Lawmaker and law enforcer lock horns at hockey | Sunday Observer

Lawmaker and law enforcer lock horns at hockey

30 May, 2021
Rohana Dissanayake-SSP Kamal Pushpakumara
Rohana Dissanayake-SSP Kamal Pushpakumara

Two men, Kamal Pushpakumara, a senior superintendent of police and Rohana Dissanayake who is a member of parliament have decided to contest the top post of president at an election of the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation to be held on May 31.

Overall four candidates are in the fray for the top post but two of them Dharshana Wijesinghe and R. Maheswaran have pledged their support for Pushpakumara who says his vision is to make Sri Lanka the best team in Asia while promoting the game to become a popular sport in the whole country.

This is the first time that Pushpakumara is contesting a hockey election.

Pushpakumara said his mission is to elevate the level of hockey competitions in Sri Lanka by making available resources on par with international standards by facilitating the establishment of a professional body of umpires and technical officials.

“While my objectives typically encompass the elevation of the standard of hockey in Sri Lanka in no small way, it also encompasses the improvement of games among the citizenry of Sri Lanka through the development of awareness and provision of opportunity to learn the game.

“I understand that the past practice was to carry out activities periodically supported by occasional grants or concessions by the Ministry of Sports, international bodies and well-wishers. I recognize that these resources alone cannot sustain activities if it is to achieve its vision, unless with the assistance of an official sponsor.

“I have no doubt that Namal Rajapaksa the Minister of Sports will give his blessings and generous assistance to take this game to international level,” said Pushpakumara.

“At present it is observed that hockey has the potential to fast gain popularity in Sri Lanka and patronized by fans in Matale, Kandy, Wennappuwa, Colombo and other districts. Hockey is generating recognizable results in the international arena and Sri Lankan players too have the potential to achieve much better results.

“However, for this to become a reality our players and coaches need to have access to increased levels of professional tutelage, regular competition and nutrition. Development of hockey throughout the island will not only increase the probability of identifying exceptional players, but also serve to increase awareness for a healthy lifestyle,” added Pushpakumara.

He plans to put in place a school and district development programme in many parts of the island under the supervision of qualified Sri Lankan coaches with the guidance of the world and Asian bodies.

“As all major and international tournaments are played only on synthetic pitches, the need arises to have more synthetic pitches (Synthetic Astro Turf) in the country and at least one turf especially in Matale, Kandy, Wennappuwa, Jaffna, Badulla and Matara or Galle.

“Furthermore, the existing synthetic turf in Colombo which is worn out, should be immediately replaced,” said Pushpakumara.

Meanwhile former Hockey Association president Rohana Dissanayake started his hockey career at Vijaya College in Matale and later went on to play in mercantile tournaments.

He was the head of the hockey federation when Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh for the first time to win the bronze medal at a South Asian championship in Colombo.

Dissanayake said among his plans were to have more turf pitches and infrastructure facilities especially at district level and the establishment of a hockey academy that can pave the way for creating professional players.

“Today most of the associations are inactive only on paper. We should change this system. I think the present Sports Minister has a good vision to develop sports and I as an administrator as well as a Member of Parliament have always given my best to raise the standard of hockey and we should get together to develop this game further”, said Dissanayake.

Meanwhile P. Vishwanathan the present hockey chief will contest the secretary’s post while Thilnia Karunaratne, R. Maheswaran and T.B Basnayake also vie for the same post.

Former hockey association president, retired DIG Sumith Edirisinghe, will contest the vice president post and supports Dissanayake.