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Last updated: 14 August, 2011 - Published 12:10 GMT
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SL calls for foreign athletics coaches

An artist's view of London Olympic Village
Not a single sports personnel from Sri Lanka is qualified to take part in London Olympics
Following several star sportsmen been banned for abuse of drugs Sri Lanka has called for foreign coaches to prepare athletes and other sports personal for international events as such as Olympics.

National Olympic Committee (NOC) head Hemasiri Fernando's call comes as it emerges that not a single athlete is so far qualified for London 2012 Olympics that begins in July, next year.

The sports ministry, meanwhile, has appointed a team of athletics coaches under national athletics coaching advisor, Yogananda Wijesundara.

Sajin Jayalal, Sunil Gunawardana, Derwin Perera, UK Kularatne, AJ Rodrigo and Gamini Disanayake have been appointed for the team.

"There needs to be an immediate programme to train Sri Lankan coaches under foreign coaches," Hemasiri Fernando told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya, a sentiment echoed by the national athletics coaching advisor.

'Forget 2012'

"It is the trainer who should be developed first, if our sportsperson are to reach international standards," advisor Wijesundara told BBC Sandeshaya.

 Forget about 2012. We can now focus on 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. We all know that you can't win an Olympic medal after training for few months
NOC chief, Hemasiri Fernando

As not a single sports personnel has been qualified for 2012 Olympics, the NOC head said, it may be too late to take remedial action for the London event.

"Forget about 2012. We can now focus on 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

We all know that you can't win an Olympic medal after training for few months," said Mr Fernando.

It is still possible for the sportsmen and women in Sri Lanka to qualify for London Olympics until 01 June 2012. It is also expected that the island nation will be offered one or two chances under the 'wild card' system.

"2012 horse has already fled away. What is need is to begin focusing on 2016 from now on," said the NOC chief adding that sports cannot be developed only by renovating or building new stadiums.

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