Following the dissolution of the Interim Committee in June last year, Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB) that has completed the first term amid the pandemic outbreak is looking forward to growing stronger.
With a robust Executive Committee led by the sports loving top corporate leader in Rohan de Silva, it will be focusing to keep badminton rolling once again as it was before.
Being the Chairman of McLarens Group of Companies Rohan de Silva is set to focus on reinforcing the administration and returning to local and international competitions. This will give the leading Sri Lankan players the opportunity to compete at the highest level that had eluded them for some time now. Many other countries had made good progress during this interim period.
De Silva has installed Trevor Reckerman as the CEO of SLB and together with an efficient team will deliver a strategic long term plan that quickly got into its stride.
Rohan de Silva’s own companies came in to sponsor the refurbishing work on the SLB headquarters at Maitland Place.
The premises now harbor a small Auditorium, three courts, a dormitory for overnight stay and a small cafeteria where the athletes can take their refreshments and meals. Physical training and medical support is extended by the Ministry of Sports.
Right from the word go, the senior and junior teams embarked on much needed overseas tours. As much as fifteen international tournaments were represented by top ranked national players led by Niluka Karunaratne, Sri Lanka’s most ranked international player seeking qualification to the Tokyo Olympics.
The Juniors participated in the World Junior Tournament in Russia while the Seniors gave a splendid performance at the SAG in Nepal, with the top women’s doubles pair, Thilini Hendahewa and Kavidi Sirimanna bringing back a historic Gold medal in addition to the several Silver and Bronze medals.
The local competitions also stepped up with SLB imposing higher standards of organization and performance. The Nationalized Services, the SSC Open, Western Province and National Tournaments drew an avalanche of entries and great spectator interest while SLB also ran an International Seniors Competition that drew participants from many countries.
Even when COVID-19 took its toll, SLB moved to revise its Constitution aimed at a broader national involvement in the sport. The transformation from a Provincial to a District structure is ably pursued by SLB Secretary General Mohan Wijesinghe who has done most of the hard work that should make this long awaited move a reality.
To cater to the growing numbers, SLB is also actively looking to develop a Centre of Excellence outside of Colombo. Namal Rajapaksa, the youthful Minister of Sports, an ardent badminton player and fan has offered a few attractive locations which SLB will examine shortly and take the first steps in developing for the future. So, it looks like all augers well for badminton players and fans.
A popular sport played by young and old both indoor and outdoor, it is the game that matters. Fortunately, badminton is endowed with a good team who love the sport and are committed to take it forward.