• Last Update 2021-06-14 19:23:00

NOC: Niluka Karunaratne adds his name to the Tokyo Olympic list

Sport

Olympian and veteran badminton player Niluka Karunaratne will be the fourth to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by name for Sri Lanka, joining Mathilda Karlsson (already fully qualified) Gymnast Milka Gehani and Shooter Tehani Egodawela. 

The chef-de-mission of the excursion will be NOC Sri Lanka Treasurer Gamini Jayasinghe.  

Chef-de-mission Jayasinghe said that unlike other Games the Covid-19 challenge has put an added responsibility upon the Lankan contingent. 

He said: "However Japan being one of the most technologically and medically advanced countries and most of its day-to-day life is going on unabated we can take some courage from the situation. As for the athletes who are competing at the Games this will be a beacon of hope. I reckon with the situation at hand our Lankans should perform to their true potential."
 
By far Karunaratne will be the most experienced and exposed in Olympic circles at the well-fortified Olympic Village as far Sri Lanka is concerned. 

Karunaratne, as the captain of the London Olympic 2012 Games on July 30, 2012, defeated world eighth-ranked Kenichi Tago of Japan 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) at the Wembley Arena. 

Then he also was featured at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

Prior to his departure speaking to the NOC Sri Lanka Media team Karuanratne, who had already retired from the Lankan National Badminton circus after winning its 17th consecutive title said "My next few weeks are very important to me. This gives me the opportunity to concentrate in my international badminton during this period before I think of calling it a day altogether. Yet, I feel that I have a real good chance of qualifying for the Olympic 2020."

Topping list will be equestrian Mathilda Karlsson, who bought a direct ticket for the Games on the weight of her legal battle which she won after she was downgraded on a technical point by the authorities. 

Gymnast - Milka Gehani - for the first time in the history of NOC Sri Lanka, the country managed to get a slot in Olympics which some of the other sports which have being there for a long time could not achieve. 

Another slot has been taken by Shooter Tehani Egodawela – Olympic Solidarity/IOC confirmed that a slot being allocated for her and NOC in consultation with President of Shooting Federation confirmed the acceptance of this slot thereby making sure we have a slot for shooting. 

Most likely there would be two slots allocated for swimming too. 

It would go to one male swimmer and one female swimmer. 

The most likely to fill this slot would be Matthew Abeysinghe Sri Lanka's most decorated swimmer and  Aniqah Gaffoor -- the female swimmer. 

The total budget of Rs.22 million will be allocated for the team consisted of 12 athletes in the initial stage. 

The NOC Sri Lanka contributes Rs.9.2 million, or 41.4% of the budget, with the Ministry of Sports contributing the remaining 58.7% of which 43% of the costs are related to Covid-19 expenses, airfare and accommodation costs for six journalists, VVIP accommodation, totalling Rs.5.7 million. 

There is also provision for horse transportation totalling Rs. 1 million, and another Rs. 400,000/- for shooting ammunition transport, among other things. 

"To clarify the current contingent of Sri Lanka at this moment, it is to be noted that one athlete for equestrian is qualified and five other invitation places are given for aquatics (2), shooting (1), and artistic gymnastics (1) and badminton (1). That is six athletes. For equestrian, you need a minimum of four people to support the athlete and the horse (groom, horse owner, veterinarian and coach/team Leader) and one coach for each sport. So that is 13, including athletes," the NOC statement said.
 
"Most of our athletes in athletics, wrestling, archery and judo are still undergoing training home and abroad to get qualified or to win invitations. Moreover, qualifiers for a number of sports are underway. Assume we get four slots for the aforementioned sports, which means four more athletes and four more coaches," it added.

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