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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Government Gazette

Janaka and Suresh battle for SLTA Presidency

TENNIS: There is going to be a contest after a very long time for the post of President and Secretary of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) at its annual general meeting to be held on Saturday (March 29) at its headquarter's at Greenpath at 6 p.m.

The incumbent President, Janaka Bogollagama, who was elected to the post only last year (2007), is been contested by former President, Suresh Subramaniam, who held onto the reins for five terms. The latter is the current Secretary General of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) and also in the Board of Directors of the newly created Asian Tennis Tour (ATT).

Bogollagama, first said that he will not "step down", but decided against it "under hesitation" with the understanding of retaining the same committee. Again, he decided to contest for the post of President as "many committee members had requested no to reconsider my decision, taking into consideration of the many new development programmes, including sponsorship already obtained to take Tennis to the outstations".

Subramaniam on the other hand says that what has happened during the past few weeks is "regrettable and a recurrence must be avoided at all costs, as the final loser will be the sport". He says with the ATF and ATT expecting more input from member countries, the forthcoming years are "going to be a great challenge" with added responsibilities and what is needed is experience and expertise to move forward.

He further said: Withdrawing my candidature at this juncture would be breaking the trust most of you (committee members) had in me when you put me in as a compromise candidate to diffuse the situation that had arisen at the SLTA.

I accepted to contest at the request of the entire Tennis fraternity and will not back off to suit individual whims and fancies.

Subramaniam said that he had repeatedly turned down offers to get back to the SLTA, but due to the positions I have with the ATF and ATT feel that I am in a position to help Tennis in Sri Lanka grow at a different level. After the nominations were closed, Bogollagama, informed me that "certain quarters" wanted him to continue and make me Chairman of the national selection committee. Basically, he wanted me to withdraw my nomination.

A Vice-President of SLTA, Angelo Patrick, says in a communication that "nothing could be more further from reality" that the General Committee endorsed Bogollagama's nomination made by Vasantha Wijesekera.

Objection was raised by Maxwell de Silva and the presiding Chairman having heard these views preceded to conclude the meeting.

The least he could have done was to put the matter to a vote. This he failed to do and thereby did not get to know the true pulse.

These contesting are: President - Janaka Bogollagama and Suresh Subramaniam, Vice-Presidents (six posts) - Air Vice Marshall Lalaka Pieris, Vasantha Wijesekera, Angelo Patrick, Lalith Vitharne, Lt. Colonel Shiran Abeysekera, Rear Admiral N. E. L. Jayasekera, Captain J. D. Amaranayake; Secretary (one post) - Major General Seevali Wanigasekera, Maxwell de Silva; Treasurer - Kumar Gunawardene (uncontested); Assistant Secretaries - Irshad Othman, Vipul Perera, Pandula Kuruppu, Shehan Meegama.

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