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Sri Lankan athletes the big winners from partnership with ECU

Tuesday, 07 November 2017

Tags: Homepage; International; Research; School of Exercise and Health Sciences

Renowned for their competitiveness on the cricket pitch, Australia and Sri Lanka are setting aside their rivalry in a new project that aims to boost Sri Lanka’s wider sporting abilities on the world stage.

A team of six Edith Cowan University (ECU) sports scientists, led by Associate Professor Sophia Nimphius, travelled to Colombo to spend two days testing 184 Sri Lankan athletes from 11 sports, including Athletics, Cricket, Badminton, Netball, Rugby, Tennis, Volleyball and Wrestling.

A battery of a tests were conducted to measure key attributes that define athletic performance, including jumping power, strength, speed, change of direction and aerobic capacity.

The scientists utilised specialised testing equipment unavailable in Sri Lanka that they had transported with them from Perth, Western Australia.

The initial results were shared with Sri Lankan coaches and officials from the Department of Sport Development, National Institute of Sport Science, National Olympic Committee and the National Institute of Sport Medicine.

ECU staff provided guidance on how to interpret the data and demonstrated how current training methods could be modified to enhance performance.

ECU School of Medical and Health Science Executive Dean Professor Moira Sim said the initiative was further evidence of the relationship between Sri Lanka and ECU.

“ECU already has close ties with Sri Lanka. Each year we welcome more than 160 students to our Western Australian campuses as well as teaching ECU courses here in Colombo through our partner ACBT,” Professor Sim said.

“ECU Adjunct Professor Hallam Pereira met with President Maithripala Sirisena earlier this year in Canberra and sought our expertise in sports science to improve Sri Lanka’s sports performance.

“This two-day testing followed by a workshop for coaches and technical officials is the first step in what we hope is a long-term relationship between ECU and Sri Lanka’s sporting associations to build their knowledge and capability.

“Assisting Sri Lanka to reach its full potential is good for the individual athletes as well as international sport in general. There are also considerable economic, health and cultural benefits that come with sporting success.”

ECU’s is consistently ranked in the top 20 by Shanghai Rankings for sports schools and departments. Staff regularly work with elite Australian athletes and sporting teams, as well as international organisations including the Chicago Bulls (USA) and Manchester United Football Club (UK).

The ECU sports scientists will be returning to Sri Lanka over the next three years, bringing a larger team of ECU exercise and sports science students as well as health science students to retest the athletes and increase the focus on health by extending the testing to schools.

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