Weightlifting making a comeback | Sunday Observer

Weightlifting making a comeback

Weightlifting is one of the oldest sports which held sway in Kandy that produced several sportsmen who brought honor to their clubs, themselves and the country.

This is one of the prominent sports that could bring international fame to Sri Lanka if it is well supported.

The sport in Kandy prospered largely due to the immense support and helping hand extended by the Kandy YMCA who were backed by the National Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry.

Weightlifting was introduced to Sri Lanka as a sport in 1939 by an Englishman, who was a serviceman named GJP Hill at a trial contest at the Fort YMCA.

This was followed by Kandy YMCA, but soon it went bankrupt in 1954. Nine years later, in 1963, an organized and focused association was formed in the name of Sri Lanka Amateur Weight Lifting and Body Building Association. This association, like in 1939, conducted a trial meet for amateurs in 1963 which was continued until 1974. The same year, the bodybuilding section of the association broke away and formed the Sri Lanka Amateur Body Building Association which was, since 1977, called the Sri Lanka Weight Lifting Federation.

The Sri Lanka Weightlifting Federation is a member of all its senior federations like the Asian, Commonwealth and the International Body Building Federations. Since the Federation was formed, it expanded its activities to the four corners of the country with the help of the Ministry of Sports and the NOC.

Today, refreshing to note, weightlifting is catching up once again in a big way in schools. Even girls are interested in taking to this sport for recognition while the Services have taken to it in a big way. From the first bronze medal in 1982 up to the present, weightlifters have brought in many Silver and Bronze medals. Weightlifters have taken part at international meets from the 1982 Asian Games and in the 1984 Olympic Games.

In 1986 one of the lifters at the Commonwealth Championships in Malta won a Bronze Medal.

In the good old days, promoters such as SA Wijewickrema (senior and junior), A Dharmadasa and Mauirce Windus along with a few others did their best to promote this sport. When the sport was declining and on the verge of heading towards a natural death, the trio came forward and brought the sport back to its original status with great commitment and dedication. Today only SA Wijawickema (junior) is living.

There is another person the sport cannot forget in TSJ Packeer Ally, who is called the doyen of the iron sport. When weightlifting was revived after 40 years, the first team to tour overseas comprised GVA Croos (Bantam), SA Wijewickrema Jnr. (Feather), Mahesh Sabaratnam (Light), Niyaz Majeed (Middle) and WSK Perera (Light).

The team was managed by J. Ranasinghe while Pakeer Ally was the coach. He was also a FIFA qualified football coach. Linne Schoorman went as referee and the meet was in Peking, China.

When Baron Pierre de Coubertin revived the ancient Olympics in 1906, weightlifting was one of the six games in the Olympics. The essential difference between weightlifting and weight training is that the former is a standardized sport practiced widely, requiring skill as well as great strength.

Weight training is a basic form of exercise that may be needed by anyone, athlete or non-athlete. Rugby players are known to indulge in weight training.

Weightlifting can be seen as a requirement of different groups and individuals while participation in weightlifting could mean strengthening of health, increase of work ability and perhaps a longer life to some people.In weightlifting there are ten weight categories for men in competition and nine for women. Three attempts are given in the two-hand Snatch lift and three attempts for the two-hands Clean and Jerk lift and the winners are selected from the best totals in each category.

The essential difference between weightlifting and weight training is that the former is a standardized sport practiced widely, requiring skill as well as great strength.

Weight training is a basic form of exercise that is needed by anyone, athlete or non-athlete who wants to develop a full measure of strength to look at his or her best with superior physical fitness.

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