Eager to continue his own ‘code of conduct’ where there are no special friends and all are treated in equal terms, when it comes to sports, Suresh Subramaniam succeeded another term in office as the President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC)  with the majority backing his work ethics. With the NOC [...]


Sport is bigger than anyone

— Subramaniam

Suresh Subramaniam will continue to lead NOC another term

Eager to continue his own ‘code of conduct’ where there are no special friends and all are treated in equal terms, when it comes to sports, Suresh Subramaniam succeeded another term in office as the President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC)  with the majority backing his work ethics.

With the NOC elections now done and dusted, against an opposition in the form of Major General (retired) Palitha Fernando, the current president of Sri Lanka Athletics, Subramaniam was of the view that the practices he introduced, should continue despite who takes over. But eventually it was on his shoulders that the responsibility was laid on again by the membership.

“It’s not about the individual. The candidacy is about what you can do to sport, and not what you gain. Sport is bigger than me or anyone else, I’m just a small cog in this machine. Four years ago, many laid the trust on me, and I delivered,” contended with what he was able to initiate and adhere in his first tenure, Subramaniam told the Sunday Times.

Unknown to many in the public circle, but famous among the sporting fraternity for his ‘code of conduct’ that put Sri Lanka tennis to its present echelons, both in competitions and administration, Subramaniam took the helm of NOC in February 2018, as a total stranger to its setup. But his immense skills in management and administration, and his experience as a former President of Sri Lanka Tennis Association from 2002 to 2007 and then later a Vice President, all he had to do was follow the basics.

“I’m someone who does not believe in friends or friendships when it comes to work. Friends are good for camaraderie and companionship. I did not come here to interpret the rules, I came here to enforce the rules. I treat everyone, even they are friends or not, alike, because I have no interest in a personal level. I need clean people to work with me and that’s how the NOC has been operating during the past three years and above,” he asserted, refuting claims of the need to cleanup NOC from corruption, by a section of its affiliations.

“Cleaning up is the same thing I did. Some, unfortunately, talk big, but under me, the NOC has been running in the proper manner that it should be run. We are answerable to higher authorities as well as all sports associations affiliated, and we should be in the correct side. There may have been flaws from previous administrations, but under me, NOC is running in the proper way, to a definite plan and target. So far we have been successful and hope we continue in the same manner, perhaps even better.”

Among few of many initiatives that came to action during Subramaniam’s first tenure was the introduction of the High Performance Programme, negotiating scholarships for athletes who have the potential of winning medals, and above all making all members of its affiliations, friends or foes of what their opinions or choices may be, to work in unison towards a common goal.

“We can brag of the list of work we have done during this period, but my purpose will be defeated if we fail in our vision and mission — that is to produce an Olympic medal in the next or following event. We should earn our places on merit, not by invites or wild cards. That’s the key focus I had since the day I entered NOC,” he explained.

Putting that in the fore, Subramaniam and his team formed sub-committees that would focus on specific areas that puts athletes as the most important component. Their intention is to identify the medal prospects in each sport, and nurture them with the long term vision of winning medals at global events such as Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic games.

To bolster the plan, the present NOC administration has signed many MoUs (memorandum of understanding) with IOC member countries, to train local athletes who possess such potential.

In addition Subramaniam and his team has put the house in order, maintaining checks and balances, audit reports and other documentations, while preserving transparency in its activities.

The ended year, as told by Subramaniam, NOC became richer by Rs.19 million and expects a gain of Rs. 25 million in the year to come, while boasting of a handsome kitty.

“I go by the sport I play, I won’t change the winning combinations. Last four years, we did a lot of work that would benefit Sri Lanka in the long run. We didn’t have any flaws, I can guarantee that.”

Subramaniam’s core interest is to maintain discipline among fellow members of the administration, in a proper working environment where all have the equal say. The present administration have even keenly assisting officials, in addition to athletes, to gain knowledge through workshops and programmes conducted by the regional body AOC and the IOC, which in turn would help them become more comprehensive and versatile in their honorary positions at their respective associations and federations.

“We should learn from other nations that are small, but impressive at top level. We need to train our athletes with proper protocols and above all, discipline. For that administrators should be compatible. As for me I love sports, that’s the reason why I contribute this much with my time, energy and finance. End of the day, I can walk with my head held high if the sport is running in the proper manner with what I contributed,” summing up his end motive, Subramaniam said.

With the election now becoming a thing in the past, Subramaniam’s popularity has grown immensely as an faultless administrator, when he obtained 21 votes against 12 received by his rival, Maj. Gen. (rtd) Palitha Fernando. As opposed to 2018, where he obtained 18 against his then rival Rohan Fernando’s 12, it could be considered an improvement.

“My way of conducting work is different from others, perhaps. I’m a taskmaster, and the number of votes signifies how I work, and how much I have worked without any expectations in return. That gives me the energy to go towards our set goals — winning medals at Commonwealth Games and in specific, the Olympics. I, along with my team, will continue all the hard work to achieve it,” he stated with confident.

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