ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46

Bogollagama explains his stand

By Harry Jayachandra

Janaka Bogollagama

The Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) has been postponed indefinitely by the Minister of Sports, Gamini Lokuge amidst allegations and counter allegations.

Although the norm suggests that the President of the SLTA, is not contested for a period of two years, however, the turmoil began when another candidate Suresh Subramanium, came forward to take on the incumbent.

The Sunday Times spoke to the incumbent Janaka Bogollagama for his views on the situation and why he was prepared to contest if the need arose. He said; “At first I did not want to contest. But I got lots of calls asking me to continue in office for the good of the game. During the eleven months I have been in office we have launched a number of programmes and on reflection I decided it was my duty to see it through.”

Further elaborating he said, “The number one priority for me was to take the game to the outstations and this is an on going process. Last year we had a very successful mini tennis tournament in Kurunegala. I have also linked up with the Schools’ Tennis Association and asked them to give me school leavers. I have spoken to a number of big companies who are willing to offer employment to these school leavers so that they can continue their careers. And we hope to send the others for courses so that we could employ them as trainers. Qualified trainers are in short supply.”

He added that the, “programme in the outstations is important because as other sports have revealed, there is a wealth of talent waiting to be tapped.

I have personally spoken to members of various Provincial Councils and we hope to have many more mini tennis tournaments. Without keeping the game in Colombo, we want tennis to be played islandwide. And I have seen the popularity of the game increase by leaps and bounds.”

Up to now any major international tournament is held at the SLTA and Bogollagama said that would soon change.

“The Sinhalese Sports Club has renovated its courts and will soon be up to international standards. Together with the Mayor of Negombo, we have put in place the infrastructure to have tennis courts with all facilities.

Work is in progress and it should be ready by late next year. As you know tourists like the game as well. So if we were to have an international tournament in Negombo, it would be a major draw card for foreigners as well.”

There were rumours that an internal email had been got at and circulated. When questioned, Bogollagama said, “It was merely a personal draft from an Executive Committee member and why anybody would want to send that mail around is beyond my comprehension. As for the elections I would like to see them held as soon as possible because I am firm believer in democracy in any sphere.”

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