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Attack on ‘Maxi’ goes on global media

  • ‘NOCSL Secretary General attacked in reported Birmingham 2022 row’, says leading English websites

National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka Secretary General Maxwell de Silva was attacked at his home in Colombo, last Friday (6) morning, reportedly over a row related to selections for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka.

Patrick Burke of the England-based news website InsideTheGames reported yesterday (12) that de Silva suffered cuts to his hands as he attempted to fend off two masked men carrying knives at his residence in the Colombo suburb of Mutwal.

His daughter was also hospitalised after attempts to save her father, but both have since been discharged, the above report further added.

It went on to say the following:

De Silva’s car was found abandoned around one kilometre from his home after the attackers used it to escape.

During the incident, the attackers accused de Silva of overseeing an “injustice” against them.

Sri Lankan media outlets have reported that this alludes to unhappiness over selections for the country’s Commonwealth Games team, as well as a dispute over NOC elections last December.

Extension of election rivalry

It is believed that this is a result of the Commonwealth Games selections and a party who is affected by it,” the NOC said, as reported by Sri Lanka’s Sunday Observer.

“It is also thought this is an extension of the rivalry between de Silva supporters and the faction that faced defeat at the last contest for the Executive Committee positions of the NOC.”

OCA reacts

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has sent a letter to de Silva offering its best wishes and condemning the “cowardly” attack.

“The Olympic Council of Asia strongly condemns the personal attack on you and your family,” OCA Acting President Raja Randhir Singh and Director General Husain Al-Musallam wrote.

Perpetrators brought to justice

“This is a heinous act which has no place in sports and the Olympic Movement. By the grace of God, you and your family are safe and we wish you all a speedy recovery.

“We are confident the perpetrators will be caught and brought to justice. Once again, the OCA strongly condemns this cowardly attack and wishes you and your family a speedy recovery.”

Best interest of athletes

NOC of Sri Lanka President Suresh Subramaniam also offered his best wishes.

“It is very unfortunate what happened,” Subramaniam said.

“Maxwell told me the attackers shouted ‘Maxwell has done injustice to us’ and attacked him.

“I condemn this attack. Maxwell and the NOC have always acted impartially and in the best interests of athletes.”

Country in trouble

Sri Lanka is currently embroiled in a major economic crisis which has caused significant unrest across the country.

Demonstrators have called for Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down, a move which his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa has already taken from his position as Prime Minister.

The country is on the brink of bankruptcy, and is facing shortages of essentials including food and fuel.

Shoot on sight

There have been clashes on the streets, and security forces have been ordered to shoot on sight anyone deemed to be engaging in violence.

Sri Lanka is a member of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and is due to compete at Birmingham 2022, which is scheduled for 28 July to 8 August.