Waidyatilleka was a true sportsman-AASL President

P.H.D.Waidyatilleka, President Athletic Technical Officials Association (ATOA), was felicitated at a ceremony held at the NYSC auditorium Maharagama , in conjunction with the certificate awarding ceremony of the Technical Officials Examination 2003.

Sunil Jayaweera, President Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL), was the Chief Guest at this occasion. Jayaweera said that Waidyatilleka had been a top athlete during his time and now a top administrator, Jayaweera also said that Waidyatilleka was dedicated official and above all a true sportsman. The athletic Chief also said at a time when sportsmanship is lacking Waidyatilleka was an example to the others. Waidyatilleka showed steadfast courage in decision making when, at the Paris World Championships, he disqualified Jon Drummond the American Superstar. Waidyatilleka stood by his decision when Drummond stalled the proceeding for nearly an hour. Waidyatilleka’s decision won the accolades of the higher officials of the IAAF.

R. A Siriapala, Vice President ATOA, also spoke of Waidyatilleka’s illustrious career at Richmond College Galle and later at Nalanda College and at the University of Ceylon. He had been an outstanding athlete and a bright student. The contribution of Waidyatilleke towards the upliftment of the standard of athletics and officiating in Sri Lanka was described as unique. As a Vice President of AASL and Chairman Technical Committee, Waidyatilleka conducts seminars in all districts and conducts exams annually. When the ATOA was formed in year 2000 Waidyatilleka was unanimously elected President, a post that he holds to date.

In 2000 Waidyatilleka streamlined the Technical Officials Education and Certification System and introduced a grading and promotion scheme for Technical Officials which was unanimously adopted by the AASL. This scheme has been in operation since then.

Siriapala further speaking about Waidyatilleka’s achievements in the technical field said he had won the first place in all exams he sat. He has come first in all IAAF exams he has faced. He achieved this grade in the Asian Technical Officials exam in 1997 and International Technical Officials Examination (ITO) in 2001. Waidyatilleka has been invited to conduct seminars overseas by the IAAF on several occasions.

As an ITO Waidyatilleka has had the privilege of officiating at prestigious events such as the Asian Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and World Masters Championships. He also holds positions in the Asian Athletic Association, Asian Masters Athletic Association and World Masters Athletic Association. (DR)