Sri Lanka’s angel of netball and basketball bids farewell | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka’s angel of netball and basketball bids farewell

18 October, 2020
Kamala Kulatilake
Kamala Kulatilake

Kamala Kulatilake who was a versatile sportswoman and a Double International in netball and basketball passed away on September 18 after a celebrated career that spanned over 50 years.

She was a student of Presbyterian Girls School, Dehiwela and during her academic career she captained the Junior, Intermediate and Senior netball teams and was the Intermediate and Senior athletic champion too.

With many achievements as a player, coach, umpire and official in netball and basketball Kamala started her sports career by joining the Colombo Municipal Sports and Recreational Department as a sports instructor and supervisor. She represented and captained the Municipal teams with distinction.

From 1977-79 Kamala represented the Sri Lanka netball team at British Airways (Speed Birds) and in 1980 was vice captain of the Sri Lanka team which toured India.

In 1993 she represented the Colombo district team in Perth, Australia and in 1994 with the Western Province team in Brisbane, Australia.

Among her off-court functions Kamala was tournament secretary and assistant secretary of the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka and the vice president of the Western Province Netball Association.

From 1969 to 1990 Kamala represented and captained the Municipal team in basketball which won many All Island Championships and in 1967 she represented the Sri Lanka basketball team at the Nehru Gold Cup tournament held in India.

From 1976 to 1978 Kamala represented the Sri Lanka basketball team at the All India Basketball Tournament held in Kerala, India and in 1978 captained the Sri Lanka basketball team at the seventh ABC Championship held in Malaysia. She also represented the Sri Lanka basketball team at the eighth ABC Championship held in Hong Kong in 1980.

Under Kamala’s coaching guidance NDB Bank, Grindlays Bank, John Keells, Someswaran and Jayawickrema, Arthur Anderson and Company and Colombo Hilton were able to go places and win titles in domestic Leagues and tournaments. She also coached the Ladies’ College netball team. In basketball Kamala also coached the University of Kelaniya which emerged champions at the inter-university basketball tournament as well as St. Bridget’s Convent and the University of Sri Jayawardenapura which also ended as champs at the university tournament.

She was also an A Grade umpire in netball and a qualified coach who followed seminars in umpiring held in Malaysia in 997 and a Sports Administrators course for women conducted by the National Olympic Committee in 2000.

Kamala was a brilliant and a capable person indeed with tremendous work experience throughout her career. These were remarkable experiences which she enforced into teaching in the latter part of her career where it helped the students to achieve their goals and knowledge in sports in a wide spectrum.

She was a mother to the family and to Ladies’ College which she devoted her utmost precious time with unconditional love and care each moment to all of us which is unforgettable. There was an outpouring of emotions where grief, emptiness, sorrow and everything was expressed.

Kamala inevitably seemed headed for a long and fruitful career until that fateful day of September 18, 2020. May she attain Nirvana!

(By Kaushali Kulatilake)