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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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Government Gazette

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 Samarasinghe.

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 and 1950'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 1985.

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