Right of reply


Article by Shanaka Jayawardena – “If you are a Cricketer Fine, Tennis has no place Laments – Harshana Godamanne” This refers to the lead article which appeared in the Sunday Times of 20th Sept. 09 Subsequent to an interview with Harshana, which in our view had not given the governing body a fair chance to provide the readers a balanced view for their own decision making purpose.

Tennis as you know is an individual sport and professional and players like Harshana played on the circuit as individuals. This is the criteria in any country and it is necessary to play ATP tournaments and earn ranking points to go up the ladder which is not an easy task. No country or no Individual Association could fund any single player to play the tour.

SLTA on its part had helped players in getting wild cards due to our close rapport in the region with Tennis Associations which had helped not only Harshana but Renouk as well in the past, Mr. Suresh Subramaniam had helped our players in getting the required wild cards for juniors as well as for ITF satellite etc. We are very appreciative of Harshana as one player who put country before self and was proud to represent the country when his contemporaries decided to study in USA, which fact I as the President always made public.

I must also state that we have permitted all Davis Cup players to practice at the SLTA Courts Free of charge and provided all facilities within our means. As a policy SLTA cannot provide funding for any one individual and as the governing body for Tennis in the country, its mission is to promote the game Island wide which has been done by taking the game to the outstations.

We are very proud to state that, Dineshkanthan is a product of mini Tennis from Batticaloa. Jithmie and Amreetha are also products from mini Tennis. The recent success of Karandeniya in the public school 15 & U category is a clear example of taking the game to ‘Gamata’. Unless we broad base the game and produce many more Harshana’s we will not able to make any impact in the Tennis Arena.

The current Sports Minister Honourable Lokuge agreed to fund Harshana’s and Jithmie’s endeavors to get into the International arena but both sadly did not respond to the Minister’s call. Finally, as reported in your column the ATP tour is very competitive and requires commitment and funding initially to make an impact and we are very grateful to Harshana’s parents for making an attempt. He will be remembered by the SLTA and Ministry of Sports for his contribution to Tennis and Making us proud,”

Maxwell De Silva, President-SLTA

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