Olympic Day 2020 by NOC Sri Lanka
The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC Sri Lanka) organised its very first Virtual Olympic Day Celebrations at its headquarters on 23rd June underthe theme of “United to connect the sport actors and the global people by various phases.”
While this virtual concept was brought forward by Mr. B.L.H. Perera, Director for the Academic Programmes of the NOC Sri Lanka, celebrating the Olympic Day by uniting with international sports personnel was initiated by Mr. Maxwell de Silva, the Secretary General of the NOC Sri Lanka. As a result of this, without limiting these celebrations within the country, this time, the Sri Lankan Olympic Day was spread to Caribbean Islands where Mr. Brian Lewis, the President of Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee; Mr. Keith Joseph, General Secretary of the St Vincent
and the Grenadines Olympic Committee; Mr. Ephraim E. Penn, President of British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee, joined hands with the NOC Sri Lanka. From Caribbean Islands to Illinois where Dr. Mi Ryoung Chung, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism and from Illinois to Slovenia where Honorary consul of Sri Lanka in Slovenia Mr. Andrej Prebil and Mr. Damjan Pintar, Olympic Solidarity external expert for sport joined online. This route was expanded to Japan, where Mr. Hiroaki Matsushita, the Mayor of Sammu City joined us to express his views
and ideas with us.
In addition to this live connection, upon the suggestions of Mr. Maxwell de Silva to make this event more successful, video messages from International sports bodies were accumulated. For example, Mr. Marius Vizer - President of the International Judo Federation; Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita - IOC Member and the President of Japanese Olympic Committee; Mrs. Matlohang Moiloa- Ramoqopo - IOC Member and the President of Lesotho National Olympic Committee; Mr. Masatake Yamanaka - the President of Baseball Federation of Japan; Mr. Aki Murasatho - Executive Director of International Relations and NOC/NPC Services, and Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, joined to celebrate the Olympic Day together with Sri Lanka.
Thus, three and a half an hour programme including lighting the Olympic Torch, Tree Planting, Teqball Demonstration, 33 sport actors’ messages under three themes of ‘United by Education’, ‘United by Experience’, and ‘United by Talent’ around the globe, and guests’ speeches were live telecast on NOC Sri Lanka’s Facebook page via
Speaking to the audience in his welcome address, the President of NOC Sri Lanka Mr. Suresh Subramaniam said “The power of the Human Spirit is more relevant today, now, in a time where, an unprecedented calamity has befallen on us. Each of us hold the power to help humanity, steer away from the many perils that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust upon us.”
Besides, to make this Olympic Day 2020 significant NOC Sri Lanka launched another environmental sustainability programme – a tree planting campaign under the theme of “Plant a Tree for a New Lease of Life” (See Attachment - I). During the campaign from June 5 – 23, more than 300 trees were planted around the island by the athletes, sport actors and well-wishers. Some of our stakeholders living in Canada, USA, Indonesia and India were also part of the campaign.
All the planters were issued thank you cards and TreE-Certificates. So as to commemorate the Olympic Day 2020, NOC Sri Lanka planted a ‘Mi’ tree (Madhuca longifolia) - a special tree that provides more Oxygen to the atmosphere, in front of the headquarters. It was planted by His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador for Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama together with the President and Secretary General of NOC Sri Lanka and K.D.S. Ruwanchandra Secretary of Ministry of Sports.
In addition to the online Global interconnection, the NOC Sri Lanka was successful enough to get along with valuable international sport stakeholders by collecting a set of video messages to share with the youth and everyone in Sri Lanka and around the world. The key messages from those sport actors are quoted below and their full message can be viewed via the cited links on NOC Sri
Lanka’s YouTube Channel:
Mr. Marius Vizer, the President of the International Judo Federation mentioned that “In all this
period the International Judo Federation gets the family together establishing lot of activities on
For further information related to the above, please contact Mr. Maxwell de Silva, Secretary General of
NOC Sri Lanka, ‘National Olympic House’, 100/9F Independence Avenue, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka.
Email: email@example.com │ Tel: +94-11-268-4420 │ M: +94-72-410-4413 │ Web: www.olympic.lk
National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka
the social platform keeping the Judo members interactive…I am very pleased to have the good
collaboration between the Olympic family from Sri Lanka and sport family and the International
Judo Federation hoping us well that the Judo will grow up in the next period with the support of
Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita, IOC Member, the President of Japanese Olympic Committee stated that
“I believe that Olympic Games next year will be the symbol of our victory against the virus after
this long and dark time. I am hoping that many Sri Lankan athletes Japanese athletes will make
friends with each other next year...” [www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC8TefR0YXg&t=74s]
Mrs. Matlohang Moiloa- Ramoqopo, IOC Member, the President of Lesotho National Olympic
Committee said “We are all aware sports like other sectors has been greatly affected by the unique
circumstances caused by COVID-19. We are compelled therefore to pause and rethink our
“In these difficult times we need to constantly remind ourselves of the Olympic Values: Excellence,
Friendship, and Respect and share them with a word in our own way. I am positively impressed
with the way that Sri Lanka’s NOC is celebrating the Olympic day planting trees on effective and
nature based solutions to our climate change and it is closely related to sustainability which is
part of the Olympic Agenda 2020” Mr. Seung Min Ryu who is one of the IOC Members,
Pyeongchang 2018 Legacy Foundation President, and Korea Table Tennis Federation Executive
Board Member said. [www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk5c0Q_eoxA&t=3s]
Mr. Satoshi Matsui, the Mayor of Hashima City stated “In many occasions, Hashima City has
made various efforts to build up international relations with Sri Lanka, such as dispatching
athletics coaches and dispatching firefighting staff according to the request of Sri Lanka side…we
will continue to support the athletes of Sri Lanka as much as possible to achieve the best
performances in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020 as well.”
“To overcome this unprecedented crisis I think the sports managers need to focus on three things.
Number one increasing the ability to tolerate uncertainty…number two improving crisis management skills…number three strengthening international cooperation”, Prof. Joon-ho Kang,
Director of the Dream Together Master at Seoul National University in Republic of Korea said.
The celebrations this year were wrapped around the theme of unity. For this reason, the NOC Sri
Lanka connected the international stakeholders from diverse NOCs such as Trinidad and Tobago
Olympic Committee; St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee; British Virgin Islands
Olympic Committee, International Federations such as International Judo Federation; International
Teqball Federation, International Games Organizing Committees such as Tokyo Organizing
Committee of Olympic Games. Time difference never was a barrier to carry on these celebrations
amidst the COVID-19 threat. While participating in the Olympic Day Celebrations, these sports
celebrities shared various important messages of sports and Olympic Movement.
Mr. Brian Lewis said “All of us in the Olympic Movement you there in Sri Lanka we here in
Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean all over the world have a significant opportunity and
responsibility. We have not only to help our society - our communities - our countries - our people
but also to strive and overcome It is you in Sri Lanka to work together via sport and power of
Olympic Movement and Olympism to help your society your country your community not only to
survive COVID-19 and to survive and overcome…” [www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIHeF4aH9es]
Mr. Ephraim E. Penn pointed out that “No matter the size of the population the message of
Olympism is universal…”. [www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaWEI_vFXt0]
Mr. Keith Joseph mentioned that “…we look forward to the future with much optimism and with
great anticipation knowing that out of this pandemic we shall emerge stronger because the
experience enables us to strive in the spirit of the Olympic Games and how you can grow faster
and stronger…” [www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaBcWYCcUv0]
“We would like to create the practice facility that the athletes can practice safely and we would
like to make a little more MOU with National Olympic Committee” Mr. Hiroaki Matsushita said.
Mr. Andrej Prebil strongly said “Sports is extremely important in Slovenia sport many successful
athletes, among them the very enthusiastic and successful Judaists. We are honoured that we can
host sports preparations for two Judaists from Sri Lanka for the Olympic Games. This is the result
of long term work by Mr. Damjan Pintar and my support to him.”
Mr. Damjan Pintar stated “in the time of COVID…we have decided not only to work direct but we
developed mobile app…which will be easier support for long distant training. Hopefully we will
see you again back in our country.” [www.youtube.com/watch?v=04yzK6YYozg]
“…As more in now than ever being physical and mentally healthy has become a priority, so make
sure you do a lot of physical activity and the younger generation is also taking part in that…”, Dr.
Mi Ryoung Chung said. [www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaQ3jZYSxec]
Respecting the tradition and symbolising the Olympic Movement, the occasion of lighting the
Olympic Flame was taken place with seven athletes in attendance. Having followed the health
guidelines, Torch was lit by Mr. Gamini Jayasinghe, Treasurer of NOC Sri Lanka and was handed
over to the torch bearer Indika Dissanayake, who won a silver medal in weightlifting at the XXI
Commonwealth Games in 2018. Thereafter, the Torch was passed hand in hand between the
athletes, ruggerite Dansha Dayan who is the former Captain of Rugby 7’s and then to sprinter
Shehan Ambeypitiya who was one of leading athletes of Sri Lanka. Thereafter, the flame was
passed to Sumedha Ranasinghe OLY who took part in Rio 2016 in athletics and Hansani Gomas
who brought a bronze medal in weightlifting at the XXI Commonwealth Games and became the
first Sri Lankan woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal. Thereafter, the flame was handed
over to the legendary Summa Navaratnam and Susanthika Jayasinghe - only one living Olympic
medalist in Sri Lanka. Finally, the flame was received from the athletes and kept on the cauldron
by Mr. Suresh Subramaniam - President and Mr. Maxwell de Silva - Secretary General of NOC
Delivering a keynote address to the audience, Mr. B.L.H. Perera the Director of Academic
Programme in NOC Sri Lanka mentioned that “you become an athlete, you learn to take up
challenges, you learn to take up difficulties, you learn to take up winning, that’s what
Karunananda did…already 50 years have gone, Karunananda is remembered in Japan. Not only
in the Olympic circle; young kids are also given the opportunity to respect this person for what he
has done – That’s Olympism.”
Under the three pillars of Olympic Day - Move, Learn and Discover a new sport - Teqball was
introduced. Following the teqball introductory message delivered by Mr. Marius Vizer Jr, GeneralSecretary of FITEQ, teqball was demonstrated by the Teq Lankans.
This time NOC Sri Lanka interconnected North, South, Central, West, and East provinces through
various activities. They were involved in physical activities and tree plantation in order to celebrate
this remarkable day.
Under the theme of ‘United by Talent’, Sri Lanka’s leading athletes voiced during the live telecast.
They have shared their views of what they can achieve by engaging in sports.
Following a patriotic song for Sri Lanka performed by Sri Lanka’s first rhythmic Gymnast to
represent Sri Lanka on the international stage Anna-Marie Ondaatje and her sister, the key man
behind this big event’s huge success – Mr. Maxwell de Silva, Secretary-General of NOC Sri Lanka
concluded the celebration with a vote of thanks.
In addition to the live events on June 23, NOC Sri Lanka came up with another strategical idea of
spreading Olympism and Olympic Day celebration using the social media influencers under the
theme of ‘United by Media’. A some of 28 Social Media Ambassadors (SMA) were selected (See
Attachment - II), three of them were from Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Iran. The SMAs have been
fully engaged in promoting the Olympic values over two weeks prior to the Celebrations (June 10
- 23) in many ways such as conducted an online open quiz competition, island-wise poem
competition, workout videos, live interview, articles, tree plantation campaign, and sharing the
posts from NOC Sri Lanka’s Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – 10-day countdown
flyers and videos, flyers of the speakers, etc. All the SMAs were issued appreciation e-certificates
and Olympic Day T-shirts as complement. And the best five SMAs were selected for NOC Sri
Lanka’s future event promotions. Countdown videos could be watched via
As a service to our readers, Around the Rings will provide verbatim texts of selected press releases issued by Olympic-related organizations, federations, businesses and sponsors.
These press releases appear as sent to Around the Rings and are not edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation.
25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only