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NOCSL’s untiring efforts to promote Olympic Journalism in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka print media team. Jithendra Prasad (Sports Journalist, Veerakesari), Dinushki Ranasinghe (ThePapare.com), Haritha Perera (sportswithharitha.com), Prince Gunasekara (Sports Editor, Dinamina), Thusith Wijedoru (Photographer, [email protected]), yours truly, Shehan Daniel (Associate Sports Editor, Daily Mirror), Wichithra Weerasinghe (Senior Sports Journalist, Mawbima) and Sanjeewa Dharmasena (Sports Journalist, Ada and Lankadeepa).

TOKYO, August 9 – The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) has come a long way since they had their so-called Headquarters at the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Head Office in Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2.

Then NOCSL Secretary General, Prema Pinnawela was the General Manager at Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and with the blessings of then ICSL Management, he used his posh office room there for all NOCSL activities.

Pinnawela and the then President the late Roy de Silva headed the NOCSL for a long duration, mostly managing the affairs from the SLIC Headquarters.

The Administrative Secretary, the late Michael Karunatillake, veteran commentator, did a splendid job during that period and even when the NOCSL Headquarters was later moved to a more spacious office at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.

Olympic Journalism was not a broad subject in Sri Lanka then but yours truly was fortunate to be educated at the International Olympic Academy (IOA), affiliated to the University of Athens.

But the IOA was situated in Athena, some 290km off Athens, the capital of Greece. In fact, it is the same place where the Olympic Torch is first lit once in four years before the customary torch relay starts.

Among the eminent Sri Lankan sports administrators to undergo special training at the IOA are former NOCSL Secretary General, Commander (Rtd) H. U. Silva and former Sri Lanka Athletic Chief, Rear Admiral (Rtd), Dr. Shemal Fernando.

Covering the Olympic Games as journalists was not common in the early days. The media quota given to Sri Lanka by the IOC was just one until the 1980s.

The late Dr. Elmo Rodrigopulle, who was the Sports Editor of the then Daily Mirror, covered the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Flashback: Yours truly Dinesh Weerawansa at the International Olympic Academy

He was the Associate Editor (Sports) of the Sunday Observer at the time of his death last month.

The 1988 Seoul Olympics was covered by the Associate Editor/Sports Editor of Divaina Asoka Goonetilake, who went on to cover six Olympic Games before he retired from the Divaina.

Only during 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games that the media quota for Sri Lanka became two with Goonetilake and yours truly took part.

Subsequently, this quota was increased to four during the tenure of NOCSL President Hemasiri Fernando who was instrumental in taking the Sri Lanka Olympic movement to its current headquarters – the Olympic House.

But the current NOCSL management headed by the President Suresh Subramaniam and Secretary General Maxwell de Silva, have used their good office to secure 14 media slots – nine journalists and five television members from Rupavahini.

It was a great victory for Sri Lanka, from the media point of view, at a time the IOC restricted their quotas when the Olympic Games were held under the most difficult circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The nine-member print media team now in Tokyo, Japan included Jithendra Prasad (Sports Journalist, Veerakesari), Dinushki Ranasinghe (ThePapare.com), Haritha Perera (sportswithharitha.com), Prince Gunasekara (Sports Editor, Dinamina), Thusith Wijedoru (Photographer, [email protected]), Shehan Daniel (Associate Sports Editor, Daily Mirror), Wichithra Weerasinghe (Senior Sports Journalist, Mawbima), Sanjeewa Dharmasena (Sports Journalist, Ada and Lankadeepa) and yours truly.

Well-known cricket commentator, Thomian and BRC cricketer Haritha Perera, who is covering the Olympics for his website sportswithharitha.com is one of the most experienced in the media team along with the Sports Editor of Dinamina, Prince Gunasekara, who is covering his third Olympic Games, having been to the London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.

After all, it was nice to bring the very latest from the Olympic front for three weeks amidst very tiring conditions, especially due to COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed performing our duties to the maximum.

Source DailyNews
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