Spring time for Thurstan’s boxing revival | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Spring time for Thurstan’s boxing revival

A boxer at the first day of training is put through a session during Thurstan’s revival of boxing
A boxer at the first day of training is put through a session during Thurstan’s revival of boxing

Wednesday January 16, 2019 will go down in the annals of Thurstan College, Colombo as a red letter day when boxing was restarted in the school after a long lapse of 20 years marking a dream come true for past boxers of the school who shed blood and tears to bring glory to their alma mater in the ring to see a new generation taking up the gauntlet.

A force to be reckoned with during the 70s and 80s, Thurstan College produced many outstanding boxers who shone at national and international level before the sport died a natural death in the late 90s after the departure of their long-time mentor Donald Munasinghe.

Despite several efforts to revive the sport in the past, it finally became a reality this year after months of planning thanks to the enthusiasm of old boys and the school authorities.

One of Munasinghe’s finest products retired Major Mahinda Hettiarachchi was instrumental in coordinating the revival of boxing at Thurstan College after organizing a get together of past boxers who represented the school on the initiative of a former Sri Lanka boxer Dushantha Kiriella last year.

“We were fortunate to find a teacher to be in-charge of boxing. After that I had to find a suitable person to coach. Allaam Ousman, a former Royal boxing coach, kindly consented to my personal request to take over as head coach. We hope to conduct a boxing camp and also have an inter-House meet to pick a pool of talented players to take part in school tournaments,”said Hettiarachchi, who won the Stubbs Shield inter-school championship for an unprecedented seven years.

“There has been a tremendous response from children when we announced that boxing practices were to commence on January 16. We received many applications from students interested in boxing. Most of them are already into other sports like rugby, cricket, handball and swimming. Boxing will add more muscle to their portfolio,” said Dilani Samarasekera, Thurstan College’s Teacher-in-charge of boxing after the first day of practice which began with a religious ceremony.

“Today is a historic day for Thurstan College boxing. I am happy to see students learning boxing like we began more than 20 years ago.Today we have a dozen attending practices. This is a new beginning. Once word gets around, I am sure there will be more students coming for training,” said Kiran Kudaligama, one of several past boxers who were present to give encouragement to the new generation of boxers.

Boxing was officially launched at Thurstan College on January 10 when a distinguished old boy of the school Major General Rukmal Dias, Commander of the Army Volunteer Force, presented boxing equipment to be used by aspiring pugilists in the school while a former boxing captain Upul Shantha donated a cheque for Rs.100,000 to the Principal Lakshman Dias. Several past boxers who also formed the Thurstan Boxing Club were also present.

“We are very eager to take part once again in major school meets in the future beginning with the L.V. Jayaweera meet. We are very positive that the school authorities will give us their fullest support to help us achieve glorious heights in boxing,” said Maj. Gen. Dias who heads the Thurstan Boxing Club which also comprises Nilan Perera, Prasad Gunasekera and Priyantha de Silva.