Death anniversaries of three Kandy sporting products | Sunday Observer

Death anniversaries of three Kandy sporting products

23 October, 2016

Kandy remembers three of its sporting products, Lionel Gamini Dissanayake, Weerasinghe Mallimarachchi and Dr. Gamini Wijesekara who departed 22 years ago this month, as a result of a bomb blast. Although they are no more, their memories will remain forever in the minds of all those who knew them. All three died on October 23, 1994.

Gamini Dissanayake

A great cricket promoter, his tragic death shattered all hopes and thwarted people’s dreams. Gamini was educated at Trinity College Kandy. Although his parents’ ambition was to make him an accountant, he pursued a career in law and practiced as a lawyer. He entered politics in 1970,

becoming an M.P. Almost immediately after he was unseated by an election petition he was re-elected to the Nuwara-Eliya/Maskeliya seat in a by-election held in 1972. He was keenly involved in politics and mixed with people of all walks of life, and was a master in promoting cricket. For cricket he did a lot, and was responsible in getting ICC full membership.

It was he who argued Sri Lanka’s case for admittance to the ICC as a full member at the ICC meeting at Lord’s in August 1981, which saw Sri Lanka granted Test status. Gamini was elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket now known as Sri Lanka Cricket in 1981, he helped the game in a big way. It was under his guidance the Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation was formed and he was the first chairperson of the Board of Trustees. In 1994 once again he was nominated by Kandy DCA, for presidency. He took over from late Tyronne Fernando. During his tenure as president of the BCCL Sri Lanka recorded her maiden victory in Test cricket against India at the P. Sara Stadium on September 14. 1985 and followed it up by beating Pakistan in the second

Test at the CCC grounds in March 1986. In April 1986 Sri Lanka won the prestigious Asia Cup by beating Imran Khan’s Pakistan team at the SSC grounds under the captaincy of Duleep Mendis. Gamini was responsible for the construction of the headquarters of Sri Lanka Cricket, Indoor complex at NCC grounds, and he transformed the historic Trinity College Asgiriya grounds into a Test venue. For the benefit of the cricketers, he invited Les Lenham, Garfield Sobers as coaches in early 1980s. Gamini also invited Dr Rudi Webster, the famous sports psychologist to address our first Test team on ‘motivation, concentration, pressure leadership’.

Weerasinghe Mallimarachchi

Another product of Kandy, from a very humble family, who loved football, gave off his best for the game. He was one time the president of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka and at the time of his death he was in the committee. “Malli”, as he was popularly known, was a peerless organizer. There was nothing insurmountable for him. What looked colossal to us was so casual to him. He had a warm and a generous heart and would go out of his way to help sportsmen, but his special concern was about those friends unfortunately placed in life. To these people, “Malli” was a real friend.

Dr. Gamini Wijesekera

He too started his life in Kandy as a schoolboy where he excelled in cricket for St. Sylvester’s. He was also at Ananda College and Trinity College. At the time of his death he was the vice president of the BCCSL and secretary of the UNP. His pet sport was cricket. He was also the vice

president to Tyronne Fernando who was then president.