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Sporty episodes

It is rarely that sports personalities choose to express themselves in prose or poetry. A rarity locally could be found in an autobiography ‘A Moment in Reckoning’ authored by a former champion amateur southpaw boxer Wazir Sourjah.

Sourjah expresses himself by sourcing facts and information from his personal diaries, a local diarist! He claims to have diarized life events from his early teens as a student heeding the advice of his father Tony Sourjah. Wazir commenced his boxing career at St. Michael’s College, Colpetty, in 1970 and the same year went on to represent Royal College, Colombo, where he subsequently won his boxing colours and also captained the college team in the year 1973. He won his weight in the Stubbs Shield championships on a few occasions. He continued his boxing, representing the Police Sports Club participating in all the major domestic boxing tournaments, won Police boxing colours and captained the Police team in 1981. Later in life, he was involved in the administration of the sport by being the Honorary Secretary of the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) of Sri Lanka, in 2006/7 and also as a Referee and Judge of the Boxing Referees and Judges Association (BRJA) of Sri Lanka.

His moment of reckoning came in early 2018 when he was diagnosed with cancer in one of his kidneys, leading to its removal surgically. He is currently nursing the remaining kidney to health, requiring regular tests, medications and specialist consultations. His autobiography centres around the diagnosis, surgery, recuperation and coping with all of its accompanying challenges and major lifestyle changes he went through. His tale, told by reproducing his diary entries, is enriched with glimpses of some interesting episodes from his personal life as a student, sportsman and policeman. The book also contains information on how he coped and managed with diets and special food regimen comprising select fruits and vegetables in the post-surgery period and is of use for laypersons facing similar medical conditions. Sourjah pays a tribute to all friends and relations, especially his wife Fareena, daughter Sabrina, son Azlan, and son-in-law Chulanga, who rallied around him during his predicament.

The 113-page book containing 10 chapters, was launched at the Public Library Auditorium in Colombo recently under the distinguished patronage of General (Retired) Jagath Jayasuriya, RWP, VSV, USP, NDU, PSC, former Army Commander, Chief of Defence Staff and former Ambassador to Brazil. General Jayasuriya, another distinguished boxer from Royal College, who won college boxing colours and captained the team in 1977 and a contemporary of the author. He is also an International boxing Referee/Judge.

Reviewed by Priantha Malavi


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