good for the goose
S . R. Pathiravithana
Wheels within wheels! The athletic fraternity in this tiny island
seems to have solved yet another squabble but has it all secured
an ever lasting peace to this troubled sport?
thing is very evident! Either some interested parties are willingly
trying to push the game down to the abyss or the incumbent persons
in the athletic echelons are letting those disgruntled elements
take the sport to the dingy ally they desire!
latest upheaval is that a section of the athletic fraternity –
(I mean on the track) say that they cannot run at the next Asian
Championships if Businessman Kiran Atapattu was to accompany them
as manager since there has not been any contribution from him to
the sport or that he has never been an athlete himself. The result
was the three coaches – Sunil Gunawardena and Derwin Perera
( sprint) and Pari Liyanage ( Long distance ) pulling out of the
tour in protest.
veteran athletic administrator N.A.B. Jayasinghe is scheduled to
go as head of the delegation and Kiran Atapattu will be in the tour
squad as a congress delegate.
one way it is good as at present some wealthy persons are trying
to use their weight in gold to establish themselves in the social
strata as a this or that. It is good for the betterment of the sport
if it is done in the real sense of dedication to the sport. It has
happened to other sports as well and resulted in them suffering
in various ways.
at the same time, persons who are letting their kennels open must
also ponder if they had backed people of the same stature and got
them to act as heads of athletic contingents which have represented
the country on our own soil or on someone else’s in the past?
Or more to the point verify who first invited this particular person
to have his first taste of the track?
the question that comes into my mind is --is Kiran Atapattu the
first non-athlete to manage a national side abroad? If that is so
it is best to ask the relevant persons who were responsible for
promoting Kiran, to ask him to lie low, then you can avert creating
a precedence. That alone can solve a host of problems.
when you go through the mill there is dirt everywhere! It started
more than thirty years ago when the present super coach Sunil Gunawardena
and company were running for the country it was Tory Jayawardena
who managed that contingent to Tehran during the good old Shah days.
As far as I know Tory Jayawardena had never competed in athletics
on a recognizable scale.
Then in the 1990’s Ari Kannangara – a well known mercantile
executive in the calibre of Atapattu-was elected by a group of backers
for none other than, the president of the AAA. Had Ari Kannangara
taken part in athletics at a recognizable level? No.
is only then the question arises why isn’t that what is sauce
for the goose not sauce for the gander? Here is the point where
all these whiners go wrong. If some one had created a precedence
then another cannot be penalized doing the same. Another case has
been Senaka Keerthiratne the AAA treasurer who went in as the manager
for the SAF games and the list goes on longer.
lobbyists have not stopped at that, they even have brought out some
other personal accusations even about his character. Then when they
bring those personal accusations they too must go to the nearest
mirror and ask the question “Who’s the fairest of them
all?”. They say people living in glass houses must not …
the same time the other question that comes to our mind is what
right has the field players got to come out and protest against
any official? For instance whatever the upheavals there were in
the sphere of cricket the national players were in the middle doing
their job. They may have had their own preferences, but like true
professionals they were there right in the middle serving their
country. I feel that this should spread to all sports alike. Let
the men at the top handle the administration and let the players
in the middle bring honour to the country.
in other sports leaving aside athletics, persons who tried to get
into the fray were given a chance and when it was proved that they
had other interests rather than the health of the sport, there were
persons of authority who were at hand to stop them. In the democracy
prevailing in our country, people should have the freedom to prove
themselves right until they are proved wrong. That is how the machinery
of democracy works.
instance the late minister Gamini Dissanayake and Ana Punchihewa
were never cricketers themselves, but were administrators with exceptional
vision. It is only now that their contributions to the game of cricket
have really surfaced. Right now Sri Lanka is on the top pedestal
in the world of cricket and is the richest sport in the county by
far. At any time one could attribute the contribution these two
individuals made towards the ascendancy of the sport in the country.
a word of caution! It is we who seek our own destiny through our
witting or unwitting actions at some juncture of our lives. So whatever
decision that one takes it should be taken in a very balanced manner
because it is ourselves who will set the stage for future actors
to play their part.
Then.. The other side of the coin
On the flip side of the record the Musings asks as to why people
protest just for the sake of protesting? In the same manner there
are other questions also to be asked.
are 31 athletes selected to go on this pilgrimage to Korea. At the
same time there are thirteen officials also named by the supreme
council to accompany the contingent. The ratio is almost 2:1.
in the fold is that the ministry of sport has refused to bear the
cost of five of these officials including that of Messrs Kiran Atapattu
and Lakshman de Alwis. Besides this there is another top ranking
policeman named by JBT who is also trying to book a seat in the
plane. What a shame? If these people had an iota of love towards
the sport they would not seek to be where they are not wanted. The
rumors also state that the hierarchy is now seeking ways to bury
the expenses of these five within the other expenses and hush it
up. Oh! It stinks.
more question? If people can protest and pull out for one reason
why can’t they pullout on principle for a cause of this nature?
Only the bare essential must go. Keep the rest of the money for
the development of the sport.