All fifteen veteran athletes who have been selected to represent Sri Lanka at the 2023 World Masters Indoor Championships in Torun, a city in Poland, have not been given visas to participate in the tournament.
Sources close to them revealed to Lankasara that these players have found the sponsors and have also made hotel reservations for their stay in Poland, but the denial of visas has left them in the lurch with sheer disappointment.
This tournament in Torun, Poland, started on March 26 and ended yesterday (March 31). The Sri Lankan team had made the necessary arrangements to travel for the athletic meet last week and had made hotel reservations at their own expense. Some players have spent more than 300,000 rupees from their personal funds, and it is said that the Polish immigration authorities have not taken steps to grant visas to some players even after they cited private sponsors to facilitate their travel to Poland.
Simultaneously, a group of veterans who were hoping to participate in a master athletics tournament held in Australia a few weeks ago were not given visas, and a player who was hoping to participate told Lankasara that this situation has placed the athletes in a disadvantageous position.
The reason for not granting visas from these countries is because of the suspicion that these players would not return; however, there has been no diplomatic intervention on behalf of the players to confirm their return to Sri Lanka from the country concerned.
The underlying reason is that it was due to a tug-of-war between two elite sports associations in Sri Lanka.
Apparently, the athletes did not receive the necessary support from the Sri Lanka Athletics Association. Neither the sports minister nor the relevant authorities are aware of this problem.
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