plans to resurrect gymnastics
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Ratwatte’s last journey today
Today, Sunday November 27 is going to be the last
journey of Anuruddha Ratwatte, the former sports
promoter, Municipal Councillor, Member of Parliament
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
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
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
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
- At Thurstan: PABC vs. Airport & Aviation –
A&A 166 (44.4) (D. Weerasinghe 26, D. Jayasekera
36 n.o., SWRR Pulle 35, S. Wijeratne 3/30, S.
PABC 69-2 (13.5) (V. Perera 31)
- At MCA: Mobitel beat Hayleys Group RC by 59
Mobitel 234-8 (50) (N.Sampath 35, Nalin Vimukthi
100, T. Nazeer 36, R. Fernando 2/45, D.
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
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]
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
Manjula Kumara and Chandrika Subashini receiving
their keys from the Sports Minister Mahindananda
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)
U - 14 Tennis Champion
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
Picture shows Rukshana receiving her trophy from Dr.
D. J. C. Perera at the presentation ceremony held at
the Gymkhana Club, Maitland Crescent.