The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka will receive Chinese support as they prepare for next year’s South Asian Games in Nepal.
Following a deal with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), Sri Lankan athletes will be hosted and trained at no cost.
COC President Gou Zhongwen made the commitment following a meeting with Sri Lankan counterpart Suresh Subramaniam in Beijing.
Nepal will be hosting the 2019 edition of the South Asian Games in Kathmandu.
Gou has also pledged to help Sri Lanka build more sporting facillities.
“China will help train our athletes in every sport we take part in at the South Asian Games and the offer is starting right now,” said Subramaniam.
“We have to pick the athletes and they will be trained in Beijing and other cities in China at no cost to us.
“All we have to pay for is the airfare of the athletes.”
Sri Lanka won 186 medals at the last South Asian Games in Guwahati and Shillong in India, finishing second on the medal table behind the hosts.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Pakistan also compete.
“It is a massive and unprecedented step, something Sri Lanka has never seen before,” Subramaniam added.
“I’m very grateful to the Chinese sporting authorities for offering us a helping hand.
“We have the talent, but have often lacked the technical proficiency, and this offer will help us surmount that obstacle.”
Gou spoke about the link-up to Chinese media.
“We are willing to work with Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral sports exchanges and cooperation, open sports facilities to Sri Lanka, dispatch coaches and help Sri Lanka develop sports,” he said. (Courtesy insidethegames)