Legendary Roshan Mahanama irked by child misuse in sports | Sunday Observer

Legendary Roshan Mahanama irked by child misuse in sports

Roshan Mahanama flanked by his wife Jeeva is presented with a memento from former Wesley College principal MAP Fernando
Roshan Mahanama flanked by his wife Jeeva is presented with a memento from former Wesley College principal MAP Fernando

Former cricket World Cup champion Roshan Mahanama came down hard on the exploitation of children in sports and called for a complete halt to the syndrome that is forcing school goers to deviate from their aspirations to suit the whims and fancies of elders.

Mahanama, a member of the Sri Lanka World Cup winning team of 1996, is now a goodwill ambassador for several humanitarian organizations including Save the Children and a granddad at the age of 53.

“I am glad my parents allowed me to live my own dreams. Nowadays most parents live their dreams through their children,” Mahanama told a gathering of parents whose rugby-playing children from Wesley College were being felicitated for a successful season.

Mahanama’s remarks were not directed at any specific group, but were a generalization of the prevailing parental competition that he said was taking young boys and girls away from the norms of sportsmanship and values and creating a system that destroys their future.

“What is important is your upbringing, and values must be inculcated by parents and through the schools. Encourage your kids to control the controllable,” said Mahanama amid pin-drop silence.

Mahanama is considered one of the best role models for young sportsmen and his track record took him to the portals of the International Cricket Council (ICC) where he served as an elite panel match referee.

“For me the greatest honour working for the governing body (ICC) was that they recognized my honesty and integrity. I did not compromise on honesty, values, integrity, discipline and loyalty. For me money comes last,” said Mahanama.

As a frontline batsman and brilliant fielder Mahanama quit international cricket in 1999 and wrote a book titled ‘Retired Hurt’, a reference to the way he was mistreated.

Some of his team-mates and administrators down the ages had either being tainted, charged or found guilty of corruption and match-fixing and Mahanama was one of the players who maintained a clean image until he hung up his bat.

“I played in an era where match-fixing was at its best, but I did not succumb to any of those,” said Mahanam as he appealed to sportsmen to put team and country above what he called “personal achievements”.

 

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