Gamini Lokuge, Ranil Abeynake and D.S.de Silva
Appointments of "DS,"
Abeynaike against Sports Law
By Lal Gunesekera
The appointments of D.S.de Silva as Chairman of the
Interim Committee for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLS) and that
of Ranil Abeynaike as one of its members are highly
Gazette Extraordinary of April 21,2005, clearly
states in Regulation (1) (F) that a person directly or
indirectly involved in carrying out the business of
gaming, including gambling and horse racing, shall be
disqualified from being elected or other wise to hold or
continue to hold any paid or unpaid office or a member
of a committee of any national association, a nominee of
an affiliate club or organization in a national
Has this regulation of the amended Sports law of 1973
being adhered to where D.S.de Silva is concerned. He is
married to E.W.Balasuriya’s brother’s daughter. The
Balasuriyas are leading book markers in Sri Lanka, and
de Silva also managed one in Colombo.
As the President’s Advisor on Cricket, de Silva,
occupies a room at SLS, and is paid a salary of Rs
300,000/= a month plus vehicle and mobile phone.Will he
(de Silva) give up all these perks if his appointment as
Chairman of SLS’s IC is legal, as this is a Honourary
post or has he got better things on his mind?
Where Abeynaike is concerned, he comes under the
microscope of the Gazette of April 21, 2005 which
states in Regulation (1) (d) that a person cannot hold
office of any national association if "he is a
Abeynaike is not only a TV cricket commentator, but
also contributes to a regular column in a Sunday
Nishan Ranatunga, a younger brother of the previous
chairman of the IC for SLS, the 1996 world cup winning
captain, Arjuna, has been appointed as the secretary.
The younger Ranatunga sibling was employed at Union
Assurance and Mobitel and gave up under "strange"
circumstances. He also served as Director General of the
Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC)
The elder Ranatunga has instituted legal proceedings
against minister of Sports and Public recreation, Gamini
Lokuge, who removed Ranatunga from the post of chairman
of SLC’s Interim Committee last year (2008).
Sujeewa Rajapakse, who was seen "shuttling" between
the room of D.S.de Silva at SLS and Nawaloka Hospital,
has been appointed as the Treasurer, while the other
members of the IC are Gunaratne Weerasinghe of the Pan
Asia Bank and a cousin of Minister Gamini Lokuge, and
former Sri Lanka Cricketer Pramodya Wickremesinghe, who
has now crossed over to the UPFA after being UNP
organiser for Matara.
The Sunday Leader learns that among those who
refused to take up appointments in the IC were former
secretaries S. Skandakumar and Mathivanan, Hemasiri
Fernando (who has also resigned from the 2011 World Cup
Organising Committee),Sidath Wettemuny, Mahesh
Gunatilleke and Kushil Gunasekara.
Asked to resign
The Sunday leader also learns that the Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of SLC, Duleep Mendis has been
ordered to resign by D.S.de Silva, and is contemplating
migrating to Australia.
Best wishes to Sanga
best wishes go out to Sanga on his appointment as
Captain of the Sri Lanka Cricket Team and also to Murali
as Vice Captain. Both are senior players with proven
ability and they are certain to do well. Yet, I
fervently hope they get the unstinted support of the
seniors in the team.
It was with a heavy heart that I visited the hospital
where the injured players were admitted on their return
from Lahore. To witness my former mates in this position
was traumatic. Our national team is one of the most
amiable within the Test playing circuit and no cricketer
deserves this treatment.
Apart from engaging in their chosen profession they
are entertainers of the highest order, appreciated by
our people, those who witness their prowess on TV and by
those who flock to the stadium. I can well imagine the
trauma they together with their families went through.
With proper counselling and care the team should be back
at their best or even be better from now on.
I am writing this column from Jaffna. From St.Johns’
College cricket grounds to be exact. I am here to search
for talent through the Aravinda de Silva Sports
Foundation. The programme is to identify and nurse
talent for 15 and over and under 18 year players for the
future. Coca Cola of India is sponsoring this programme
and we were assisted by the Peace Secretariat. We call
it the "pathway programme" and I intend unearthing
talent to represent Sri Lanka in the future. This
weekend is going to be exciting stuff and I am looking
eagerly to the 70 players identified to show their
Test and one day cricket is being played in New
Zealand (New Zealand Vs India), in South Africa(
Australia Vs South Africa) and in the West Indies (
England Vs West Indies). The unfortunate teams without
any cricket at this moment are Bangladesh, Pakistan and
of course Sri Lanka. Doesnt speak well for the sub
continent. Will be back with you next week and of course
I will enlighten you with the talent or the lack of it,
in the north.
isn't boss, but yet it's daily x'mas for boxing
no longer the boss, but that doesn't mean Dian Gomes'
influence in Sri Lanka boxing is about to be
extinguished. Last week he handed the reins of ABA
presidency to Udeni Kiridene after an exhausting
five-year term, and you'd think the man would now want
to make a clean break - and, in the famous words of
departing sport chiefs, "give more time to family and
delicious prospect of having all of your free-time for
yourself, however, doesn't appeal to the man. He won't
let go of the ABA just yet, even if it means serving on
its executive committee as a mere club representative -
a demotion, which placed in a political context, would
pretty much be the same as the President choosing, at
term's end, to serve as junior minister.
One-time presidents of sport bodies functioning in
lesser capacities might be strange, but not a new
phenomenon. The power, perks and social status that
comes with sport office appointments is why some
officials might want to overstay their welcome. To take
leave of the good life, after all, isn't an easy thing
All year Santa Claus
would, however, be gross injustice to place the
prosperous CEO of garments giants, MAS Holdings, among
that breed of self-seekers, an error of judgement you
would avoid if you knew the part he played in taking the
ABA from penury to affluence, and were aware that he's
given dozens of talented young boxers, with impoverished
pasts, a better deal in life through well-paid jobs in
companies under his watch. Not incorrectly, he earned
the moniker "all-year Santa Claus'' to
boxing. Some critics, in fact, interpreted his
generosity as pandering that only went to "spoil the
is an accusation that cannot be substantiated, vague as
it is. Perhaps, should a trace of truth be found in that
claim, then, the problem is one concerning attitude, a
personality flaw that even a parsimonious president
might be helpless to rectify. Frankly, this is resorting
to nit-picking in the absence of clear evidence of
misrule. And, to think that a debate on whether our
boxers were spoilt or not should ever figure in a review
of Gomes' reign is, in my view, admission that the last
five years have been a period of good governance.
all, to earn an epitaph of "everyday Santa Claus'' is
far more complimentary than to be referred to as
"rogue'', "dictator'', "self-seeker'' and such names
that departing sport chiefs are being labelled with
these days. You only have to listen to the things they
now say about Arjuna Ranatunga and DIG Nimal Lewke, last
chief of cricket and rugby respectively, to realise how
our world of sport can turn so viciously against its
boxing spared Gomes of a nasty farewell, it is simply
because he didn't do anything to deserve it. Few will
disagree with the view that Gomes' corporate-style of
governance and, more crucially, his personal
contributions, puts his long stewardship beyond
criticism. In fact, you wonder, by choosing to remain in
boxing as a lowly representative of his club, Slimline,
if he is actually devaluing his illustrious record as
ABA chief. Whether that is the case or not, we'll
discuss after we've first taken stock of his
contributions to boxing since assuming the presidency
back in 2004.
five-year watch has been tiresome to say the least.
Preparations for participation in two Commonwealth
Championships (2005/07 in Glasgow and Liverpool),
Commonwealth Games (2007, Melbourne) Asian Games (2006,
Doha), World Championships (2007, Chicago) and countless
other international meets of lesser importance in places
as near as New Delhi, Karachi and Bangkok, in places as
strange as Ulaan Baatar, in Mongolia, and Baku in
Azerbaijan, and as far-away as Hanoi, Vietnam and
Quentin, France - an international program that will
compare favourably with any of those of boxing's
developed nations. Sri Lankan boxers have figured in at
least six overseas meets annually over the past five
years - a staggering improvement on the
once-in-four-years SAF participation of not so long ago.
It wouldn't be wrong to assume that our boxers have seen
more of the world than our more reputed cricketers.
largesse was distributed to local followers of boxing,
too. International dual contests, unseen since the Eddie
Gray-initiated duals of the 60s with India and Pakistan,
returned to Sri Lanka in 2005 with a match-up against
the Philippines; v. Vietnam in 2006; v. Tanzania in 2007
and last year with the Moscow Bears, a contest which has
been given a permanent place in ABA's annual calendar of
events, with Colombo being the permanent venue. Moscow
BC, in reciprocation, is to offer annually month-long
training scholarships to two-three Sri Lankan boxers. As
well, the SAF boxing championships was hosted in 2006.
Everest of his five-year reign was undoubtedly Anuruddha
Rathnayake's qualification for the Beijing Olympics, the
first Sri Lankan boxing Olympian since H K Karunaratne's
appearance in the 1968 Mexico Games. In some ways,
Rathnayake's achievement is more commendable as he
earned his Olympic berth by finishing fifth, out of 32,
in the World Championships, no less - whereas, in 1968,
boxers didn't have to qualify to participate in the
Olympics; you're country's nomination was enough, which
the Sri Lanka Olympic Committee did to Karunaratne on
the strength of his status as Asian light-fly champion
was expected of Rathnayake, but in the event, he did
less than Karunaratne, who defeated a Mongolian by a
t.k.o. in his first fight. Rathnayake was out-pointed by
a Brazilian on the opening night - which brings us to
why Gomes won't walk away from the
explains, with benefit of hindsight, expectations of a
medal from Rathnayake in Beijing were far-fetched, a
misreading induced by the 40-year absence from the
Olympics. "We now realise winning an Olympic medal is a
lot tougher, and know better the requirements for
(achieving) it,'' said Gomes.
best thing to come out of Rathnayake's Olympic
qualification is the impact it has on the other boxers.
Four decades of failure (to qualify for the Olympics)
nurtured a belief that the Olympics was beyond the reach
of our boxers - but that mindset has changed. Now the
thinking is that if Rathnayake can box in the Olympics
so can we. I believe that if this new- found confidence
is supported by investments in the physical preparations
of the boxers, a medal in the 2012 Olympics is
boxing's health is so rosy-pink, as Gomes claims it is,
and the services of a professional Cuban coach are
available, then things ought to move on its own to the
2012 Olympics and the retired ABA president might watch
it all unfold from the comfort of an armchair. Reality,
though, is far removed from that scenario: boxing can't
afford the retirement of Gomes. Said simply, without
him, boxing will go broke.
story about boxing accruing benefits from his position
and reputation in the corporate world is an old one.
Suffice it is to say that through his good offices in
the mercantile sector, the ABA coffers have been
enriched by Rs.10M. annually, and, just in case
unforeseen expenses have to be met, he diverts earnings
from his lectures on business and leadership to the ABA.
Given that the ABA doesn't derive income by way of gate
receipts - all meets are free of charge - means Gomes,
directly or indirectly, funds boxing. Which is to say,
he is boxing's "everyday Santa Claus.''
a role he'll continue to play even as a club
representative on the ex co: He heads the
ABA's fund raising committee. One of his last acts as
president was to hand his successor a Rs.4M. sponsorship
cheque from thread manufacturers American and Esirad Co.
Ltd. As well, two boxers were dispatched to
for an international meet, while arrangements are being
finalised for Manju Wanniarachchi to train in and box
for a top boxing club in the US for two years. Also,
training of boxers in Patiala Sports Institute and Cuba
too are on this year's schedule -spin offs from his
position (as Secretary of Business Commission) and that
of Nivea Embuldeniya (Asian Confederation vice
president) in AIBA, the world body.
international program of eight contests, in Asia and
Europe, await our boxers this year.
measure, it's an awesome legacy the new president
Kiridene inherits, and with it tremendous
responsibilities, too. It helps that he will have the
experienced Lt. Col (Retd.) Hemantha Weerasinghe as
Secretary and Grp. Capt. Nishantha Dhamadasa as
Treasurer, both serving a third term. But then, with
Gomes around, it's going to be pretty much Christmas
every day in 2009 - for that matter, until the day Sri
Lanka boxing wins its first Olympic medal.
place in the ex co is a small price to pay for the man's
pursuit of such a noble and expensive cause. Roll out
the red carpet for the 'lowly' club representative.
Atapattu takes Iswan Omar to the cleaners
By Lal Gunesekera
big mouthed Iswan Omar, Senior Vice President of the
Kandy Sports Club and representative of the Central
Province RFU, was taken to task for his comments that
sponsors are not recognising the Interim Committee of
the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) at a meeting
where all Provincial Union heads met the two IRB
officials (David Carigy and Gerrard Gallaher) recently.
Secretary cum Treasurer of the IC for SLRFU, Kiran
Atapattu, told The Sunday Leader that Omar is making a
mockery of himself by "Opening his big gab" without
knowing the facts. He said: "Caltex under Kishu Gomes
continue to extend their fullest support and confirmed
the sponsorship package of Rs. 6.8 million for this
year, while another international sponsor has been found
for the national team amounting to Rs. 5 million".
Atapattu went on to say that Iswan Omar was in charge of
the Kandy 7's on February 7 and 8 at Nittawela and
"Couldn't find Rs. 150,000 to organise the event and
that the IC had to obtain an over draft to conduct the
tournament; was it not a shame for this all conquering
Kandy SC unable to find Rs. 150,000".
Atapattu also disclosed that Kandy SC were given Rs. 3.3
million out of IRB funds to conduct the Singer-SriLankan
Airlines International 7's in September last year
(2008), besides the nearly Rs 10 million from Singer.
Air Ticket for the Touring sides (players and officials)
was courtesy SriLankan Airlines. However, now its six
months since the event and the audited accounts have not
yet been submitted to the SLRFU. The SLRFU had also paid
for the expenses of the Sri Lankan side training in
amounting to Rs. 740,000.
further said: "Omar is in charge of the CPRFU who were
paid Rs 250,000/= last year as well as Rs 720,000/= as
allowances for the Development Officers in the Central
Province who include Gamini Udugama Rs 180,000/= W. B.
K. L. Gunawardene Rs 90,000/=, Ajith Niyadagala Rs
90,000/=. Edema had written to the IC that he spent his
personal funds for his team from Matale last year and
not received any payment as a Development Officer. Where
did this money go"?
boasts of 20 clubs in the Central Province, but only one
club (Kandy SC) played in the Kandy 7's. Are the other
19 clubs just paper clubs? Dilroy Fernando has also
confided with Dr. Maiya Gunasekera that a referee in the
had been forced by Omar to give bogus match results to
fool the previous administrators. This is a scandal
which is to be inquired into soon" said Atapattu.
Laws of the country has to be followed
International Rugby Board (IRB) sub-Law states that they
(The IRB) wished to deal with democratically elected
bodies, but the Interim Committee (IC) of the Sri Lanka
Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) impressed upon the two IRB
officials - Gerrard Gallagher and David Carigy, who
were in Colombo last week (March 9 to 12), that there is
no political inference at all.
was disclosed to The Sunday Leader by the Chairman of
the IC, Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, that the Minister of
Sports and Public Recreation, Gamini Lokuge, had said
that the previous Council of the SLRFU had violated its
own constitution, accounting system was faulty and both
the President and secretary of the SLRFU resigning from
their posts within days of each other, the then council
was defunct. The CEO too had resigned end December.
"Minister Lokuge told the IRB Representatives regarding
these matters at a lengthy discussion and the necessity
for the appointment of an Interim Committee to 'bail
out' the SLRFU from its present predicament. The IRB
Official had accepted the fact that there had not been
much financial discipline" said Dr. Gunasekera.
Gallaghe and Carigy had also held discussions with the
former President (DIG Lewke), former Deputy President (Asanga
Seneviratne) and representatives of the Provincial
Gunasekera also said that the two IRB representatives
had requested for the accounts for the last three years
and also the minutes of Council meetings for the last
two years, and that he (Dr. Gunasekera) had instructed
the SLRFU office staff to release these reports to the
Indra de Silva report and the Auditor General's report
too were requested to be handed over to the two IRB
officials, who left the island on Thursday (March 12).
are only doing our job which Minister Lokuge entrusted
upon us. Once we complete it, we will get out. We
impressed upon the IRB that the laws of the country has
to be followed whether people like it or not, and must
do what it good for the people" said Dr. Gunasekera.
The Sunday Leader attempted to elicit comments from IRB
representative, David Carigy, this writer was told, 'no
comment at this stage.'
Gunasekera has also told the IRB Representatives that
the minutes of the AGM was not available. He said: "They
wanted the salaries for the development officers paid
with the money donated by President Rajapakse, but we
told them that these monies were only for infrastructure
development and not to pay salaries."
IRB officials had said that they were eagerly awaiting
the investigations into the audit queries and that the
guilty should be punished if found guilty.
Admin. Manager at SLRFU law unto himself
By Lal Gunesekera
Is the Administrative Manager of the Sri Lanka Rugby
Football Union (SLRFU), Senaka Colombage, a law unto
himself? He reminds me of ‘Podi Sir’ of Sri Lanka
This is the opinion gathered by The Sunday Leader
when this officer was requested for a copy of the
constitutional amendments on Monday (March 9) after it
was distributed to all Provincial Union Presidents on
The Sunday Leader made several attempts to get of
a copy of the amendments for the past three weeks. The
news paper was first told by Colombage that he has not
been instructed by the Chairman of the Interim Committee
for SLRFU, Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, and when Dr. Gunasekera
wanted this writer to collect same from Colombage, the
reply was "it is not ready".
The IC of the SLRFU, released the amendments to the
Provincial Unions on March 4, and Colombage, had been
specifically instructed to release the amendments to all
media institutions too. Even the Bar Secretary (Jeremy
David) of the CR and FC has been sent one by E-mail.
The Sunday Leader was told by colombage on Monday
(March 9) afternoon to "ask Maiya" is this the way to
address the Chairman of the Interim Committee? The rude
Colombage should under go a lesson or two in public
This could also be a clear indication of divided
loyalties by Colombage. He was not only brought in by
the previous administration but also accompanied the
President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Referees Association (SLRFU),
Dilroy Fernando, to Bangkok, Thailand a few weeks back
was this as a token of appreciation for the work done by
Colombage for the SLRFU? If this is the case, Colombage
must realise that he is a paid employee of the SLRFU and
not the SLRFU. Fernando is the former Executive Director
of the SLRFU too. Over to you Dr. Gunasekera.
Remember how the report from the Auditor General’s
Department was hidden for two days from the IC by the
SLRFU office is there a hidden hand behind these moves
to sabotage and bring disrepute to the IC?
• Battle of the Blues
Thomians in creditable draw
Thomas' College Mount Lavinia staged a remarkable second
innings performance to force a creditable draw to the
130th annual inter school three day Battle of the Blues
cricket encounter against the traditional rivals Royal
College concluded at the SSC grounds in Maitland Place
Thomians having been bundled out for 99 runs and asked
to follow on came back into the game magnificently to
reach an impressive 411 in their second innings.
was mainly due to two superb individual batting
contributions from skipper Ravinthiraja Nirushan and
Faleem Saleem. This most experienced Thomian pair came
into their rescue with a spectacular 209 run third
wicket partnership that completely changed the
complexion of the game.
Dynamic opener Saleem went onto hit a brilliant 165 and
batted for more than nine hours while showing a great
amount of concentration and determination. Saleem struck
15 boundaries and collected his runs from 425
Skipper Nirushan of course departed early for a well
compiled 104 while adding only a solitary run to his
Royal: 313 for 9 decl and 42 for 3 (D. Walpita 2 for
S. Thomas': 99 and 411 (Faheem Saleem 165, Ravinthiraja
Nirushan 104, Chamod Pathirana 22, Lalindra Peiris 21,
Sachin Peiris 22, Yasith Abeykoon 2 for 65, Haroon
Maujood 3 for 58, Kithruwan Withanage 2 for 52)
Petes regain Peter Pillai Shield
Peter's College regained the Rev. Fr. Peter Pillai
Shield when they outplayed their traditional rivals St.
Joseph's College by 118 runs in their 35th annual Battle
of the Saints inter school limited overs cricket
encounter worked off at the R. Premadasa Stadium
Peter's: 333 for 7 in 50 overs (Angelo Emmanuel 17,
Angelo Perera 128 n.o, Shiwanga Ranasuriya 44, Chatura
Peiris 83, Dinal Dhambarage 5 for 67)
Joseph's: 215 for 9 in 50 overs (Jaan Jayasinghe 44,
Shameera Weerasinghe 41, Nishika de Silva 19, Shalindra
Perera 43, Chaturanga Kumara 17, Vinod Perera 3 for 18,
Angelo Perera 2 for 39)
Petes win Gary Melder Trophy
Peters Over 40 team beat St Josephs in thrilling
encounter to annex the Gary Melder trophy at the
was led by former Peterite captain Senerath Seneviratne
who is now based in Hong Kong. Having posted a
challanging score of 153 runs in 25 overs largely thanks
to good knocks from Anura Silva, Keerthi Gunaratne and
Damian Thisaratchchi, Petes were given a scare when Joes
scored 70 runs in their first 7 overs.
However, the spinners Sudath Kuruppu, Shabir Hussain and
Gehan Siribaddana bowled micerly to choke them for runs.
Dilroy in top panel of arfu referees
Fernando has been retained in the 2009 ARFU Panel of
Referees, the only Sri Lankan in a list of 14.
many as four Sri Lankans figure in 22 named as Referees
and Touch Judges by the ARFU. The four: Aruna Rantkothge,
Nizam Jamaldeen, Aruna Jayasekera and D. Nimal.
ARFU Panel of Referees is dominated by officials from
Japan and Arabian Gulf, with five and three inclusions
respectively. Hong Kong has two while the other five
places are filled by one each from Singapore, China,
Hong Kong, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
is Fernando's second year as Panel 1 ARFU referee since
a grading system was introduced last year. The ARFU will
draw from the panel's 14 members to referee its major
tournament matches, chiefly the top two divisions of the
Asian Nations competition.
Cricket - Inter-Provincial
Basnahira South well placed
Basnahira South were well placed at 202 for 2 in
reply to Ruhuna’s massive first innings total 450 runs
on the second day of their SLT Inter Provincial cricket
tournament match continued at the Colts CC grounds in
Havelock Park on Friday.
Ruhuna: 450 (U. Tharanga 265 n.o, I. Muthalip 37, L.
Fernando 42, I. de Sarm 31, A. Priyanjan 23, A. Prasad 4
for 110, M. Siriwardena 4 for 31)
Basnahira South: 202 for 2 (L. Thirimanna 33, M.
Siriwardena 98 n.o, C. Silva 50 n.o)
Kanchana hammers unbeaten ‘ton’
Stylish opener Kanchana Gunawardena hammered an
unbeaten century and shared an unfinished third wicket
stand of 204 runs with Nadeera Nawala (98 n.o) to put
Kandurata well on course to a first innings victory over
Wayamba on the second day of their SLT Inter Provincial
cricket tournament match continued at the Rangiri
Dambulla International Stadium on Friday.
Wayamba: 394 (M. van Dort 123, M. Udawatte 33, L. de
Silva 49, J. Kulatunga 43, T. Perera 53 n.o, I. Udana
31, C. Vidanapathirana 2 for 86, S. Mohamed 2 for 81, D.
Gamage 2 for 40, J. Mendis 3 for 60)
Kandurata: 219 for 2 (K. Gunawardena 109 n.o, N.
Nawala 98 n.o, T. Perera 2 for 25)