The Team from the Life Saving Association Sri Lanka was outstanding in winning gold in all six Life Saving events at the 1st South Asian Beach Games held from 8 to 14 October 2011 in Sri Lanka in the Southern city of Hambantota.
The 1st South Asian Beach Games were held under the auspices of the South Asian Olympic Council.
Life Saving was included in the Games, a first for the Region through excellent support from the Sri Lankan Minister of Sport Hon. Mahindananada Aluthgamage, and National Olympic Committee Chairman President, Mr Hemasiri Fernando, Mr Elmore Perera of the Games Organising Committee and the Life Saving Association Sri Lanka.
The four lifesaving teams contesting the Games under ILS Competition Rules were from hosts Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as follows.
- Life Saving Association of Sri Lanka
- Rashtriya Life Saving Society India
- Pakistan Aquatic Life Saving – PALS
- Centre for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh – CIPRB
Sri Lanka was fortunate to have as specialist coach Mr Jeff Mowbray from Surf Life Saving Australia who along with his wife Dale spent three weeks prior to the Games coaching the Sri Lanka Team and during the Games Jeff acted in the capacity of Event Referee.
The organisers of the Games did a great job in hosting the Games, which included turning a jungle like foreshore area into a world class beach Games venue.
The Opening Ceremony was exceptions with great entertainment and due recognition of the Games in accordance with Olympic traditions. A song was penned for the opening, a copy of which can be found on Youtube at link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mgZxvU43GQ&feature=share&mid=50701
A special mention and congratulatory presentation was made to the women’s team from RLSS (I) as they were the only women competitors in life saving at the Games. A bronze medal by Ms Amreen Malik from India in the Oceanwoman event highlighted the important role that women play in lifesaving in the Region.
The competition officials included representation from five countries; the four competing countries plus Australia. The officials, many of whom were from Sri Lanka acted professionally and with integrity and are congratulated for their vital contribution.
I would like to thank Mr Hiran Ukwatte and Mr Channa Guneratne, President Life Saving Association Sri Lanka for their efforts to include and make the sport of Life Saving a success at the 1st South Asian Beach Games.
The 2nd South Asian Beach Games will be held in the Republic of Maldives in 2013 and it is hoped that Life Saving will again be included as an official sport.
Chief Referee and ILS Technical Delegate