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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Three more Sri Lankan athletes go missing in Europe amid currency crisis

Passport of Sri Lanka on white background

ECONOMYNEXT – Three more Sri Lankan athletes – this time, wrestlers attending the Under 23 World Wrestling Championship in Spain – have gone missing, sports officials said.

Two members of the all-male six-member team had disappeared on October 22, followed by the third sportsman the next day, an official for Sri Lanka Wrestling Federation said, requesting anonymity.

This is the latest in a series of disappearing acts pulled by Sri Lankan athletes in Europe. Previously, nine athletes and one official went missing during the Commonwealth Games 2022 in early August.

In an interesting twist, however, this time, the Spanish authorities appeared largely unconcerned about the missing Sri Lankans, according to the wrestling official.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst currency crisis in decades, and runaway inflation and a host of other issues are compelling young Sri Lankan men and women to find better prospects abroad, legally or otherwise.

Investigations into this Spanish vanishing act are underway, regardless, and Sri Lankan officials plan to talk to the families of the missing wrestlers in the coming days in the hope of establishing contact and making sure that they are still in Spain.

Wrestling Federation officials that went to Spain with the team had alerted Spanish authorities the moment they went missing.

“They had visas till October 25, 2022,” the official said.

Passports of two of the players are still with the officials, who customarily hold onto athletes’ passports, but the other athlete’s passport is nowhere to be found.

“We suspect the passport was taken from the official personnel bag before deserting the team,” the official said.

Athletes are permitted to carry their passport on their person into the stadium for any legal clearance that may be needed when athletes are weighed before a tournament.

Spanish authorities did not show much interest in finding the deserters, the official claimed.

“We informed the police immediately, but they said the missing players can take refuge in the country and may be able to find jobs as long as they are not involved in any criminal activity,” the official said.

“The players sign a bond before they’re to tournaments abroad. If they are unable to contact us through their parents or families, legal action can be taken against them.”

“When permission is given to these athletes we get the recommendations from a few places, such as the federation of the relevant sport, the Sports Selection Committee and the Sports Council,” I P Wijeratne, Director of Sports, Sport Development Department, told EconomyNext on Thursday October 27.

“I think a thorough background check must be done even when selecting the players in order to minimise this issue,” he said.

Since the disappearance of the three wrestlers, the Sports Ministry has stopped all outbound sports tours for the time being.

“More attention should be given to this matter by the committees,” said Wijeratne, adding that recently it was discovered that that powerlifters had been selected for an upcoming sumo wrestling tournament, which was later cancelled.

“These sort of issues can harm the selection process, and it can cost an opportunity to athletes that genuinely represent the country and want to win.”

Asked about the progress into investigations over the athletes that went missing at the Commonwealth Games, Wijeratne said the Sport Development Department has yet to receive any information on the whereabouts of the missing athletes.

“The Sports Offences Prevention Unit has been tasked with compiling a report on the matter,” he said. (Colombo/Oct27/2022)

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  1. maithri says:

    ඔහොම පනින අය කලින් සැලසුම් කරල එන්නේ .එයාලගේ පොටෝ එකක් දැම්මනම් සොයන්න පුලුවන්.

  2. emilyjoack says:

    First, find our stolen money by the economic criminals’ then the missing athletes will be back in the country

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  1. maithri says:

    ඔහොම පනින අය කලින් සැලසුම් කරල එන්නේ .එයාලගේ පොටෝ එකක් දැම්මනම් සොයන්න පුලුවන්.

  2. emilyjoack says:

    First, find our stolen money by the economic criminals’ then the missing athletes will be back in the country

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“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

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There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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