No Divisional Competitions for school goers from 2017

by Reemus Fernando

The Divisional Competitions, one of the basic competitions of the schools sports programme, will be scraped from the sports itinerary from 2017. The Ministry of Education has taken the decision to reduce the work load of the school athletes and its staff and provide more opportunities for athletes to train.

"We have drafted a five year plan to improve the standard of sports. The five year plan will be introduced soon. The new plan provides for school athletes to dedicate more time for training and time spent necessarily on sports fields will be reduced," Sunil Jayaweera, the special sports adviser to the Minister of Education told ‘The Island’ in an interview on Wednesday.

According to the new plan, school children will first compete at Zonal events before advancing to the Provincial and All Island competitions.

For years, schools sportsmen and women first took part in Divisional competitions before competing in Zonal, Provincial and All Island Schools Games.

"School children and our staff spend some six months taking part and conducting Divisional, Zonal, Provincial and All Island Schools Games. They spend one and half months for each competition. Then there are three months of school holidays. Where do you have the time to train? Scraping of the Divisional competitions will help save time. And we have also introduced a new plan to reduce the time spent on Zonal, Provincial and All Island Schools Games. By doing so, we will have more time for training," said Jayaweera.

According to the new plan, all Zonal competitions have to be completed within 15 days and Provincial competitions too will have to be completed within an equal number of days.

In reply to queries, Jayaweera said that conducting competitions within such a short period of time was possible as the Ministry of Education has provided the staff with the knowledge of conducting the competitions within short periods of time.

"We will set an example by conducting the All Island Schools Games within two weeks. There will be over 37,000 school children taking part in 29 sports during the All Island Schools Games in 2017. We will conduct the championships from October 2 to 15," said Jayaweera.

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