Sri Lankan officials Dian, Hemantha appointed to key positions in AIBA, ASBC
By A Special Correspondent
COLOMBO – Sri Lanka boxing received a major boost when two leading officials were appointed to key positions in the AIBA (International Boxing Association), the world body governing the sport, and ASBC (Asian Boxing Confederation).
President of the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Dian Gomes created history when he became the first Sri Lankan ever to be appointed the AIBA Executive Committee, while Lt Col. (Rtd) Hemantha Weerasinghe was elected Secretary of the ASBC Referees & Judges Commission.
A former Royal College fly weight boxing champion, Dian has been the face of Sri Lanka’s boxing on the international arena for over two decades and was elected to head BASL for a third term last month uncontested. A former president of CIMA Sri Lanka Division, Dian has been synonymous with the renaissance of boxing in the country. He has been synonymous with the renaissance of boxing
A leading corporate personality for the better part of three decades, first as a Group Director of MAS Holdings and then as Chairman of Hela Clothing, Dian was instrumental promoting not only boxing but other sports and supporting rural athletes. He currently serves as the Honorary Consul of Georgia in Sri Lanka and on the Board of Nestle Lanka PLC.
Fondly known as the ‘Godfather’ of boxing in the country, Dian has dedicated his life to achieve mission impossible. His dream came true when Anuruddha Ratnayake qualified to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after 40 years and three boxers won medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Brisbane after a lapse of 68 years.
He became the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to the Commonwealth Advisory Board of Sports (CABOS) in 2014 and also the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to the Executive Committee of the Asian body last year.
He has served in the world body first as a member of the Finance Commission, the Marketing Commission and the Women’s Commission. His appointment to the executive committee of AIBA is a leap for Sri Lanka in the world policy making body of boxing.
Close on the heels of Dian’s appointment came the news that BASL general secretary Weerasinghe has been elected as the Secretary of the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) Referees & Judges (R&J) Commission for the second consecutive time.
An experienced boxing R&J, Weerasinghe was a national referee and Judge from 2004, Asian R&J (FAAB) from 2006 and AIBA 1-Star R&J since 2010 and qualified as an International Technical Official (ITO) in 2013. He has been a R&J Evaluator for many international boxing tournaments. A dedicated boxing official, he has been an Executive Committee member of the BASL from 2003 to date.
Weerasinghe has held numerous administrative positions in Sri Lankan body as in the ASBC. He was the Assistant Secretary of BASL (2004 -2007), Secretary (2007 -2010), Vice President (2017 -2020) and once again this time has been appointed as the Secretary of national governing body.
He was also a vice president of Boxing Referees & Judges Association of Sri Lanka (2012-2017) and presently holds the Secretary of Referees & Judges Association of Sri Lanka. He was appointed as the Secretary of the ADBC R&J Commission in 2015.
An outstanding product of St Sylvester’s College, Kandy which he captained in 1984,he won the coveted Best Boxer’s award in the Stubbs Shield and Francis Jayawardena meets. He was a former fly weight national champion and also represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Boxing Championships in 1984 and second South Asian Games in 1985 held in Thailand and Bangladesh respectively.