Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 25, 2020: The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka organised its historic first virtual Olympic Day celebrations at its headquarters on June 23 with the theme of connecting sports personalities at home and around the world.
While this virtual concept was brought forward by Mr B.L.H. Perera, Director for Academic Programmes of NOC Sri Lanka, celebrating Olympic Day by uniting with international sports personnel was initiated by Mr Maxwell de Silva, NOC Secretary General.
As a result of this, the Sri Lankan Olympic Day involved NOCs and sports figures around the world including Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Illinois, Slovenia and Japan.
There was also a series of video messages from international sports bodies such as Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation; Yasuhiro Yamashita, IOC Member and President of the Japanese Olympic Committee; Matlohang Moiloa- Ramoqopo, IOC Member and President of Lesotho NOC; Masatake Yamanaka, President of the Baseball Federation of Japan; and Aki Murasatho, Executive Director of International Relations and NOC/NPC Services of Tokyo 2020.
A three-and-a-half hour programme - including lighting the Olympic Torch, a tree-planting campaign, a teqball demonstration, 33 messages under the themes of ‘United by Education’, ‘United by Experience’ and ‘United by Talent’ - were live telecast on NOC Sri Lanka’s Facebook page.
Sri Lanka NOC President Suresh Subramaniam said: “The power of the human spirit is more relevant today at a time when an unprecedented calamity has befallen us. Each of us holds the power to help humanity steer away from the many perils that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust upon us.”
Messages of support also came from Satoshi Matsui, the Mayor of Hashima City where the Sri Lankan athletes will hold their pre-Olympic training camp.
Sri Lanka NOC also spread the Olympic Day message through 28 Social Media Ambassadors including three in Afghanistan, Indonesia and Iran.