Hambantota stadium will be ready in January for matches
D.S. de Silva
By Lal Gunesekera
Hambantota International Cricket Stadium has at long
last got underway. The leveling of the extent of land
has started and every attempt will be made to bring it
to playing condition by January next year (2010), for
matches to be played.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Interim Committee
(IC) D.S. de Silva, told The Sunday Leader that
the infrastructure development work too will go ahead,
although the “budget has not yet been prepared, it’s
certain to be colossal,” and that he was very positive,
that he will be able to secure the funds for this
hopeful that with the cooperation of President Mahinda
Rajapakse, will be able to complete the project to stage
one semifinal of the 2011 world cup at this venue. The
International cricket council (ICC) will inspect all
match venues, not only in
but also in India and Bangladesh, six months prior to
the event,” said De Silva.
Former chairman of SLC’s IC, Jayantha Dharmadasa, the
well known successful businessman of Nawaloka fame was
reluctant to go ahead with the construction of the
Hambantota International Cricket stadium, and this could
be one of the reasons why he (Dharmadasa) was not
re-appointed to the post of IC Chairman.
Silva told The Sunday Leader that his
co-coordinating Secretary, Suraj Dadeniya, has been
appointed by SLC as world cup tournament director after
the resignation of Hemasiri Fernando, the influential
head of the National Olympic Committee (NOC). Dandeniya
was the Chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB)
during the Ranil Wicremesinghe Administration.
Silva is to leave for
soon to attend a meeting of the ICC, on June 15, which
was earlier scheduled for June 3, but postponed. He has
also received an invitation from the ICC to attend the
opening ceremony of the second edition of the World
Twenty-20 tournament in England on Friday (June 5).
Pramodya too for
Silva also told The Sunday Leader that
arrangements are being made to send IC member, Pramodya
Wickramesinghe, too to England in June for the Women’s
World Cup, but in what capacity, is not yet certain.
Sunday Leader learns that President Rajapakse had met
three members of the IC (D.S. De Silva, Nishantha
Ranatunga and Ranil Abeynaike) together with Anuruddha
Polonnowita and discussed among many matters the
appointment of Dandeniya to SLC and Hambantota
International Cricket Stadium project. This was on May
21, and on May 23, the SLC IC met in emergency session
and “Officially” decided to commence work on the
Hambantoa Stadium project.
secretary, Nishantha Ranatunga, too left for India last
Wednesday (May 27).
De Silva further told The Sunday Leader that the
fully equipped gymnasium of the Max Academy was opened
at the Premadasa International Cricket Stadium on May
27, and in six months time it will be a “high
performance centre” with six indoor wickets with the
latest technology supervised by five specialized
coaches, and will also include a swimming pool and
Sunday Leader learns that tins was originally a concept
of former IC secretary, K. Mathivananm, who is the
President of Colombo Colts CC.
Silva also told The Sunday Leader that twenty
talented schoolboy cricketers have been also given
contracts for the first rime by SLC.
to do some soul searching
Last week we
spoke of the 20 twenty squad and why in my opinion
Chamara Kapugedara should have been an automatic choice.
Well it is upto us to wish that the team does well but
need to do some soul searching once the tournament is
I am also
excited with the new assignment handed over to me.
Searching for untapped talent and coaching gives me
immense pleasure now that my competitive playing days
are over. It is in these areas that I could be most
effective and not in holding administrative positions.
This was the principle reason why I conduct talent
searches in backward areas and also spend a lot of time
in coaching juniors. I need to thank Coca Cola inc for
all the support.
Ok so we are
into the final week before the world 20 twenty kicks
off. Our lads have a couple of side games to settle down
and they should do well to experiment with the players
on British conditions. The last few games in South
Africa showed that the senior players amongst all teams
did well but under British conditions this could be
different, yet experience and a cool head can still win
that innovators will do well in any form of cricket. The
demand for quick runs in any form is now the
requirement. Recall how the Australians started scoring
nearly 300 runs in a day?
other teams to match this rate or come close to it if
they were to have a reasonable chance of winning against
them. Most teams adapted quickly and now score around
two eighty or there-abouts in a day. In this backdrop I
believe that the 20 twenty will unearth new and exciting
players when the game becomes a little older and cricket
in all forms will gain.
for the young Indian players who have had enough
experience recently in this world cup. They are sure to
make an impression. I expect tough competition from all
teams and this tournament is going to evoke much
interest as they would be representing their countries
and not an adopted team. This going to be watched by
unprecedented numbers across the globe and it’s a fine
opportunity for the Sri Lankan squad to make a strong
impression. Though some may feel its misplaced here I
would yet be happy if young Chamara Kapugedara made the
squad. Good luck boys and go grab the cup.
After the new dawn, what awaits tennis?
long-awaited new morning will finally dawn over our
world of tennis. It is now official. The administration
of Sri Lanka tennis is to be taken off the hands of the
Interim Committee and placed with democratically elected
officials. Nominations from candidates closed last week
and all that's left to do is for members to elect the
2009 office bearers at the AGM, set for June 11 at the
Green Path headquarters.
ask what's so momentous about this AGM. After all, it's
going to be no different to the yearly ritual, which
AGMs are - except that this one comes three months too
late; the Sport Ministry-set deadline for all AGMs is
March 31. This is not to suggest that the June 11 AGM is
illegal , far from it. It is, in fact, the date
prescribed by the Sport Ministry.
be surprising if some officials were a taken aback by
the ministerial order to hold elections given the many
false dawns experienced previously. To trace back the
events that led to this unseasonal June AGM would not be
inappropriate. As the new morning is awaited,
inescapably, chilling memories are revived of the way
the 2008 AGM was scuttled a day or two before it was to
be held. Sport Minister, Gamini Lokuge, ordered the
elections be kept on hold until investigations into
allegations that some of the clubs with voting rights
are phantoms. The charge was that some clubs aren't
active, but are retained in the voting list by certain
powerful officials because they are in their "vote
AGM only postponed
at pains to explain the 2008 AGM was only "postponed''
as opposed to cancelled and assured that it will be held
no sooner the legitimacy, or otherwise, of the voting
clubs were checked out, a check that wouldn't be
inordinately long given that the check-list was just 36
clubs. Five months had elapsed and no word was heard on
the alleged phantom clubs. Obviously, all 36 were
legitimate tennis-playing clubs, else some nasty noises
would've emanated from the ministry and instigators of
Lokuge was as good as his word, the 2008 AGM ought to
have been held last year. But in a politician's world,
word and deed don't have to complement each other. And
sure enough, the minister goes and sets up an Interim
Committee in August 2008. To be charitable, there was a
valid reason why he might've gone back on his word:
since it is mandatory for the SLTA to conduct its AGM
before each March, it didn't make sense holding one in
August 2008 and another in March 2009.
assumption, thus, was that the IC would preside over the
seven months to the 2009 AGM; Sport Ministry officials
hinted as much. But that was another false dawn, and the
Janaka Bogollagama-led IC hobbled along, stumbling from
one controversy to another. As mentioned often in these
columns, the IC was all about the minister wanting to
accommodate his pal Bogollagama for a second term, in
2008/9 - something he could never have managed if it
was decided by a show of hands.
Not a pretty legacy
All that is
now water under the bridge. But it's not a pretty legacy
the IC leaves behind: Rs.3M in the red, from the Rs.12M
bank balance inherited in 2007, Bogollagama's first
term, desertion of long-standing sponsors. A CEO chair
rendered vacant since 2007 owing to lack of funds and
So, it's not
a rose garden that the new committee walks into on June
11. But there's a rainbow: none of the posts will
required to put to a vote, which at once eliminates
politicking and all its noxious affects. That there
aren't rival candidates suggests the membership's
determination to restore the good name and health of
the game. Honest, well-meaning men have put up their
hands to help, mindful the task is never going to be an
easy one. With Davis Cup Group Two promotion achieved
this year, after nine years spent in Group3, the job in
2009/10 will only become doubly demanding - a challenge
that will appeal to only those sincerely dedicated to
the sport. The Sunday Leader can reveal the brave men
who have stepped forward to do that job:
Maxwell de Silva.
Presidents: Lalith Withana, Gen. Ranaweera, Lt. Col.
Shiran Abeysekera, Asiri Iddamlagoda and Dinesh
Secretaries: Irshad Othman, Vipul Perera, Bernard
Jesuthsan and Sqd. Ldr. Samantha Wickremaratne.
Treasurer: Asoka Abeywardena.
Secretary: V T Suntharalingham.
experienced administrators, the lineup looks promising.
Boshan Dayaratne's reappearance is significant. It will
be recalled, Dayaratne was the SLTA's first ever CEO,
1999-2003, and so, has more than a passing knowledge of
what is required of him, from tournaments, ITF relations
to sponsorships. It is not clear when a new CEO will be
appointed, but until such time one is recruited, it's a
comforting thought to the de Silva-administration that
it can turn to an official who's done the job before.
course, will pick holes- and the choice of de Silva as
president is ready-made for brickbats: the
president-elect's tennis pedigree is nil. "de Silva as
head of tennis is, well, a Boeing in the hands of taxi
driver,'' his critics might exclaim. Tell that to de
Silva, and he says: "The committee has two former Davis
Cup players (Iddamalgoda and Kumara) while Suresh
Subramaniam has agreed to head up the selection
committee. That vice president Iddamalgoda is presently
the Davis Cup manager obviously is a huge advantage -
and with the wisdom of the other two former Davis Cup
players in the ex co, we won't be lacking in technical
knowledge required for the smooth functioning of the
SLTA. So whatever I might lack from not being a player
won't be detrimental to progress.''
though, isn't short of experience in administration. His
association with the SLTA is nearly a decade, and having
served as Secretary and Vice President, his elevation to
the presidency is a logical consequent. He might've not
figured in the forefront of matters concerning
selection, coaching and other technical facets, but any
breach of the accepted norms of administration, and no
voice of protest would be the louder than his. A rebel
with cause, he is.
Development of outstation Tennis
of outstation was always dear to him and he gave much of
his time to it. But as president, there will be more
important issues to address. "Promotion to Group Two has
placed more responsibilities on the administration.
Obviously, no one now wants our tennis to be demoted
back to Group 3 - and to stay on the new level will take
some doing. The investment required for the 2010 Davis
Cup campaign is going to be huge - and it's not as if we
have all of the wealth of the world at our disposal,''
says de Silva, a former Thurstanite, who manages his own
that to win back the trust of lost sponsors isn't going
to be easy, if not impossible. "Some serious public
relations work will be required to get the old sponsors
back - and that task will be given high priority. Our
old relationship with them had always been excellent so
we know that at least they'll open their doors and
listen to us,'' says de Silva.
however, pinning more hope on an Rs.20M. assistance
package from the government, the papers for which is
already in the Sport Ministry filed. "What we are really
asking is our share of the amount allotted to sport in
the last budget. I am confident the basis for our
Rs.20M. claim will be viewed favorably by the ministry
because of the emphasis placed on outstation
development,'' says de Silva. "The plan is to get
support from the private sector for our Davis Cup
campaign so that the ministry grant can go in to
the plans of a genius, but Sri Lanka tennis in its
present dire strait requires some good old fashioned
thinking to get it back on the road - until such time it
can fly high, like a Boeing.
Cheer up ruggerites - the Cheerleader girls are here
the most innovative pharmaceutical company has done it
again. This time in the sports field by introducing
cheer girls to support their sponsored club CH & FC. The
1st match with the attendance of 4 dancing cheer girls
in the same style as IPL or international soccer matches
was on May 15, at CH & FC grounds at maitland
crescent which CH & FC won with an emphatic 35 to 10
win over Police.
being a weekday a large crowd had gathered to cheer the
first match of CH & FC Vs Police in this "A" Division
Rugby League Tournament .
spectators were treated to a surprise element in this
years tournament . Tucked away in the corner of the
ground was an ornamental platform which nobody guessed
for what it had been put up by the sponsor Biona for
was a deafening cheer from the crowd and you could see
for the first time in a Rugby Match in Sri Lanka a group
of cheerleader girls climbing on to the decorated
platform with their " Pompons" ready to dance to the
pulsating music from the DJ .
Official interferes in selections
of a sports controlling body has no say in selection
committees appointed by the Minister of Sports. However
this is just the opposite where the Amateur Athletic
Association (AAA) of Sri Lanka is concerned where Prema
Pinnawela is the Secretary.
member of the Athletic Selection Committee told The
Sunday Leader that Pinnawela's status at Selection
Committee meetings should only be as an observer, but he
"pushes" for his favorites and lays off deserving
has been a member of the Grand Prix Selection Commission
and had "kept out" several names of deserving athletes,
who were initially picked by the Selection Committee.
evident at the first-leg of the Asian Grand Prix in
China. There were eight lanes, but only six took part in
the Women's 400 metres. Sri Lanka's Chandrika Sudarshani
was placed fourth. Couldn't Sri Lanka field just another
lass as tow lanes were empty?
second-leg was also held in China and the third in Hong
Kong yesterday (May 30).
Former "wood shot" law was referred as "Bala shot"!!
By Lal Gunesekera
Ramachandra Balasubramaniam? He was Sri Lanka's delegate
to the AGMs of the International Badminton Federation (IBF)
from 1957 to 1960, Council member of the IBF (1960 to
1965 and again from 1967 to 1969) and Vice President too
from 1969 to 1978.
on the rules and laws, tournament and international
championship committees of the IBF from 1960 to 1987,
and took a leading role in the changing of the "wood
shot" by former president of the IBF, David bloomer.
promoting badminton in Ghana (1965-1966) and was
instrumental in the formation of the Africa Badminton
Federation with the assistance of Tanzanian BA and had
the distinction of chairing the inaugurals meeting of
the Africa BF in 1978.
also elected vice-President of the newly formed World
Badminton Federation (WBF) in 1978 in Hong Kong and was
a Signatory to the memorandum of understanding between
the IBF and WBF in 1981 in Tokyo after agreeing to a
compromise on the admission of china to the IBF.
He was also
a member of the Technical committee for Badminton at the
Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
has been living abroad for over four decades, is now
based in Sydney, Australia and involved in international
arbitration cases and was in Colombo recently for a few
days before returning to Sydney via Singapore and Hong
Brother is former DIG Sundera lingam, who was attached
to Interpol in Paris and later a Consultant on
narcotics. He now lives in India.