CFSL looking for better future
Sri Lanka had sweet memories in cycling and the most recent addition
was at the recently concluded South Asian Games in Dhaka when the
versatile rider Janaka Hemantha of Sri Lanka Air Force won a gold medal
in the 170 kilometer road race. But the Cycling Federation of Sri
Lanka’s targets more and more. “Our target is to win medals at the 2014
Asian Games”, said the Secretary of Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka
Nishantha Indunil Piyasena who is also the Assistant Secretary to the
National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka.
When Morris Cumarawel represented Sri Lanka (Ceylon) at the 1960 Rome
Olympics, Sri lanka’s cycling reigned above most of the sports for Sri
Lanka at International level. In the late 60s, Trevor de Silva won a
bronze medal in track cycling at Bangkok Asian Games, proving that Sri
Lanka can make an impact in the Asian level. In 1989, Kamal Palitha was
placed seventh at the Asian Championships in India.
But the worst nightmare for Sri Lankan cycling struck when the Lankan
cyclists disappeared at the Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994.
Thereafter the Sri Lankan cyling faced a huge decline as the best
cyclist they had that time, were not there to serve the country. Sri
lanka was not given a chances to compete in many major events
But Sri Lanka is now on winning track again. The Cycling Federation
of Sri Lanka is already on the way to make a brilliant team in order to
fulfill the dream of winning a medal at the Asian Games in 2014.
“President CSFL Senior DIG K.P.P. Pathirana is well set for this
mission, and has been the key factor in making this a success” said
Nishantha who insists that Sri Lanka cycling has a lot more to gain from
“Apart from that main objective, CFSL has already focused on new
strategies in promoting, encouraging, supervising, controlling and
encouraging competitive cycling with other countries, participating in
International competitions and conducting National Championships” said
He insists that along with the development of the sport, there should
be good discipline among athletes and officials, self control, fair play
and the respect for rules. The safety, health and psychological
well-being are also three areas needed to be focused on, said Nishantha.
“As primary objectives, we target the Asian Cycling Championship
which is to be held in Dubai in April, Commonwealth Games in Delhi in
October and the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November this year. We hope
our cyclists will perform well at these events and thereafter we can
develop them to their extremes, for a medal at 2014 Asian Games.
The CFSL currently maintains their National Cycling pool based in
Anuradhapura, with the helping hand offered by the Air Vice Marshall
Roshan Goonathillake. National Coach Upali Ratnayake along with his two
assistant coaches Tuder Weerasuriya and Kamal Palitha, is already doing
their best to uplift the standard of Lankan cycling.
The plan is to maintain the pool cnsissting 12 men, six women riders
and three coaches with one lady chaperon at all times.
The current racing calendar of Sri Lanka provides enough exposure for
riders, mainly at Neth National Cycling Championship, Air Force Cycle
Tour and the Carlton Cycle Tour.
“It is called the poor man’s sport in Sri Lanka. But it is no more
the poor man’s sport. A single race costs around Rs. 15,000 per rider,
not forgetting bicycle which costs around Rs. 400,000. The training
sessions too, has to bare the same costs along with the costs for the
supply vehicle and crew which follows the riders.
Currently the CFSL bares expenses with funds from the Ministry of
Sports. As cycling is the best way to promote a brand, it will be a good
opportunity for a long term sponsor and that is what the CFSL is looking
for right now.