16 contracted players to stay home? SL Women’s Rugby Team not featured in Asian Games draw SLR to fund discarded lionesses

Published : 9:10 am  July 9, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (204) reads | 

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Action from a Women’s rugby match (File photo)
Pradeep Dilrukshana

 

By Harsha Amarasinghe 

The Sri Lanka Women’s Rugby Team is facing the prospects of missing out on taking part in the Rugby Sevens of the Asian Games scheduled to be held from August 30 to September 1 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The National Women’s Team were to take part in the Asian Games but their name did not appear in the official draw as Asia Rugby announced the pools for the Asian Games on Friday which has put the island’s participation in serious doubt.


Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) Secretary Nazim Mohamed however, stated that they are hoping to send the team amid the chaotic surroundings.


“When it comes to such high profile tournaments, the Ministry of Sports is funding only the teams which have clear opportunity to secure a medal. I have been told by unofficial sources that the country’s Women’s Rugby Team has not been included in the Asian Games Sevens Rugby Tournament draw, but we are working extremely hard to send them to this event,” Mohamed told  yesterday.


 can confirm that the Ministry of Sports are paying a monthly salary of Rs. 30, 000 for the 16 contracted Women’s rugby players since November 2017, but then are not willing to fund them to take part in the Asian Games where they could showcase their talents. 


South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) are the premier sponsor of Sri Lanka Women’s rugby and the  understands that they had signed a contract worth Rs. 3 million in 2017. 


According to sources close to the SLR the two parties have agreed on a Rs. 8 million contract for 2018 which leaves everyone confused as to why the sponsorship money could not be spent on this tournament. “The sponsorship money is not enough to send our Women’s Team for this tournament and most probably SLR will bear the expenses,” added the former Sri Lanka player. All the athletes who are taking part in the Asian Games are provided free accommodation and food which means the budget for this event comes down to the return air tickets.  It is also hard to understand why the sponsorship money could not be spent on this event.


Mohamed further stated that the National Olympic Committee (NOC) are set to contact the organisers of the Asian Games in a last minute attempt to include the Women’s Team.


However, it must be understood that most of the Women’s rugby players have come from very humble backgrounds and some of them have never been on tours which is the reason why the administrators not being able to send them to Jakarta would be a huge letdown.


Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Men’s Rugby Team will take part in the Asian Games as they have been included in Group ‘C’ along with South Korea and United Arab Emirates.