- Govt. Aims Ban At National Level
By Maryam Azwer
A committee has been appointed to look into the possibility of issuing a ban on competitive sports at the national level for children under 13 years of age.
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said discussions to introduce this policy follows complaints and requests from principals of schools and parents.
Minister Aluthgamage also cited the physical toll competitive sports took on young children as a reason to discuss such a policy.
He said that when engaged in competitive sports, children were often put under a lot of pressure by their coaches, and this was not healthy for young children. “Coaches try to get the maximum from small children. There is a proposal and a big request to the Ministry to stop competitive sports for children under 13 years,’’ he said.
‘’We had a meeting with (sports) federations and principals, and everybody is in agreement. At this age there is a limit to what these children can produce,” said Aluthgamage.
If implemented, the ban would come as “a policy to all schools,” said the Minister, stressing that this did not necessarily mean children would not be involved in competitive sports at all. “We are not going to stop their participation in sports. They can still have friendly matches, and matches at district and divisional levels – but there will be no national tournaments for certain competitive sports, such as swimming.”
Other sports that may make the list are rugby and cricket, said the Minister. However, he added that there was no specific list of sports likely to come under the ban yet, as the issue was still under discussion.