Impact of import sanctions on sports, fitness and wellbeing of Sri Lankans

While some officials and economists think that sports don’t matter to an economy, the positive impact of sports on a country’s economy is much greater than one would think



The beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka entered a tumultuous period contracting even the most fundamental requirements and activities, disrupting financial markets, lifestyle, health, and sports due to the unfortunate financial crisis.

The early stages of the economic crisis and its impact on sports

While the teams and individual athletes began to experience financial issues due to sponsorship resistance, professional sporting events too were graced by declined attendance.

Our athletes, however, are gifted, skilful, strong and resilient, and the majority of the fan base are praetorians who are adamant about keeping the ball rolling, be it a storm or pleasant weather.

Games were continued, with a few or no viewers, overcoming numerous difficulties such as funding, lack of sports equipment, and sportswear that were either given by limited sponsorships, on loan, or through generous donations by the few organisations and able – fans that truly cared. This support during the most gruelling times will never be forgotten and enabled our athletes to reach successful results that showered pride and recognition on our nation as a whole.

How often do we hear a competent athlete requesting a shoe or the gear that enables them to continue doing what they love and are good at? May I also remind you kind readers that these athletes never compete only for personal gain but they sweat hard, train hard and overcome numerous hardships to lift the spirits of the local sports lovers with the goal of hoisting the Sri Lankan flag at an international level?

However, such prolonged negative impacts on the sporting industry may result in a very glum downturn affecting the lives of the present and future athletes, sponsorships, and their fans.

The pummelling on sports due to the recent import restrictions is saddening

The import restrictions may be a blessing to certain industries, but it certainly is anathema to the industry of sports.

We presently witness that many sports equipment franchises that furnish quality sports gear and sportswear at reasonable prices are already suspending their operations or are on the verge of shutting down their operations completely in Sri Lanka due to import restrictions.

May I remind you that these franchises once imagined it to be a compliment to be serving the youth and the athletes in Sri Lanka, and they stood steadfast in offering their services during the most crucial period of the crisis? 

Is it fair to impose import restrictions on sports equipment?

Enforcing import restrictions on sports-related equipment and gear is indeed non-rational.

  •  Our teams and athletes who participate in sports events on a professional level may need to restrict participating and practicing due to the non-availability of quality sportswear/gear. This is sure to have a very high and negative impact on their mindset and performance, hindering them as individuals and us as a nation hauling the country to yet another downbeat experience.
  • These franchises also aroused the attention of the non-athletes and spiked their interest in sports, fitness, and physical activities that precisely led them to a healthy lifestyle. May I remind you that a healthy nation is always debt-free, and healthy citizens are one of the greatest assets a country could have?
  • A visit to these interesting stores awakened the residing sportsman or sportswoman in young children which boosted their determination and allowed them to chase their goals with new vigour with a promise for the future.
  • These international franchises introduced new and improved equipment, gear, and sportswear that assisted to enhance the performance of the athletes and enabled them to perform with ease.
  • Such international franchises offer our country more recognition and attraction and also provide the local workforce with reliable and reputable job opportunities.
  • International franchises are a source of foreign income for the country are they not? They invest in projects offering fresh opportunities to our country’s people, and the recent import restrictions have unfortunately not considered the heavy loss the suspension of such franchises would bring to our country.

Sports and economy

While some officials and economists think that sports don’t matter to an economy, the positive impact of sports on a country’s economy is much greater than one would think.

For most of us, sports is just a game, leisure activity. But did you ever consider that sports play a major role in the country’s economy just as any other industry?

The industry of sports contributes to the following:

Professional athletes

Professional athletes are mostly sponsored by companies and they are usually offered a comfortable position and a salary scale.

While some athletes may be locally involved, most athletes are involved internationally and earn foreign currency for the country.

Direct and indirect occupations

The sports industry contains many occupations that provide a livelihood for many with stable incomes.

  • Sports trainers, coaches, instructors, and officials
  • Fitness instructors
  • The medical team consists of doctors, physiotherapists
  • Sports managers, coordinators, and leisure assistants
  • Sports aid – such as gardeners and groundsmen/groundswomen

Tourism industry

Sporting events when held in our country help to boost the tourism industry by attracting both willing-to-travel and reluctant-travellers.


A professional team or an athlete can endorse our nation, promoting foreign investments.

A healthy nation

Above all, sports promote positive health among the citizens. A healthy nation encourages a wealthy nation, does it not?

NCDs (non-communicable diseases) are the leading cause of death worldwide and represent an emerging global health threat. From a cardiologist’s point of view, the more people are active, the lesser the number of patients with non-communicable diseases like diabetes/Cardio Vascular diseases which benefits the country.

Shouldn’t we support an industry that offers so many benefits?

Say no to import restrictions on sports gear and wear!

The Sri Lankan athlete faces numerous difficulties and is already in deep waters. The recent import restrictions on sports equipment are adding insult to injury.

The import restrictions will create an inevitable vacuum leaving limited or no choices for the general public to purchase quality sports equipment and sportswear. The scarcity of the required equipment culminates in discouraging people from pursuing physical activities and engaging in fitness-related programs that may incite the intensification of many diseases from the lack of physical activity. Let me recall to your attention once again that an unhealthy community restricts a nation from its development.

Therefore, I humbly request the responsible officials to consider taking the necessary action and release the restrictions enforced on sports-related equipment.

The import relief will be much appreciated by the athletes and sports enthusiasts and save our sports industry for our present and future generations, encouraging them to enjoy, revel and bestow our beloved mother nation with more achievements and pride!


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