International swimmers flock to Sri Lanka for nationals


Kandy, Dec 24, Sun: In a historic move, the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) is set to host the National Short Course Swimming Championship, featuring international swimmers for the first time. The event, taking place from December 26 to 30 at the Hillwood College Swimming Complex in Kandy, promises to be a milestone for Sri Lankan swimming.

The initiative has already made an impact in the sports tourism sector, with significant spending reaching millions of USD and 30 players and more than 100 tourists, along with their families, have flocked to the Hill Capital. The excitement kicked off with practice sessions in the Hillwood College pool starting from December 23.

Notably, a draw has been introduced, bringing in international swimmers and elevating the National Swimming Championship to new heights. This move not only diversifies the competition but also plays a crucial role in promoting sports tourism in Sri Lanka.

With an overwhelming response of over 1,000 entries from 52 aquatic clubs and schools across Sri Lanka, the Short Course Nationals are set to feature around 300 swimmers in the five-day event. SLASU President Major General Manada Yahampath expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, “This is a novel concept for SLASU. Our vision is to bring foreign players to every SLASU-conducted meet in the future, significantly impacting sports tourism and fostering competitiveness among our local swimmers.”

The impact is already visible, as more than 30 players, accompanied by over 100 tourists, including parents and relatives, have arrived in Sri Lanka, contributing significantly to sports tourism expenditures. Foreign swimmers commenced their practice sessions in the Hillwood College pool on December 23, creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.

Commenting on this historic development, the General Secretary of SLASU Mahinda Liyanage stated, “The Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union has made a significant contribution to the Sri Lankan economy. This marks the first instance of such a large number of international participants in Sri Lanka’s Swimming Nationals. Going forward, we aim to continue inviting international swimmers to our national events.”

Adding an international flavor to the event, Sri Lankan swimmers training in the USA, UK, and UAE have also joined the Nationals. Despite the success, SLASU is still in search of a sponsor for their hosted tournaments, highlighting the need for support in future events.

Maldives Swimming Team at Hillwood College Swimming Pool
The Maldives National Swimming Team strikes a pose at the Hillwood College Swimming Pool in Kandy.
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