|AASL finds two major sponsors for Asian Grand Prix
The efforts of top athletes have not only brought them rewards but also given the
mercantile sector enough confidence to extend its support with a view of making Sri Lanka
the hub of Asian sports.
In one such instance, Dankotuwa Porcelain and SriLankan Airlines joined hands with the
Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) to extend support for the historic second leg of
the second Asian Grand prix meet, to be held at the Sugathadasa Stadium on June 1.
'We can have the best athletes in the world but if do not have money to nurture those
budding athletes, there is no point,' said Sports Minister Johnston Fernando on Tuesday
addressing a function in Colombo at which the event sponsors were officially announced..
'I extend by greatest appreciation for both sponsors who have come forward to support this
endeavour,' Fernando said.
The minister himself granted a sum of RS. 3.8 million from Sports Ministry funds to foster
district development camps. Five hundred and eleven budding athletes, selected by AASL,
will follow extensive training at these camps.
'We don't expect all 511 athletes to become Susanthikas or Sugath Tilekaratnes, but
definitely we can find at least one,' Minister Fernando said, adding that the ministry
would support the activities of the AASL.
'This is the first step we have taken towards creating a second or maybe third or fourth
strings of athletes to replace the ageing seniors in the country. I am sure in two years'
time we will have few Susanthikas, Darshas, and Sugaths,' said AASL president Sunil
Over 180 top athletes from all over Asia will be seen in action at the Colombo Asian Grand
Prix meeting, the first ever Grand Prix meet to be held in Sri Lanka. It will be worked
off under lights at Sugathadasa Stadium on June 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. The 2003 Asian Grand
Prix Series will comprise four meets in India (Hyderabad/May 28), Sri Lanka (Colombo/June
1), Thailand (Bangkok/June 5) and Philippines (Manila /June 9).
Kithsiri Wijesundara, CEO Dankotuwa Porcelain, said that the company would continue to
support sporting activities at the highest level, as it would help bring people of all
'When Susanthika was running at the Sydney Olympics 2000 all Sri Lankans supported her
without any difference. It doesn't matter who she is or what race she belonged to. What
matters is the country, and the patriotic feeling of being a Sri Lankan. So we will
continue to support the sporting activities of the country,' Wijesundara said.
Chandana De Silva, Head of Corporate Communications, said that SriLankan Airlines would be
right behind the AASL and would continue to extend its support in future as well.