Pathirana plans to resurrect gymnastics
By Chris Dhambarage
The newly appointed president of the National Gymnastic Association of Sri Lanka, Priyantha Pathirana believes that the country has the potential to produce world class gymnasts if the sport is nurtured in a professional manner.
“We were among the best in the South Asian region few years ago but we lost that place because India made a huge investment on this sport at that time.

“However my intention is to bring back our lost glory and to regain the number one position,” said the 35-year-old Provincial Council Member of the Eastern Province.
Pathirana a past student of S. Thomas’ College Matara revealed that in contrast to some of the other major sports in the country the basics of gymnastics could be learnt and mastered in a short period of time.

“Unlike some of the other sporting events in gymnastics we have a great chance of making progress to reach international standards during a short period of time.
“For the past few years gymnastics has been somewhat an unknown sport in the country and my goal is to introduce this sport to the common people and organise various programmes regarding the sport in schools.”
Pathirana further elaborated that gymnastics could be used as a sport to maintain fitness and as a foundation to make progress in a different sport rather than winning medals alone.

“In some of the developed countries gymnastics has been used as the stepping stone and the base for the enhancement of several other popular sporting events more than concentrating on winning medals.
“But unfortunately in Sri Lanka we are far behind in mastering this art for the betterment of other sports and we intend to conduct a series of seminars to educate the sportsmen and sportswomen in regard to this factor.”
The head of the National Gymnastic Association of Sri Lanka stated that as a long-term plan they have launched a mega project towards producing at least a couple of top gymnasts ahead of the next Commonwealth Games.
“My dream is to see that in four years time Sri Lanka produce at least a couple of world-class gymnasts who could compete in the next Commonwealth Games.
“Initially we have selected a hundred-member junior national pool and they will be under a foreign coach who will arrive shortly from Japan. We will then select the best four players from this pool and send them to China or Japan for overseas training.

“We have the talent and the resources to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games and we will continue our training despite the many challenges and the difficulties the athletes are faced with.”
Pathirana however lamented that the lack of funds has put their association somewhat on the back foot but will continue to push towards achieving their targets with the assistance of the Sports Ministry.
“Our biggest setback presently is the lack of funds to popularise this sport in the provinces and districts but we hope to find a sponsor and continue our mission towards achieving our long term goals.

“There is some passion among the youngsters to take up gymnastics as a career and we have started a basic coaching course to educate the teachers and masters in charge of gymnastics in the rural areas.
“Initially we will educate the teachers of these schools how to conduct a gymnastic training session for the children without the equipment and thereafter we will select the best and include them in high performance centres which are being established in every district.” concluded Pathirana.


Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

It was shocking and sad to note the utter foolishness of the 150-strong delegation of state favourites comprising actors, actresses and few old cricketers to St. Kitts in the Caribbean to canvass the bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games deep down south in burning hot Hambantota, to compete with the Australian Gold Coast’s 20-strong delegation.

Came the CWG meeting to vote for the bids by Australia’s Gold Coast and Sri Lanka’s Hambantota the delegates had struck a deadly blow to Hambantota by voting 43 in favour of Gold Coast and 27 for Hambantota thus disgracing and humiliating Sri Lanka.

Was it the most essential thing the state should have undertaken at a heavy price of Rs. 800 million, when our Sports Ministry cannot even organise the SAARC Games or the South Asian Games in Colombo to perfection.
What a crime it is to expend Rs. 800 million for such a gigantic event to be held in 2018 in another seven years time, when there are huge priorities unattended sadly engulfing and affecting the masses of all walks of life in our nation who are plagued with killings, violence, abductions, and human rights abuses.

The whole world is anxiously waiting to see that gross abuses and violations of human rights are halted and when our country’s image is at such a low ebb, it was utter foolishness for the project committee to take a ‘make hay when the sun shines’ attitude and waste public funds at their whims and fancies, blindly approved by the government. In this instance the Auditor General should take steps to have an independent audit, free of government political interference, and divulge its irregularities and publish a report for the information of the public. The people haven’t voted the ruling party to waste public funds to promote and elevate its politicians while denying the suffering masses of their daily bread.

It’s a pity if this government doesn’t know what their priorities are. Take for instance the terrible shortcomings and the utter mess in the health sector, education sector, human rights violations and abuses. Degraded and ruined sports, cost of living, high cost of fuel and gas, soaring cost of electricity and water on tap, and clear-cut vindictive terror allegedly enacted by some state politicians have made this once beautiful country a ghostly nation inducing a fear psychosis in the minds of the masses.
The power hungry ruling party politicos have brought about a ‘pol mess’ to cricket. The several Sports Ministers from 2004, have installed government stooge henchmen to Interim Committees to administer SLC which is in debt to the tune of Rs. 3000 million as is widely published in the media - the worst tragedy in the history of the cricket board.

Then the question is to find out and punish the culprits, who have mismanaged funds when the previous Interim Committee was under the chairmanship of former Test player D.S. de Silva during the ‘World Cup’, and his predecessors who have bungled the SLC coffers to a bankrupt position.
It is a well-known fact that certain favorites who have never done the subject of construction had been engaged as contractors to World Cup venues. A restaurant owner from the suburbs of Colombo had been engaged to supply lunch packets and other food items at all three venues at very exorbitant prices. Further, the World Cup committee had made a mint of money, as alleged by cricket crazy spectators, on ticket sales by hiring drug addicts to sell match tickets at unbelievable prices and the sports ministry officials have been deaf and blind to all sorts of corrupt practices from the word go, as alleged by the public.
Sri Lanka cricket is the domain of its membership and it is said the state took over SLC in 2004 by dissolving the executive committee for alleged misappropriation. This has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt nor an inquiry held. The idea behind has been to hold onto SLC coffers and in no way to improve or develop the noble game to greater heights but for a hidden agenda of plundering funds which is now obvious and evident from the loss of Rs. 3000 million, which we understand has never been the case when member-elected cricket officials managed it’s affairs in an honourable manner.

As a result of the ICC ruling that only elected national bodies would have ICC membership, the now dissolved SLC is expected to have an election of office bearers by an AGM, and it is about time that the cricket board is managed by a team of visionary administrators. Those who have been appointed as chairmen of Interim Committees have failed miserably, thus the colossal loss of a sum of Rs.3 billion; therefore they should be debarred from contesting the election which is scheduled for December 27.
When the new management elected by its rightful membership comes into effect, it will also be a responsibility of the government to bailout the SLC from its financial crisis by pumping sufficient funds to defray the losses of Rs.3 billion. It is the government that is directly responsible for the financial calamity in running its affairs since 2004 with half-baked officials with no cricket sense.

In other sports such as rugby, hockey, boxing, soccer, athletics, volleyball, netball and basketball, Sri Lanka is way behind the weakest nation. This is because of interference and mismanagement by Sports Ministers and ministry officials who have no vision to develop these sports and if one was to further analyse why, it’s nothing other than that most of these sports are with state henchmen at the helm and is full of corruption up to the neck.
It’s time to hold elections to all sports bodies free of state interference and allow the national bodies to run their affairs satisfactorily, and the Sports Ministry should try and help only in finding state enterprises to sponsor different sports bodies so that these enterprises will have the desired effects of good advertising mileage with a return, thus eliminating waste and being a deterrent to corruption.

The Sports Minister must shed the desire of trying to grab all he cannot hold and should do well to keep his hands off sports, especially cricket.
Fools rushing in attitude must stop and the state must concentrate in giving priority to developing areas that need attention and give up wishful thinking. The ruling party politicians must realise that it is a crime to waste public funds for short term glory and give up living in a dream world, as now it is crying time for sports in our country.

Cletus Almeida
Colombo 15.


Anuruddha Ratwatte’s last journey today
By Hafiz Marikkar
Today, Sunday November 27 is going to be the last journey of Anuruddha Ratwatte, the former sports promoter, Municipal Councillor, Member of Parliament and Minister.
He started his education at Trinity College, where he excelled in rugger and later gave a big hand in promotion of the game.

Anuruddha Ratwatte did a lot for rugger at Kandy SC in the early 1970’s. , and he was the man behind the re-development of the Bogambara Stadium to this standard when it was in the hands of the Municipal Council, but now it is with the Sugathadasa Stadium. As chairman of Kandy Sports Foundation he gave his best for sports.
Anuruddha was blessed with a heart of gold, was quick to respond to any one in distress and he very generously doled out kindly and attended to very many of his followers.

Death came to Anuruddha most unexpectedly, with much sorrow to thousands of others reminding us the words of the Buddha in the Dhahampada.
Anuruddha’s contribution to sports and assistance to the needy shall be long remembered by a grateful people.
His cremation will take place today at the Bogambara Stadium and latter his ashes will be taken to his family burial grounds Nittawela.
He will live forever in shall our minds and hearts.


Gamini Soysa meets Bruce Lee’s weapons trainer
By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lankan martial artist, Sensei Gamini Soysa, who was in Canada recently, met up with the famous martial arts movie star Tadashi Yamashita who is credited with being the only person to have trained the legendary Bruce Lee in the use of nanchaku.

Yamashita also co-starred with Lee in the epic martial arts box office hit, ‘ Enter the Dragon.’ He is credited with being associated in over 20 movies as producer, director, actor and writer having also co-starred in the famous film, ‘Octagon,’ which also starred Lee Van Cleef of ‘For a Few Dollars More’ fame in the lead role, and Chuck Norris.

Canada was also the meeting ground with weapons grandmaster Masanobu Kikukawa. Soysa trained along with Masanobu Kikukawa and Yamashita and Kobudo expert Hanshi Nakazato Okinawa and also conducted classes for young Canadians. The highest ranked Lankan martial artist with an 8th Dan Black Belt, Soysa started his martial arts career in 1974 and half of his life was dedicated to mastering the art of learning Karate and Kobudo (Ancient Martial Arts Weapons) and teaching in Sri Lanka and South Asian countries.

Soysa’s visit received wide publicity in Canadian newspapers with the ‘Island Sports News’ having this to say of him under the headline, ‘Kyoshi Soysa visits the island’: “Kyoshi Gamini Soysa, an 8th Dan Black Belt is widely recognised as a pioneer of introducing Shirin-Tyu Karate in Sri Lanka (1976), India (1982) and other South Asian countries. Both Kikukawa and Soysa had one common teacher - Kei Shun Kakinohana. Although the two had never met before, there was instant camaraderie between the two.”

According to Soysa, “Budo (martial arts) is concerned with an individual’s search for something revolving around the application of the art or the technique. The term Budo means ‘the way’ and ‘bujutsu’ refers to the technique. Through the practice of bujutsu, the way of budo can be followed. The literal translation of the word budo is ‘not to use spear’ which means ‘not to fight’ or ‘stop fighting’. The way of budo is not to be concerned with winning and therefore, the competitive spirit is not the way to understand budo. It is rare to come across a real artist who practices budo. I doubt if many really exist,” said Soysa of the art.


Mercantile ‘D’ division cricket

A rain hampered weekend

Rain disrupted play over the weekend in the Elephant Lemonade Cup, MCA ‘D’ division 50 overs league tournament 2012.
All three matches scheduled were interrupted by rain with one match ending in a no-result and two matches decided by using the ‘parabola’ system.
The weekend’s batting highlight was the century scored by Mobitel’s Nalin Vimukthi (100 in 108 balls with 6 fours and 4 sixes) which gave his team a comfortable 59-run win.
John Keells ‘B’ registered their first win in three matches when they beat unbeaten Softlogic by 10 runs.

  • At Thurstan: PABC vs. Airport & Aviation – no result
    A&A 166 (44.4) (D. Weerasinghe 26, D. Jayasekera 36 n.o., SWRR Pulle 35, S. Wijeratne 3/30, S. Amaradasa 3/40)
    PABC 69-2 (13.5) (V. Perera 31)
  • At MCA: Mobitel beat Hayleys Group RC by 59 runs
    Mobitel 234-8 (50) (N.Sampath 35, Nalin Vimukthi 100, T. Nazeer 36, R. Fernando 2/45, D. Ratnayake 3/40)
    Hayleys 153-8 (37) (M. Silva 50 n.o., M. Thiyagaraja 2/19, K. Gomes 2/20, T. Nazeer 2/20)
  • At Thurstan: J. Keells ‘B’ beat Softlogic by 10 runs
    JK ‘B’ 189 (40.1) (T. Herath 25, C. Handevitarana 31, J. Sriyapala 31, PK Abeygunasekera 22, A. Johar 27, R. Derling 3/24, I. Wickramasinghe 3/35, G. Jayaweera 2/25)
    Softlogic 134- 7 (28.1) (W. Helsham, 35, R. Derling 20, I. Wickramasinghe 31, R. Gulan 27 n.o., M. Weerasinghe 2/45, R. Subasinghe 2/34, AG Jaakey 2/30) – [LW]


Motor cycles gifted to athletes

High jumper Manjula Kumara who set up a new Sri Lanka record and Chandrika Subashini who won the women’s 200 metres and 400 metres events at the 37th National Sports Festival were presented with motor cycles through the courtesy of Stafford Motors Company Limited.
Manjula Kumara and Chandrika Subashini receiving their keys from the Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage


AMA sports website launched

The AMA Sports website was officially inaugurated in the presence of several former and present sports personalities at the Mario Beach Hotel in Marawila recently. Pictured here former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga declares the website open with the officials of the AMA sports website looking on (Pic by Pushpakumara Mathugama)


Rukshana U - 14 Tennis Champion

Rukshana Abdeen of Colombo International School was adjudged the girls’ under-14 singles champion at the recently concluded Gymkhana Club Junior Open Tennis Tournament which was worked out at the Queen’s Tennis Courts.
Picture shows Rukshana receiving her trophy from Dr. D. J. C. Perera at the presentation ceremony held at the Gymkhana Club, Maitland Crescent.