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Minister dispenses poetic justice

Discipline should always come first. Be it in sports or otherwise, discipline is a vital ingredient in making a complete person.

In sports, discipline is one of the most important aspects which all competitors should have. That would also enable them to strategically overcome their opponents. You may be the most versatile player with inborn talent but if you are not disciplined that would not help you to sharpen your skills. In short, discipline makes a significant contribution in making champions.

The Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation (SLVF) has taken a stern decision against the captain, coach and players of the Sri Lanka women’s volleyball team for misbehaving during their recent nine-nation tournament in Vietnam. They have been banned following an appalling case of misbehaviour.

The male coach of the Lankan women’s volleyball team, Aruna Shantha has been banned for ten years from taking part in any activity relating to the sport. Sri Lanka skipper Chandima Akarawita has been removed from captaincy for a two-year period. The duo have been found guilty of a serious breach of discipline.

The Lankan national coach Shantha was found guilty of breaching the rules by allegedly being in the room of a female player. Akarawita lost her status due to an alleged “unacceptable relationship with a teammate, who was severely warned.

Lady chaperone Rangika Udawatte too was severely warned for failing to discharge her duties properly and maintain discipline.

President of the Volleyball Federation and Justice Minister Dilan Perera should be commended for taking that bold decision. A ‘no nonsense’ man who shows a genuine interest to promote the national sport, Minister Perera has set an example by being firm on this matter.

The governing body for Volleyball took those tough disciplinary actions last weekend after Minister Perera threatened to step down if the officials fail to take strict action against those who have misbehaved.

Stressing the importance of maintaining discipline at all times, Minister Perera appointed a high-profile committee which has recommended the bans after investigating the allegations.

Everybody who values discipline should also commend the bold decisions of the committee comprising Rohan Somawansa, SSP Priyantha Jayakody, Mahinda Bandara, K. Jayatissa and Amaradasa Liyanage, who have also recommended ten rules and regulations for coaches.

We cannot care for big names when it comes to discipline. One may be the most experienced or versatile player in the team but when it comes to discipline all are governed by the same rules that governs even the babe of the side.

The Volleyball Federation’s decision should be a good eye opener to all. It has been taken in good faith and would hold to discipline players on future tours. That would also help to increase performance of our players on future tours.

Minister Dilan Perera and his team, led by Vice President Bandara Herath, have been working hard to uplift the standard of Sri Lanka volleyball. It’s the duty of all who love the national sports to rally round them and make their own contributions forgetting personal differences.

There is a significant improvement in the domestic competition structure. Our players now get more opportunities to compete at different levels. Still, there is room for improvement.

Most youth who take to Volleyball are not from the elite class. Many of them are from rural families but only have their talent to offer. Hence, it is important to have a long-term plan to identify raw talent and groom them for future.

Different levels of pools - national, intermediate and junior, should be maintained in a systematic and organised manner. One cannot run national pools just for the sake of doing so. All needs of the poolists should be looked into.

Especially the members of the national pool should be given all possible assistance. Their employment and grievances should be looked into. That is how we could keep them in a good frame of mind. That would make way for the players to make 100% devotion and commitment to their assignments.

Volleyball is a sport which could easily be played in any corner of the island with minimum infrastructure facilities. Hence, we can find enough and more raw talent in villages.

There should be a long-term plan to get down those talented students to popular schools in the main cities and afford them an opportunity to sharpen their skills.

Their progress should be closely monitored through a development programme and once they leave school, they should be absorbed into an intermediate pool, which could serve as the feeder pool to Sri Lanka national team.

Having Minister Perera is a blessing as most of these projects could be implemented through his good office. We appreciate the keen interest shown by the Minister but that alone is not going to take our volleyball to greater heights.

All those who are involved in volleyball should forget their personal differences and petty club politics and work for the betterment of the game. That is the only way we could look for our rightful place in the Asian Volleyball arena.

 

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