Hajireen’s dream realized as Sri Lanka Schools Takraw Federation formed | Daily News


Hajireen’s dream realized as Sri Lanka Schools Takraw Federation formed

Zahiran, Nizam and Nizara Hajireen with Sri Lanka Schools Takraw Federation Secretary Lt. Col. Upul Kithsiri and school principals at the inaugural meeting.
Zahiran, Nizam and Nizara Hajireen with Sri Lanka Schools Takraw Federation Secretary Lt. Col. Upul Kithsiri and school principals at the inaugural meeting.

The Sri Lanka Schools Takraw Federation (SLSTF) has finally been formed at a meeting held on October 26 in Colombo, realizing a long-felt need for the suspense-filled acrobatic sport of Sepaktakraw.

Now Sri Lanka will be in line with all Asian neighbouring countries who conduct regular schools and junior level Sepaktakraw competitions and thus have a competent player base to gradually fill the senior level. Children and schools are the nursery in any sport especially Sepaktakraw where the student will be able to adapt and master the gymnastic and acrobatic skills

required to play the game from a tender age.

The SLSTF was a brainchild of founder–President of the Amateur Sepak Takraw Association of Sri Lanka Nizam Hajireen. The school heads sought the advice and guidance of Hajireen, a former Sri Lanka ‘double’ international in rugby football and soccer, to form the Schools Takraw Federation.

Hajireen was very reluctant at first citing domestic issues besides having taken a break from the presidency of the Amateur Sepak Takraw Association to attend to his wife’s sickness. However, he agreed to assist the Principals’ request at the insistence of his wife. Thereafter the Principals on the advice of Hajireen appointed Lt. Col. Upul Kithsiri, a former Principal of Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya, Trincomalee, and currently Commanding-Officer of 21 NCC-Thambalagamuwa to act as the ‘Convenor’ representing the schools. Invitations were sent to schools throughout the country resulting in 51 schools barring the schools in the Northern province being present for the inaugural meeting. The Northern Province too would be invited shortly for affiliation to the schools body according to the convener Upul Kithsiri.

The clarion call to attend the inaugural meeting received spontaneous response with participants arriving from far off distant places such as Trincomalee, Kinniya, Muttur, Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Kirinde, Tissamaharama, schools of Western and North Western Provinces, and Defence College of Kurunegala. It was also an occasion to launch the DVD compiled by J. Mahagamage and Sudesh Perera, ardent fans and followers of Sepaktakraw since the 1990s, in honour and recognition of the tremendous services rendered by Hajireen to

keep Sepaktakraw alive in Sri Lanka for over three decades.

Also present at the meeting was Zahiran Hajireen, the younger brother of Nizam Hajireen, a senior Referee of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation since 2006 who has officiated at the China Guangzhou Asian Games, Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand, and King’s Cup Thailand for over 10 years, South Asian Championships in Nepal and other international competitions on a regular basis and has conducted orientation programs for referees and schoolchildren in Sepaktakraw islandwide. His services too are sought by the school authorities to run the newly formed Schools Takraw Federation.

The President-elect Athula Wijewardena, a prominent educationist and able administrator requested all Principals, PTIs, and other Teachers representing Schools to adhere to the valuable advice and guidance provided by Hajireen to immediately conduct training programmes to prepare all school teams to participate at the proposed first-ever Schools Takraw Nationals to be held next year.

He assured to give the necessary leadership along with his Secretary Upul Kithsiri and reminded all as a first step to accept the challenge of conducting the Schools Nationals next year.

Hajireen addressing the gathering emphasized the importance of continuity of any programme designed in furtherance of achieving desired results through training schedules to meet set targets, and failure to do so would hinder the development of the student as a competent player, and also may delay the formation of the school team that need to participate in the first-ever Schools Takraw Nationals targeted to be held before end April 2020. He stressed that a comprehensive training schedule would be posted in due course to all schools to follow.

On a personal note Hajireen expressed that a long–held dream of forming a Schools Takraw Federation in Sri Lanka was realized due to the kind appeal and request made to him by President-elect Athula Wijewardene and Upul Kithsiri, and that he is exalted and more happy than on the day he created the current Amateur Sepaktakraw Association over 30 years ago.

Following are the office-bearers:

Patron: Honourable Minister of Education

Vice-Patron: Director of Sports, Ministry of Education

President: AthulaWijewardena

Vice-Presidents: 1. K.M. Thasleem, 2. J. Idamegama, 3. M. Alawdeen, 4. W. Kumara, 5. R. M. Rashid, 6. K. Preethimal, 7. A.K.I.D. Jayaratne

Hony. Secretary: Lt. Col. UpulKithsiri, Commanding officer - 21 NCC –Tambalagamuwa

Hony. Asst. Secretary: W.D.M. Fernando

Hony. Treasurer: Rasika Dharmakeerthi

Hony. Asst. Treasurer: M.S.M. Katheefa

Competitions/Tournament Secretary: Ms. N. N. Maduwanthi Wedage,

Chief Adviser: Technical / Planning / Development Strategy: T. Nizam Hajireen,

Director – Referees Training / Referees Committee: T. Zahiran Hajireen 

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