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In times of crisis: Sri Lankan athletes in CWG remember 20km walk for training

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BIRMINGHAM, July 27 (PTI): Athletes of the Sri Lankan contingent here for the Commonwealth Games may not be the favourites to get a medal but considering they have made the journey amid the economic and political crisis back home, it already feels like a win for them.
Sri Lanka has been grappling with an economic crisis and political unrest for months with people facing acute shortages of commodities.

The eight-member Sri Lanka basketball team here for the Games has overcome all possible odds to make the trip.

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Women’s team captain Chalani, who works in a bank for a living, remembered her travails back home which included 20km daily walk to the training centre in Colombo.

“As players we are mentally very strong. The current situation back home has been extremely difficult but it has made us stronger. We faced a great number of difficulties in getting here and now it feels really great that we are here,” the 23-year-old told PTI.

She has a job but even then, it is not an easy time for her.

“So, I used to walk 20km in a day. Five kilometer was office to home, then 10km from home to bus stop near the training centre and then 5km to reach there. It has been extremely tough,” said Chalani, who started playing basketball as an 11-year-old.

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Chalani knows what her country needs to do to get out of this mess but she rather keeps her political opinions to herself.

The team is coached by Ajit Kurruppu who feels his squad has prepared in the best possible manner despite the unforeseen set of challenges.

Men’s team member Brent Arnold, a 23-year-old student, said he used to walk 11-12km four times in a week to do practice.  

“It is rare for an athlete to walk so much but had no choice. It has been tough but athletes never give up and that is what I tell the other players in the team. We are here to win a medal and make our country proud.”

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People have had to wait in their cars for ‘days’ to get fuel, summing up the grim situation in the island nation.

The focus has been firmly on training despite the hurdles.

“We came here on July 25th and it has been good so far. The weather is cooler compared to back home and we are getting used to it. The facilities have been great too,” Arnold added.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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