Cooray cherishes appointment as Olympics flag bearer

"There was an attempt to appoint a wild card entrant as captain"


by Reemus Fernando

Marathoner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray said that he felt dejected after hearing that there was an attempt to appoint a wild-card entrant as the captain of Sri Lanka’s Olympic team but now he was proud after sanity prevailed.

He said that he felt proud and happy after hearing the news of his appointment as the flag bearer of the nine-member team for the Rio Olympics in an interview with The Island from Nairobi on Tuesday.

Cooray who broke the four-decade old national marathon record of S.L.B. Rosa last year to qualify for his third Olympics said that he very much cherished the honour of leading the team in Rio.

The UK based marathoner broke Rosa’s record when he clocked two hours 13 minutes and 47 seconds to finish 14th in the London Marathon in 2015.

"I felt dejected when I heard that the NOC had decided to award the captaincy to a wild-card entrant. That was a couple of weeks back. But when I was told that I had been appointed the captain I felt proud," said Cooray who had been engaged in athletics for more than two decades.

Cooray said that he notified the Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara of officials’ attempt to appoint a wild-card as the captain when he phoned him to find out how he was training.

"I have engaged in athletics for more than two decades now. I feel honoured to be appointed the captain. I think the sports minister has intervened on this occasion," said Cooray.

The National Olympic Committee said on Tuesday that Cooray has been appointed the flag bearer of the nine member Sri Lanka contingent for the Rio Olympics. Maxwell de Silva, the secretary of the NOC said that the decision to appoint Cooray was taken by a committee comprising of NOC chief Hemasiri Fernando, Deva Henry, Gamini Jayasinghe and himself.

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