A man with a sound track record in sports and sports administration, Parakrama Basnayake, has taken a new path with a clear ambition and mission. Basnayake, a name synonymous with Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) as one of its respected former Presidents and an active Vice President, took the reign of the Carrom Federation of [...]


Parakrama is set to slice through


Parakrama Basnayake is still studying on how to strengthen carrom for good

A man with a sound track record in sports and sports administration, Parakrama Basnayake, has taken a new path with a clear ambition and mission. Basnayake, a name synonymous with Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) as one of its respected former Presidents and an active Vice President, took the reign of the Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) earlier this week.

Basnayake is not an alien to sports or its administration. Over the years as an athlete and a productive administrator, he has earned immense respect in the local sports arena and has been triumphant in many of his ventures on and off the field. But this all new path, which may be somewhat uncustomary for the incumbent Director of Sri Lanka Customs, is not a challenge at all as he mentions.

“If you take anything optimistically and meticulously, you can perform wonders. This is a common theory for any type of management, success follows if we put the cogs in its correct places. This is what I intend to do with CFSL. I must say the start and the cooperation of the committee members have been overwhelming to begin with,” Basnayake, thoroughly impressed by the passion of the one-time defunct entity, stated.

Carrom has not been in an active mood for the past eight months many of its planned activities been blown away with the wind for reasons where the administration should be held responsible. The impediment of competitions began somewhere during April and transformed into a drought with almost all carrom players facing the ultimate backlash. Partially and technically a handful of keen officials, who were willing to hold competitions for the mere love of the game, too were pushed aside due to unexplained administrative reasons.

But Basnayake, being a practical man with a constructive attitude, intends to take matters from the scratch. His previous experiences at the SLBA as President, Vice President and an Executive Committee member and the incumbent Vice President of State Services Hockey Association and the head of Nationalised Services Carrom Association, puts Basnayake on the correct path despite CFSL being a new entity to him.

“From the moment I got the invitation, I did a thorough investigation and studied deeply on the facts and history of carrom and its existence in Sri Lanka. The impression I got was that, this is a sport where Sri Lanka has claimed World Championships in team and individual events, and that it has more potential than what is really depicted. To start things off I made up a simple plan and allocated people to the correct areas, so all were given a task to accomplish.

“My personal motto is that I have come to serve, promote and transform the game into a level that all could be proud of. Personal gains are never in my agenda, and that I imparted to all my fellow colleagues at SLCF, to which all unanimously agreed,” he added.

Basnayake, an active badminton player, is often seen at top local and global events

Basnayake, who was invited to take charge of CFSL by almost its entire fraternity regardless of differences, is adamant in his stand, totally neutral and unbiased. The new carrom boss, however, is pleased by the fact that the newly appointed CFSL officials had a cordial and productive Executive Committee meeting, days after the appointments.

“It all indicates that the new team is eager, more than me, to take carrom to the next level. It was clearly evident at our first meeting on Wednesday. That fact alone, makes me a proud individual and I’m really privileged by the fact that I get to lead such an enthusiastic bunch,” he revealed.

To begin matters, Basnayake made clear instructions to unfold the CFSL event calendar with a ‘Pre-National Championship’, which will be held for the first time in Sri Lanka’s carrom history. He then explained that other matters would follow gradually.

“I strongly believe that, to be consistent at international level as top performers, we should at least conduct 12 high profile tournaments, including the Nationals. In addition, we have already made provision to invite players from other countries to take part at certain tournaments. The 12, as I mentioned is the minimum count, I believe that we should at least have competitions every fortnight for a game like carrom, which its players need constant matches. This way the CFSL could open windows for other clubs and affiliates to conduct tournaments, provided the schedule of the annual calendar. This is a must when it comes to our next step, taking the game to schools and outstations,” Basnayake stressed.

Unlike popular sports, carrom seldom attracts sponsors, despite Sri Lanka claiming world titles since 2008. A sport that is being played around 35 countries across the globe, CFSL failed to continue links with the International Carrom Federation (ICF) based in Switzerland and the Asian Carrom Confederation (ACC) for the past eight months. But Basnayake and his team, soon as they were elected, made sure to restore all connections with the regional and global bodies, so that they could march forward in their mission locally.

“For a starter everything is beginning to fall in its perspective. There are committees, sub committees and working committees appointed with different tasks, where they have already begun to expedite mission. We even have sought help from the higher authorities in obtaining a permanent location for CFSL, where competitions could also be conducted. I must say, the response from top officials have been positive. Through me personal contacts, I reached out some establishments seeking sponsorships and here too I have received positive feedback from a few. It shows that carrom has potential in gaining international accolades as well as local support, but what were depicted over the recent past, has created a negative impact on the game. We are here to change that impression and I believe with the progress gained during the first few days, it will be a matter of oiling the machine and brushing off dust. And in return the CFSL has to work as a professional unit, which I believe, is already happening,” Basnayake explained.

Basnayake, a former alumni of Walala A. Ratnayake Central College and Science College Matale, comes out handy as an athlete who represented both schools in athletics, hockey, carrom, volleyball. He represented Sri Lanka in hockey and volleyball before craving into badminton where he is still active as a Masters’ player. Basnayake makes sure to take part at the World Police and Fire Games, which takes place biennially representing Sri Lanka as a shuttler. With his vast experience in sports administration, Basnayake focuses to make carrom a professional sport and its players, professionals, with a comprehensive blueprint.

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