to referee at Jnr. Boys World Squash C' ship
Munir Shah Referees' Director of the Asian Squash Federation, from
Singapore, was here to conduct a Referees' clinic. It was held at
the Hotel Taj Samudra. Shah was assigned by the Asian Federation
to educate the local Refs. on the rules of officiating that came
into effect from year 2001.
squash players, present referees and coaches attended this seminar.
It was conducted in the electronic (video) and print media including
practicals. After its completion, a written test, too was held.
The markers, too was invited to attend this clinic. According to
Oliver Guruge, the rules will be translated to Sinhala for the markers
to study and learn the latent rules.
All those who
have successfully followed it after the written test were eligible
for a certificate from the Asian Squash Federation. Shah was interviewed
by The Sunday Times prior to his departure.
He said he was
impressed by those who attended the clinic. They are intelligent
and the questions they asked went on to prove they have the knowledge
and on and off the courts.
Japan was the
highest with 45 attending a clinic of this nature. But Sri Lanka
is the second best. In any other country in Asia barring Japan -
not more than 25 attended he said.
It augurs well
for the future of the sport. Your Federation is giving the option
to the Markers, too. Without doubt they are the backbone for the
development of the sport at grassroots level. Most of the International
players are harnessed from them. Even Lankans are not short of them.
barrier. Guruge and Lt. Col. Tissa Jayasinghe should be commended
- both qualified refs., for translating the rules to Sinhala. Sha
had a media discussion on Saturday at the Taj Samudra (Aug. 10 ),
in association with Deegeyu Abeynayake a senior official. Muni,
made his personal observations about the facilities afforded at
the courts within and in the outstations (hotels) clubs and in the
Services. He was satisfied with the facilities. The sport is fast
developing with more participants especially among the schools.
More competition means more playing opportunities for the youngsters.
can't wait for the Open Ranking Squash Tournament 2002," he
said. The event is co-sponsored by Connaissance Group and Hotel
Lanka Oberoi and will beheld from Aug. 17 to 25.
will be back here in December for Christmas after the Junior Boys
World Championship to be staged in Chennai (Madras) from Dec. 3-14"
adding, "Some of the qualified local referees will be invited
to officiate at this championship. They are good and an exposure
for them at the highest level," Shah said.- BW
sweated it out through thick and thin
By Aubrey Kuruppu
Walking around the ample, spacious premises at the Sugathadasa stadium
last weekend, I encountered a dark, balding person whose face looked
positively familiar. On closer scrutiny, and after double checking
I found to my astonishment that he was one of Sri Lanka's best-ever
sprinters, a national champion many times over, and an athlete who
had represented his country with great distinction on many a foreign
his sprinting prowess in full measure at Alawwa Central, Wickremasinghe
Wimaladasa (for that is the great man's name) duly found employment
in the Sri Lanka Army. National champion in the 100 and 200 metres
in 1964 and 1965, Wimaladasa was selected for the 1966 Asian Games
in Bangkok. Injured prior to departure, he had a recurrence of the
injury during his race and pulled out. He missed the whole of the
1967 season due to this injury.
Words of wisdom
spoken to him by sporting Doctors H.S.R Gunawardena and Brigadier
Thurairajah made Wimaladasa change to the 400 metres in 1968. His
success was immediate, as he lowered the record (49.8) held by Lakshman
de Alwis and Darrel Lieverz. The time he returned was 48.7. He improved
on this marginally at the Singapore Nationals, striking out for
the Gold medal in 48.6. However he recorded his best timing of 47.4
at the Thai Nationals not long after.
A Silver medal
in the 400 metres at the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok is a much cherished
prize. He was also part of the quartette in the longer relay: the
others being Derwin Perera, Bandula Jayasinghe, Sunil Jayaweera
(and his brother-in-law) Prasad Perera. Wimaladasa returned a time
of 46.7 secs. for his Silver, while Japan's Yesihari Tomonogo won
the Gold in 46.6 secs.
Some much needed
training was provided to him, courtesy a nine-month programme in
Leipzig, Germany. While there, he ran in six international meets,
winning the 400 metres event in five of them, with a time of 46.6
secs. Prior to the 1972 Munich Olympics, Wimaladasa underwent further
training. This time it was for six months at Cologne. He had to
run in all three sprint events and returned good times in the 100
(10.3, 10.4), the 200 (21.3, 21,4) and the 400 (46.41).
the crowning moment of his career came in the 1974 Asian Games at
Teheran where he beat Iran's Reza Entazari to win Gold in the 400
metres, clocking 46.21 secs, a new Asian Games record. Another Gold
medal, another Asian Games record followed a day or two later when
A. Premachandra, Kosala Sahabandu, Sunil Gunawardena and Wimaladasa
scorched their way to the tape in 3 mts. 7.09 secs in the longer
Olympics beckoned in 1976 and, with the boycott by some countries,
his chances of a medal were not all that remote. Long distance runner
S.L.B. Rosa and Wimaladasa were duly selected but unfortunately
they were not sent because of the critical foreign exchange situation.
This was the last straw for Wimaladasa, the one that broke the camel's
back. Disappointed, dejected and utterly frustrated, Wimaladasa
threw in the towel. He retired at the peak of his powers with at
least two good years still left in him.
a Lance Corporal in the Gemunu Watch Regiment, was promoted to the
Rank of Class I Warrant Officer after his double Gold medal performance
in 1974. Subsequently, he successfully completed his Army Exams
and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Wimaladasa has gone back to
his roots, as it were, and spends his retirement in Alawwa. He remembers
with gratitude the efforts of Brig. Halangoda and the late Colonel
Willie Balthazar to convert him from an athlete of promise to an
internationally successful one.
thoughts on the current athletics scene, Wimaladasa who was the
Deputy Manager of the Sri Lankan team at last week's Asian Athletic
Championships, is sad about the indiscipline of some present-day
athletes. "They should set an example to the young ones who
will follow in thier footsteps," he says.
sceptical about the proliferation of coaches. "Everyone cannot
be a Coach". He feels that factionalism among officials is
holding back the development of the sport.
of old (in Roman history), Wickremasinghe Wimaladasa has gone back
to Alawwa to spend his retirement. He belonged to an age where athletes
had to really sweat it out, endure through thick and thin, for little
or no reward. A far cry from the lavish rewards heaped on today's
champion athletes. Would that there be a few more Wimaladasas!!
Pradeep Basnayake the pride of Trinity College rugby
Champion among champions
By Bernie Wijesekera
Dusky Pradeep Basnayake, Sri Lanka's ace second-row forward and
a basketball player of repute has represented the country in both
sports. He is a pride of Trinity College, Kandy.
made a name for rugby and has produced some of the best for the
country. Pradeep, who is leading Kandy SC this season is one of
them. He has led the White Shirts from the front this season to
remain unbeaten and assured them of winning the league championship,
after their hard fought win over the Army at Nittawela.
In a bruising
battle KSC were tackled to a standstill by the rugged soldiers -
the best match on this venue this season. In the end Sanjeewa Jayasinghe,
the hard-running winger suffered a serious ankle injury when he
crashed over the corner flag.
was interviewed by The Sunday Times on the eve of their final league
game against the CR, at Longden Place (August 17).
Rugby was my
first love. Got into the scrum as a junior (Under-15). Learnt the
skills slowly, but surely. Never looked back since then. At the
senior level the team was coached by Lohan Ratwatte and Janaka Kiridena
and progressed through determination. My parents gave me all the
support and encouragement. I played for the First XV from 1994-95.
Won rugby colours in 1994, and the 'Lion in 1995, under Haris Omar.
I was Omar's deputy. It was a golden year for Trinity rugby (1995).
We won the Bradby against Royal. 1st-leg 6-3 and the second 22-6.
Today both of us are playing together for Kandy SC and for Sri Lanka.
What has rugby
taught you on and off the field. Play the game clean and hard for
all to enjoy. Maintain the spirit of the game at all times. Everything
is forgotten after the match. It is the game that matters.
Rugby is a beautiful
sport. There is more rugby off the field than on the field. The
outcome is secondary I agree. Concentrate on the game whilst on
the field and keep your eyes on the ball. Playing at Nittawela there
is plenty of noise coming from the fans. This include bouquets and
brickbats. Take no notice. No crowd means no rugby. No point playing
to empty stands, said Pradeep.
When did you
start playing in the big league? In 1996, for Kandy SC as a second
row forward. Never changed clubs, even if there were ups and downs
on and off the field. Give of your best and pave the way for others
to continue the good work, Basnayake said.
happiest moment in your rugby career. Playing for Kandy under Haris
Omar when the club won the treble - the Club 7s, the League and
the Clifford Cup. Today I am leading the side. Haris is playing
under me and giving me all support. With all my team mates rallying
around. Kandy won the Club 7s, and retained the Caltex 'A' league.
If I could lead them to win the Clifford Cup, it will be great.
It could be achieved . If I do that, I will be repeating Omar's
feat in 1999. If I fail, then I will be happy with what I have achieved.
Trophies are secondary. The game has to be developed at national
Who is your
International rugby idol? John IIIs, the Aussie second row forward.
Who inspired you whilst playing for Kandy, in the big league, Priyantha
Ekanayake. With his charming ways and understanding he further improved
my tactical play as a second rower. Priyantha, himself was a 'look'
What was your
first overseas tour? The Junior Asiad in 1995 along with Haris Omar
as schoolboys doing proud for Trinity. Played for Sri Lanka in 1998
and has been a regular member since then. Basketball, too helped
me immensely to hit the top in rugby. Captained the school in 1994.
Was a member of the Sri Lankan team as a schoolboy from 1992-'94.
What is your
saddest moment in your life. In the wake of happiness sorrow followed.
At the height of my career I lost my father. He was my guiding light.
Now my mother is looking to my needs. She insists that a good name
is better than riches. I will always strive to adhere to that.
At present I
am employed at Sampath Bank. I am thankful to the hierarchy for
giving me all the support to continue my sports career (rugby).
In turn I give my loyalty to the institution at all times. After
rugby what. If I have a professional background then I have something
to fall back, Basnayake said.