Lanka gymnast Anna-Marie to compete without coach | Daily News

Lanka gymnast Anna-Marie to compete without coach

Canadian-born Sri Lanka artistic gymnast Anna-Marie Ondaatje was the last foreign-based athlete to arrive for the XXII Commonwealth Games on Monday.

Ironically, she will be without a manager or coach for a major competition for the first time because National Olympic Committee officials dragged their feet when requests were made to get accreditation for her second coach Anastasia Shaykherieva back in May after her main coach Svetlana Joukova was appointed by the international gymnastic federation FIG to judge for the Commonwealth Games.

NOC conveyed to Anna-Marie's father Alistair Ondaatje on July 31 that since they had a very limited number of (technical officials) and nothing could be done at the DRM (Delegate Registration Meeting) which was held on July 23.

However, Dom Elsom, Sports Competition Manager - Gymnastics, at the Games, informed Alistair on July 20 “SRI's Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM) hasn't happened yet. So they have time to make the request.” In another email Elsom said: "I know that the accreditation application deadline has passed, CGAs (Commonwealth Games Associations) are now going through their DRMs. Although it does confirm accreditations etc, a CGA ALO may still request additional accreditations. And often these requests are accepted. I believe this can be fast tracked, but it would require Team SRI to act swiftly to make the request."

The only response from NOC was whether Anna-Marie was going to stay in the Village or not.

"Yes, Miss Anna-Marie Ondaatje will be staying in the Commonwealth Games Athlete village as we had planned originally. She will arrive in the Games village on Monday, July 1st, 2022 afternoon. She has been looking forward to this day to come to be around our team, Sri Lanka!" her father replied.

However, Alistair Ondaatje vented out his frustration at Sri Lanka's sports authorities at the treatment meted out after inviting foreign-based athletes to represent the country. "Regarding accreditation for a second coach. I'm quite aware of all possibilities after corresponding regarding this matter with the FIG, IOC, and CGA ALO the international bodies about what's possible and what is not possible.

At last, I'm not looking for any special favours because I'm able to pay my bills. Sadly I couldn't imagine the mental torture our local children (Athletes) are faced with going back and forth wasting time instead. Some of the people involved in providing a service in some departments just do not look at it in a positive way. Not only in this matter but also in other areas I have been given a negative look because there is no documentation provided with questions and answers (Q&A). Coincidentally in some areas, there is a lack of transparency!!!

Oh dear, it has been tough for me to attend to just one athlete's work while having access to privileges to coordinate most of these issues. But I feel so sad for those who are unable to face this situation. Facts are stubborn, they will take their own course to correct."

NOC officials were not immediately available for comment.


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