Amila Nuwan of Slimline BC who won a bronze medal at the 2nd Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Memorial International Boxing Meet which concluded in Islamabad, Pakistan in late December last year was given a rousing welcome on his return to the island on January 2.Nineteen year old Amila achieved his feat in his first ever international boxing meet he participated in by defeating the Pakistan champion in the under 49kg light flyweight category.
|Amila Nuwan who returned from Pakistan on January 2 being given a rousing welcome in his home town at Pannala.
Amila was felicitated by his hometown supporters which included prominent personnel in Pannala and the principal of Pannala National School where he had his education before joining Slimline.
It was no doubt a memorable moment for the people of Pannala who were proud to see Amila becoming the first male boxer from their area to win a medal at an international boxing meet, beside two top notch female boxer’s Anusha Nilimni and Nilmini Jayasinghe who together numerous medals and are considered Olympic hopefuls.
Amila’s rise has been due to the efforts put in by the ardent boxing supporter Dian Gomes who could be deemed as the man behind the revival of boxing in Sri Lanka in the recent past.
The introduction of boxing to lesser known schools around by Dian during his tenure as President of the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) for nearly five years gave youngsters like Amila an opportunity which he grabbed with both his hands.
Amila was an instant success since boxing was introduced to Pannala National School in 2005. His dedication and determination saw him winning at the Stubbs Shield boxing meet for schools the very next year in 2006 and again in 2008. He also won a gold medal in another important schools meet held annually the L.V. Jayaweera boxing meet also in 2006.
He went on to taste success by winning medals at the Cadet Boxing Championship in 2007 and 2008 and followed it up by winning a gold medal at the Junior National meet in 2010 and was adjudged the best boxer at this meet.
Amila’s boxing career almost came to a standstill as he was on the verge of giving it up due to financial constraints. It was during this period that he found a savior in Dian Gomes who as mentioned has left no stone unturned to take boxing to great heights.
Dian came to the rescue of Amila and absorbed him into Slimline giving him employment as a trainee HR Executive at MAS Slimline in Pannala. It opened up the gate for Amila to continue his boxing career.
With Slimline BC being the hub where the sport of boxing is concerned, it was blessing in disguise for Amila got back into action again and put in his dedication and determination back in stride.
The facilities and the state of the art gymnasium along with some of the fine trainers available made things easy for Amila. Having joined Slimline his first meet was the Novice Championship last year where he came out with flying colors and later bagged a silver medal at the Intermediate championship.
The performances gave him an opportunity to participate at the Layton Cup meet which was going to be a trial to select the boxer’s to represent Sri Lanka at the 2nd Shaheed Benazir Bhutto meet in Pakistan.
He came out with success at the Layton Cup meet which ensured his place to participate in Pakistan. Along with Amila there were nine other boxers who took part in all the weight categories that were contested. The tournament saw 23 countries taking part.Apart from Amila the other boxers were able to reach up to the quarter finals before bowing out of contention. But even then they made their presence felt as they competed with much more experience boxers.
Amila was unfortunate to lose in the semi finals to the Mongolian champion which assured him a silver medal. But the bronze medal that he won in his first ever international boxing meet would have done him good for the future.
Amila’s success is a shining example and proof that raw talent is their in the lesser known areas. He established the concept of regional development programme introduced by the ABA with the aim of scouting hidden talent in the rural areas.
So the fruits of success and the visions of boxing fanatic Dian Gomes is slowly but surely reaping. Further though not being involved with the administration Dian is a man behind the scene, supporting the boxing fraternity by raking in the sponsors with the sole aim and purpose of development of boxing around the island.
Dian’s focus on the development of boxing has no doubt benefited many aspiring men and women in rural areas who otherwise would have to end their careers and wasting their talent.
The success of Amila Nuwan within a space of two years speaks volumes and should no doubt inspire more youngsters who are looking forward to reach greater heights in the sport of boxing in time to come.