Rex Clementine in Seenigama, Island, 16 August 2022, where the title is “Olympic gold in 2028, Kushil’s dream”
You’ll be amazed at the number of international sportsmen and women the Foundation of Goodness has produced. Test cricketer Ramesh Mendis is the most high profile product to come through the institute while there are others like Kavisha Dilhari, a rising star in the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team and Amasha de Silva, the South Asian Junior Champion in 100 and 200 meters.
Seenigama, a village in Galle district, previously was only famous for the Devalaya, a must stop place for everyone travelling along the Galle Road. The Devalaya is dedicated to Devol Deviyo, who is believed to be protecting fishermen and their boats. The Devalaya was particularly popular for grinding of chillies wishing harm on those whom you don’t see eye to eye with. But Seenigama is nowadays more famous for something else other than grinding of chillies.
The state of the art sporting facility and the Center for Excellence belonging to Foundation of Goodness situated in Seenigama is now world famous and many sporting legends be it Shane Warne or Missy Franklin (US Swimmer who won four Olympic Gold medals in 2012 at the age of 17) have visited the premises.
It can be guaranteed that no sporting facility in Colombo comes anywhere closer to what’s available in Seenigama. More importantly, the skills of young sportsmen and women are nurtured meticulously here. The importance that’s given to develop women’s sports in particular is tremendous. Nation’s finest coaches are hired by the facility and the deserving athletes are given scholarships to train overseas.
The brainchild of Foundation of Goodness is former Ananda College cricketer Kushil Gunasekara, who is admired for his honesty, care for the poor and uplifting their living standards. Those who covered cricket received a firsthand account of Kushil’s organizing skills as he doubled up as Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket and Chairman of Tour Organizing Committee. The same skills seem to have come in handy in making the charity what it is today.
The Seenigama facility caters to nine sports and has produced some national champions. In the recent Table Tennis nationals, several winners were those who were being trained at Seenigama and they were felicitated by Kushil on Saturday. While donating Table Tennis equipment for the winners, Kushil also urged them to aim high. ‘An Olympic gold in 2028 should be your aim,” he said.
The nation’s sports bodies too maybe having such ambitious ideas but you wonder whether they are prepared to burn the candle in both ends? In Seenigama though, they are giving their blood, sweat and tears. They are not only willing to go the extra mile but prepared to move mountains to achieve their dreams.
The facility has been recognized and supported by global brands such as Tesco and AVIVA and international sporting bodies like MCC, Laureus and ICC.
Kushil is among a handful of Sri Lankans to receive Honourary Life Membership from MCC, the guardians of the Laws of the game and owners of Lord’s Cricket Ground.
AN EMAIL COMMENT from Rex Clementine of ESPN and the Island newspaper, 18 August 2022
- https://thuppahis.com/2012/09/08/6956/ …. re Murali Harmony Cup in the Northern Province sponsored by FOG in 2012