GOM of rowing Gerry Silva dies
APPRECIATION: Remember Gerry Silva, the Grand Old Man of Rowing and
Wrestling in Sri Lanka? Well, he passed away last Friday (February 15)
due to a heart ailment and his funeral takes place on Wednesday
(February 20) at the General Cemetery, Kanatte at 4 p.m.
He was 84 years of age. Gerry was a sportsman par excellence, not
only being a oarsman and wrestler, but also a cricketer, soccerite and
gymnast. For half a century, he was a member of the Colombo Rowing Club
(CRC) having joined it in 1958. He was responsible in forming the
Amateur Rowing Association of Sri Lanka (ARASL) in December 1964.
He was the first Secretary of the ARASL with C. H. L. Sirimanne
(father of Lloyd) as the President and Nalin Mendis of the Inland
Revenue Department, the Treasurer. He was President of the Colombo
Rowing Club too.
The late Gerry Silva started rowing in the 1950's after his
retirement from Government Service and participated in many regattas in
Colombo, and even privately on the River Thames in London. His best race
was in 1963 at the Harry Creasy Cup and the other carsmen included Dr.
L. A. W. Sirimanne, Dr. J. B. de Silva, Varuna Basnayake and Chula
He was also instrumental in forming the Asian Rowing Association in
Delhi, India in 1982 when he was the manager of Sri Lanka's rowing team
at the Asian Games.
Gerry started wresting when he was 14 years at the Pioneer WC under
the guidance of Thomas Dep and when he found employment at the
Department of Commerce and Industry, he joined the Central YMCA.
An old boy of St. Joseph's, Gerry, fought in almost every meet and
also against the Punjabis during World War II in both Colombo and India.
He fought in the Bantamweight. Flyweight and then 152 lbs and under
categories and dominated the scene with his brother Henry in the 1940's
He represented the country in 1962 at the World Wrestling
Championship in Helsinki and gave up the sport when he was 43 years. He
was a President of the Wrestling Federation, Life Member and an
International Judge cum Referee. Gerry started gymnastics at the Central
YMCA in the 1940's and was the first President of the Sri Lanka
Gymnastic Association in 1968.
He played Cricket for the Department of Commerce and Industries in
Government Services tournaments under the late Lucien de Zoysa and also
for Ceylonese Sports Club and Etceteras of Gampaha under the late
Orville Abeynaike (Ranil's father). He also played soccer for the
Department. The late Gerry Silva served in the National Olympic
Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka for 29 years without a break from 1956 to