it should play in the future development of the country, should utilize the basic values which are clearly demonstrated in sport and use them as a vehicle for nation building. The concept recognizes that health and education, as well as social and ethical values, are inherent in sport. Furthermore, sport fosters social cohesion and national pride, while at the same time contributing to the well-being of a country’s citizens. In addition, sport has key links with four areas which are crucial to national development: these are health, education, tourism and youth affairs.

See Figure –(Sport as a Vehicle for Nation Building)

In relation to health, it should be realized that wide participation in fitness and sports programs is essential when it comes to building a healthy nation. Active citizens need less medical intervention than inactive ones, thereby reducing the nation’s expenditure on curative medicine.

In the field of Education, the potential for Health Education, Physical Education and Sport to build a solid foundation with relation to health consciousness, ethical values, leadership and teamwork among Sri Lankan youth, is important. It is necessary to understand that these young people are the “foundation” of the nation’s future and need to be well educated in the above areas.

Tourism associated to sport and recreation is currently a large foreign income earner in many countries. The Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Tourism in Sri Lanka should recognize the potential which this industry has, by promoting Sports Events Tourism, as well as using Sri Lanka’s natural recreational facilities to attract tourists to the country.

If one takes an holistic view, the mission of the Ministry of Sports can be seen as far wider than the mere development of sport itself. Its responsibilities are thus broadened to enable sport to become a national catalyst, which will harness the cognate fields mentioned above, into a nation building endeavour.

In order to realise this vision, sport can truly act as a binding force. The task of the Ministry therefore will relate to the building of a sports system which will promote democracy, social equality, social cohesion and ethical values. In this way, the sports system will act as a vehicle for nation building.

(The writer is a former long and triple jump National champion, Master of HRM and Master of Professional Sports Mgt. (PSMA-USA) and US Certified Fitness Trainer, Coach and Consultant)

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