The Sri Lankan sports authority has a problem. Their athletes keep disappearing. They go to foreign countries to take part in sporting events, then promptly run away. Usually, they go to Italy, where they end up spinning pizzazz, or working in departmental stores. In fact, athletics absconding during international tournaments is such a huge problem for the country that they have coined a term: decamping.
During a 1993 sporting event in Canada, only one of the Sri Lankan team’s 11 members came home. The rest, including a number of members of the Wrestling Federation of Sri Lanka, just disappeared. In 2007, a triple jump coach taking part in an international training event sponsored by the International Olympic Council disappeared in Italy. During the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, a hockey player and a beach volleyball player went missing. But one of the most infamous cases of “decamping” was reported in 2004, when the entire handball team of Sri Lanka disappeared in Germany.
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Actors posing as the Sri Lankan handball team as depicted in the movie “Machan”