2019 South Asian Games to commence in Nepal today
2019-12-01 at 07:13
The 2019 South Asian Games, the biggest multi-sporting event in the region, will get underway in Nepal today.
The 13th South Asian Games takes place in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and will feature athletes from all eight SAARC member countries until the 10th of December.
More than 5,000 delegates, including 3,250 athletes will take part in the regional showcase which will feature 26 sports.
Hosts Nepal will field a team of 597 in all 26 sports comprising 313 male and 284 female athletes.
The Sri Lankan contingent includes 568 athletes who will feature in 26 different sports.
The 2019 SAARC games will offer 319 gold and silver medals to the champions while, 481 athletes will receive the bronze medal.
The highest number of gold medals, 38, has been allocated for swimming events.
Winners of the athletics and taekwondo events will receive 36 and 29 gold medals respectively.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is aiming to claim at least 35 gold medals at the 13th SAARC games.
Speaking to media from Nepal, the Director General of the Department of Sports Development Dammika Muthugala said the Lankan delegation faced numerous obstacles in Nepal.
He said the swimming team will arrive in the country only today as the construction of the swimming facilities are yet to be completed.
He said authorities have not completed and cleared the construction of several facilities slated be used at the games.
While expressing his disappointment pertaining to the organizing of the games, Dammika said such obstacles will not deter the team from working towards its target.
He said temperatures in Nepal are a challenge to athletes, but noted that the Lankan contingent underwent training in high altitude environments, in Diyathalawa and Nawalapitya and acclimatized ahead of the games.
He said the Sri Lankan contingent is focused on bringing the maximum number of medals from Nepal during the next 10 days.