These words appear to resonate and are embedded within the attitude of Sri Lanka’s boxing chief Dian Gomes, who turned into born three years before JFK made this iconic speech.
His relentless pursuit of seeing Sri Lanka’s boxers bringing home medals eventually paid dividends on the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, closing yr. At the same time, Anusha Kodituwakku became the primary female pugilist to win a medal further to two extra bronze medals from Ishan Bandara and Tiwanka Ranasinghe.
Gomes ought to have secure after having completed his intention of seeing a Sri Lankan compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympics after 40 years. On the opposite, the 61-yr-antique corporate wizard is buoyed through those feats reigniting his ardor of bringing extra glory to Sri Lanka in the ring setting country before self.
“To win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2022 is my goal,” declared Dian Gomes in an interview with Daily News. “It is viable in case you put that attempt.”
It isn’t always a pipe dream of Gomes, who is fondly known as the ‘Godfather’ of Sri Lanka boxing, having become around the fortunes of a game which become dwindling with the aid of remodeling the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) to a dynamic corporate-driven entity with a clean imaginative and prescient.
“I assume we (BASL) have been fortunate to have some corporates sponsoring us. A&E Thread has been the primary sponsor of boxing for a decade. Brandix, MAS, and in recent years, Hela has additionally been helping us. The incumbent president has to have a company impact achieving private sponsorship, and the authorities also need to chip in a little money. For the Commonwealth Games, the authorities authorized one or excursions for five or six boys, which obviously gave us the result. So if the non-public sector, government, and the controlling frame go hand in hand, I am certain that obtaining a medal is not impossible,” stated Gomes, who becomes first elected president of the BASL in 2002.
“Generally boxing has been one of the few associations which always had a long term and mid-12 months plan and a very clean succession of leadership so that midway humans don’t exchange the goalposts. When the succeeding president takes over, there may be a nice transition of leadership and pleasant converting of the baton without frightening recognition and approach. We have some senior and skilled people in the boxing association like Udeni Kiridena, Col. Hemantha Weerasinghe, Saman Gunaratne of Police, and Cdr Perera of Navy amazing team. Most of them have boxed at a completely extreme stage, and they recognize the sport. We additionally have some right officials who’re doing internationally extraordinarily properly. For a small u. S. Like Sri Lanka, I suppose we have produced some suitable officers,” said Gomes, who back for a 2nd stint as BASL president in 2016 after serving from until 2008.
“I came back at a time when boxing was taking place. They wanted me back due to the fact politics turned into creeping in. There wasn’t a robust personality to hold the fort and to smooth up the stables. I have a fairly appropriate crew, and officials are very dedicated. There are fewer politics,” stated Gomes, who isn’t always without his detractors.
“They can call me a dictator; however, final year was a terrific easy up year as properly for referee and judges. At the National championship, we needed to deliver four international judges for transparency. Three international and Sri Lankan judges were there for each final bout, so there is no favoritism interpretation. Sri Lanka must come first now, not their agencies or man or woman goals, in any other case boxer will suffer,” he stated.
Epoch 12 months
2018 become an epoch 12 months for Sri Lanka boxing and Dian Gomes, who savored fulfillment.
“After 18 years of boxing dedication, I notion I will not see a Commonwealth medal in my lifetime. Sometimes you hold on looking to get any person to the Olympic Games but can’t convey a returned a medal. Then you haven’t executed. But while we got there and gained a medal after sixty-eight years, it became an incredible victory for Sri Lanka and me to be part of that attempt to bring a medal domestically in my lifetime. After 18 years of difficult paintings reaping the outcomes became pleasant,” he beamed.
However, he lashed out at the shortage of investment from the kingdom for sports in fashionable and boxing. “There is not any focus on that. Government is eager to build stadiums, essentially displaying the flesh presser in a greater light. There is not any long-time period or mid-term method for every sport. You want to have a coverage frame paintings for sport. The picking of talent, the selection, and the improvement of the sport to get a medal. You can’t just educate for more than one week and assume us to win medals,” stated Gomes, who is aware of what it takes to climb the summit.
“The Commonwealth journey took us almost approximately 8 years. You ought to make investments at the least four years minimum to win a medal. So you need to begin while you select the schoolboy from the Stubbs Shield or Junior Nationals to take the child ahead,” he stated.
He lamented the fact that Sri Lanka is one of the few countries “wherein we don’t have a psychologist schooling our boxers on the way to take mental stress or a way to do expand vitamins.”
“In some of these tours, there are more unwanted officers, kith and family members and friends of those so-known as associations going on these excursions as opposed to getting the medical doctors, physio, psychologist and the crew composition. Extra officials are going who are not on the video games than the athletes. They need a helping team of workers, but they would narrow off as a good deal as viable. For instance, boxing needs three human beings at the corner, but they don’t want that. They suppose we can manage with one. They don’t understand you need coaches and a cornerman at the ringside,” he said without pulling punches.
Hammering the paperwork which controls sport, he stated: “Administrative blunders have fee Sri Lanka medals now not handiest in boxing but in different sports as well. To get votes, they would send sports that no longer have a canine’s chance of winning at the Commonwealth or Asian Games. Nobody is questioning Sri Lanka first.”
Sri Lanka boxing ought to simplest benefit from his elevation to the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC).
“I suppose it became a super personal victory for me being recognized in Asia for my contribution to Sri Lanka boxing and also my paintings in Women’s Commission in AIBA (global frame governing boxing). I actually have served in a wide variety of AIBA commissions beginning with Finance, Marketing, Athletes and Youth, and then the Women’s Commissions,” he stated.
“For approximately 12 years, I’ve been concerned within the world body, often developing ladies’ boxing in other parts of the arena as nicely assisting them and giving strategic enter. This is the first time I contested to end up and govt member of the Asian body,” said Gomes, the best South Asian authentic to be elected to this 10-member committee after Jay Kowli of India.
“My reputation as a doer and my experience inside the ultimate 20 years were given me the foothold into Asian boxing. The form of training programs and enter that we would require from other countries is a great deal clean for me to attain. Getting our referees and judges skilled, doing other developmental work, and networking with different Asian nations as properly,” he said.
Among the various hats Dian wears being Honorary Consul General of Georgia in Sri Lanka. “It’s a very honorable function,” said Gomes, who also serves on the board of Nestle.
“I am a miles extra cozy man doing a little bit of coaching and motivational lectures and that specialize in Sri Lanka boxing,” said Gomes who became founder president of the Fencing Association of Sri Lanka.
What is his greatest achievement?
“For me to take a boxer to the Olympic Games, for Anuruddha Ratnayake to be one of the high-quality inside the world. When I took him to the arena in 2008 in China, that become considered one of my proudest moments. And while three boxers gained medals this time (at Commonwealth Games), it becomes a happy moment additionally,” stated Gomes, who has no plans to retire.
“As long I am healthy, and mentally in shape, I would love to contribute in boxing may be no longer as president due to the fact this is part of my passion, and I have been the longest-serving cornerman. Four World Championships, 4 Commonwealth Games, multiple Asian Games, and Olympics. Each time a Sri Lankan fights internationally, I was on the nook now and again to the irritation of my relatives’ circle due to the fact I spend on my price ticket and lodge. I am there assisting them because I experience it. Enjoy being a boxer and enjoy being in the corner. That’s my contribution to the united states of America as properly. It’s fun for me. I don’t take it as a process but more like an ardor on constructing human beings and building skills that I did within the corporate global as properly. Allowing them to stay their goals whether or not it is an Olympic medal or diploma and mentoring them. That has been motivating me as well. That continues me going,” stated Gomes with a glint in his eyes infrequently concealing his delight.