Sporting sucesses of STF | Sunday Observer

Sporting sucesses of STF

Physical endurance and a formidable attitude are vital for any elite force, engaged in security and counter terrorism. The Police Service has a rich heritage in sports especially rugger. For more than 3 decades officers of the STF have brought recognition to Sri Lanka and the Police by their dedicated performance in the fields of athletics, cricket, swimming, boxing, karate, judo, taekwondo, firing (shooting events), badminton, soccer, volleyball and throw ball a relatively new event in our country. A sport builds healthy competition and importantly a spirit of teamwork and group dynamics.

Rugger has been the most popular of sports within the Police. Two of the pioneers within the STF who excelled in rugger are retired Senior DIG Nimal Lewke (also a rugby administrator) and present commandant Senior DIG M.R. Latiff. Today there are 8 men from the STF who play on the Police team, they are: IP Romesh Acharigae (represented Sri Lanka), SI Chanaka Sooriyaperuma, SI Lahiru Gurusinghe, SI Eshan Molagoda, constables Chaminda Nandasena, Nalin Edirisuriya,Priyanka Wijeratne and Manoj Silva.

Soccer is a keenly contested sport and the first team from STF consisted in 1987 – DIG Sarath Perera, DIG Padmasiri Munasinghe, ASP Sarath Silva, ASP Sarath Mahinda, ASP Sunil Perera and IP Upali Silva. Sadly 2 of these officers were killed in a bomb explosion in 1992.The in later years the soccer team was captained by SI. D.LK. Lankeshwara (2013-2015). The oldest sports cup in the police the T.Y.Wright was won by the team many times.

Swimming enhances your survival capability. The STF has produced some outstanding swimmers who are now attached to the Life Saving Unit. The duo includes IP Jayawardene and IP Lahiru Fernando. Lahiru is an outstanding swimmer who won a Gold medal at the South Asian Beach Games 2011, Bronze Medal in France and Presidents Award in 2015.

Rapid response is a vital element in Close Protection duty and the STF excels in Karate. The pioneer of this field was the late DIG Upali Sahabandhu. Other seniors are SP Athula Ratnayake, IP R.M.Kulatunga and IP Asanaka Jayaweera.

Two offers who have excelled at international level are IP K.D.B. Senarath who has won silver medals at World Police Games (2013 & 2015) Bronze in Malaysia and Gold at 2016 Asian championship. In 2014 IP D.P.Munasinghe won a place in the Best 8 in China, Gold medal in 2015 World Police Games USA (against 79 nations) and Presidents award in 2016.

Showing equal skill the force produced top winners in taekwondo. DIG Upali Sahabandhu introduced this sport in 1997 and trained ASP Kamal Fernando who won silver medals in Nepal and Malaysia, Chief Inspector Kumari (bronze medal- Nepal) Chief Inspector Dilhani (silver medal), SI Nilanthi Kumari (Gold and Bronze medal). Sergeant W.G.S.Hettiarachchi has won 15 Gold medals. Constables T.L. Weeratunga and S.Pradeep claimed bronze medals.

Another officer who distinguished himself was former commandant Dharmasiri Weerakoon. He was an aggressive boxer who took part in the Olympics at Rome. S.N.Gunaratne was another national boxing star from the STF who boxed at the Commonwealth Games. ASP Aruna Katugampola won a Silver medal at World Police Games in 2007.

Since 1989 athletics was steadily gaining popularity, although the men were engaged in counter terrorism operations. Those seniors were DIG R.W.Ranawana, DIG K.H.Jayaweera and DIG J.K.perera. In the recent past SI Sugath Wimaladharma and IP Ranjith Subasinghe also excelled. The present captain is IP W.A.T.Hemantha.

Marksmanship is second nature to the STF and they have a consistent firing team whose pioneer members include SSP Patrick Edema (retired), IP Divulwewa, ASP Faizal Hadjie and ASP R.M. Wimalaratne an expert in SWAT. Volley ball and cricket remain keenly contested. In keeping with evolving trends the police embraced Throw Ball in 2013 under SSP Varuna Jayasundera and played in India, the team was captained by IP Jeyakelum.

IP W.A.N.Wickramanayake is the solitary badminton player who won a Bronze medal at the World Police Games in 2015, USA. The present director of sports in the STF is SP Abeyakoon.