A department with a proud record

77th Police Inter-Division Athletic Meet in progress

by Priyantha Jayakody

Supdt. of Police

Director, Police Sports Division

Police Sports Club, one of the renowned and the oldest sporting entities in the island, celebrates its 145th Anniversary. The club has produced a large number of top sportsmen and women who have brought honour to both the Police and the nation.

Established on September 3, 1866 as the Ceylon Police, it is now called Sri Lanka Police, after the island became a Republic.

It is only appropriate that we remember the sportsmen and sportswomen of yesteryear and the present, who have contributed and continue to contribute immensely, in the field of sports.

The first Police Athletic Meet was held in 1902, at the Race Course Grounds, under the stewardship of Major F. Knolleys, who later became the Inspector General of Police. The ‘Knolleys’ Shield is awarded to the Most Outstanding Sportsperson at the Police Athletic Meet. It is the oldest trophy in the Police Sports trophy case.

In the field of athletics, those who rose to fame are Piyadasa Fernando, C. C. Disanayake, ‘Brute’ Mahendran, Leslie Jayabandula, A. C. Dep, Ivan Botheju, T. Sathkunaraja, R. A. F. Perera, Premalal Weerasinghe, Chinniah Navaratnam, Nimal Fernando, Trevor Barthelot and Ranjith Subasinghe.

Of the present generation, Lasanthi Deepika Jayawardena, Shalitha Ramanayake, Sampath Pathirana, Nadeoshani Waragada and Mallika Chandrakanthi are among the most outstanding athletes.

D. W. Brindly, Malcom Spittle, Tommy Kelaart, V. P. Prince are considered to be the pioneers in Police cricket and who donned the All Ceylon Cap. In the next phase, we had T. B. Werapitiya, A. C. M. Lafir, Neil Weerasinghe, Herbert Begoet, L. M. P. de Silva, S. L. de Silva, Mithra Siriwardena, Duke Rajaratnam, A. C. Perera, Dhanasiri Weerasinghe, S. Sivaratnam, Jayantha Paranathala, Gamini Silva and Lawrence Amarasena. Tikiri Banda Kehelgamuwa was rated as one of the most feared quick bowlers.

Boxing is one of the sports which has brought glory and honour to the department, particularly in the mid 50s and 60s. The pugilists who excelled are, Eddie Gray, C. P. Jayasuriya, H. P. Jayasuriya, Sumith Liyanage, Dharmasiri Weerakone, P. C. Mahagedara, J. Thangavelu, Nimal Lewke, S. J. Sumanaweera, M. A. Jayalath, Masalamani Selvadorai and Victor Jayathilake.

Barny Henricus goes down in history as the first ever Sri Lankan boxer to win a gold medal in the bantam weight class at the Empire Games in 1938, now known as the Commonwealth Games.

Police rugby was once a household name among rugby fans. The bond between the department and Police rugby was so closely knitted during a certain period. The stalwarts who dominated in the most rugged sports are; S. Sivendran, Abdul Majeed, Anton Benedict, R. P. Linton, Muni Gomes, Rodney Aluvihare, Terry Williams, B. Sourjah, Daya Jayasundara, Bandula Wijesinghe, Ibrahim Hamid, Sunil Perera, M. R. Nazeeb, Nizam Jamaldeen, Nizam Hajireen, Judy Preena, Rohan Gunaratne, Nimal Lewke, M. H. Marso, Palitha Siriwardena, Roger Rodrigo, Nilantha Lakshmiwewa, Lalith Leelaratne, S. A. Jayaratne and the late Charles Wijewardene. Police rugby proudly holds the record of being the League champions from 1984 to 1989. In 1985 and 1989, they were the triple champions.

Football is yet another sport where the Police have won several national level tournaments. The department produced several outstanding players of the caliber of Kanthi Pussella, B. Sourjah, Nijam Hajireen, Harold Anthony, S. Sivaratnam, T. Wanigaratnam, Azeez Bawa, Bernard De Silva, Clement de Silva, Judy Preena, Palitha Nawagalage and J. Hashimdeen. Among the present players, Nadeeka Pushpakumara is in the forefront among the men while Shanika Rajapakse, Shahsika Rammi, Ayesha Sandamali and Anusha Dilani have been brilliant in women’s football.

Leslie Rupasinghe and Wasantha Kumara Fernando were outstanding cyclists, while Suranga Lakmal who has excelled in archery is now training to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

Among the outstanding volleyball players are; Wijaya Amarasinghe, Jayantha Perera and Hector Dharmasiri.

Latha Liyanage has been an outstanding female spiker. The splendid performance by Viraji Chamarika, at the 2011 World Netball Championship, needs a special mention.

Those who did the department proud in martial arts are W. Godwin, Chaminda Gunasekara and Ajith Hapuarachchi, while S. Samanthi was the dominant female.

In the field of life saving, the highest trophy awarded to this rescue sport has been retained by the Police for several years.

The Police produced several national and international shooters in rifle and pistol shooting. Among them are, M. D. Perera, Muni Gomes, G. S. Walgama, Ranjith Premasiri, Gratian Walter, J. Poddalgoda, Soma Kumarasinghe, Rupalatha Dehideniya and E. N. Pabawathi.

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