Daily Archives: May 28, 2007
Jaffna Central College, one of the leading educational institutions in the north have also produced sportsman and sportswomen of the highest calibre.
By Bruce Maurice
One such product is K. Sathkunarajah who stamped his class as an outstanding athlete in the late 1950’s, specializing in the high jump event, and rising to national fame in this discipline. Even as a schoolboy, he showed ample promise of great deeds ahead when he became the undisputed champion at the Public Schools Meet soaring high to win the high jump event with ease.
In 1956, representing the Rest Team in the quadrangular meet against the Police, Army and Navy at Boosa, Sathkunarajah who was still a schoolboy created a sensation by clearing the dizzy height of six feet. As a matter of interest, the world record at that time was 6’ 11”. This feat of his was greatly instrumental in his joining the Police force as a sub inspector. This was in keeping with the Police maxim – “A good sportsman is always a good policeman.” Sathkunarajah was also the holder of the national high jump titles in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960. In 1960 Sathkunarajah established a new police record by clearing 6’ 1.5 “ which lasted for four decades and was bettered only in the year 2000. In the same meet he also won the 110 metres hurdles and was adjudged the Champion Police athlete.
His outstanding feats were not pushed under the carpet, and in 1960, he won his national colours when he was chosen for the national squad that toured Malaysia for the South East Asian Pentagular Games where he brought honour to Sri Lanka by winning the gold in his specialized event.
He also competed at national level against the touring All India team that included outstanding athletes – Milkha Singh and Ajith Singh. He remembers this meet which was held at the Colombo Oval and packed to capacity with spectators. The qualifying bar for the high jump event was set at 6’.1” and Sathkumarajah sailed over it in his first attempt. Milkha Singh the Indian ace was unable to do so as his leg dislodged the cross bar. However, Milkha Singh rallied to win this event with his next two jumps and Sathkunarajah had to be content with second place. He Also represented the Police with distinction in both tennis and basketball.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, this soft spoken and modest sportsman said that it was immense dedication coupled with vigorous training schedules that helped him to reach the top of his chosen sport.
Sathkunarajah also reached the top of his profession rising up to the rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police prior to his retirement. This speaks volumes for his diligence and commitment to his official duties ascending from a comparative junior rank of Sub Inspector to that of an elite DIG. Certainly one of a rare breed to have adorned the Police force.
We found Sathkunarajah to be the embodiment of what is described in army parlance as “an officer and a gentleman.” -Wijeya Newspapers
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Sri Lankan cricket’s governing body hit back at the national team’s chief selector yesterday, after his dismissal of last week’s one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi as “absolutely ridiculous.”
An official at Sri Lanka Cricket said they had sent two letters to Asantha de Mel, the chairman of selectors, expressing unhappiness over the way he has handled the team.
De Mel had pinned blamed on the governing body for hurriedly arranging the tour to sweltering Abu Dhabi so soon after a gruelling World Cup campaign in the West Indies.
“It is absolutely ridiculous. The board must look at the comforts of players rather than just going after money, money and more money,” De Mel had said earlier in the week.
Sri Lanka lost the series 2-1 but received $750,000 for taking part.
The governing body accused De Mel of allowing star players Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas and Kumar Sangakkara to travel to England to play county cricket prior to the tournament in Abu Dhabi.
“We needed them to play in Abu Dhabi and then go to England, but De Mel had given them permission to skip Abu Dhabi,” said an official from the body who requested anonymity.
“If player fatigue was one of de Mel’s concerns, how could he have approved the trio to play in England immediately after the World Cup?”
De Mel was unavailable for comment as he is currently overseas.
But a source close to him said the governing body appeared to dislike him because he acted independently.
An associate of the chief selector said he had been dropped from a proposed new team of selectors. De Mel’s selection panel completed its term on April 30.
Sri Lanka are also looking to appoint a successor to outgoing coach Tom Moody, whose last commitment was the tournament in Abu Dhabi. -SLC
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