Tech entrepreneur Suren Kohombange successfully completes his term as President of Sri Lanka Squash
May 25, 2023 03:49 pm
Tech entrepreneur Suren Kohombange is bidding goodbye to the position of President of Sri Lanka squash after leading the organization for 3 years and will continue in the Executive committee as Immediate Past President. During the period as President he was supported by a capable team consisting of Secretary Eranga Alwis, Vice president and Tournament committee chairman Group Captain Eranda Geeganage , Vice presidents, Kushani Daluwatta , Rohantha Peries , Brigedier Kaminda Silva & Rochelle Cooray, Treasurer Nilruk Soysa , Assistant Secretary Natalie Gunawardena and Exco members Dhammika Wijesundara ,Captain Kapila Gunasekara , Captain Manoj Leelaratne, Colonel Mangala Balasooriya, Jehan Goonarathna and leading businessman Riyaz Sangani.
This leadership and the team propelled Sri Lanka Squash to a phenomenal growth with the sport rising from its laurel to establish world ranking players and many initiatives to polarize the sport in the country. After taking over he established relations with the world Squash body WSF enabling Sri Lanka to host world ranking tournaments and enabling local players to participate in PSA tournaments earning a world ranking. During this period Sri Lanka Squash saw the sport come out of covid challenges which resulted in non-action of tournaments for over a year and Sri Lanka Squash was one of the first organizations to have tournaments under COVID rules in Colombo and initiated foreign tours for players post-covid.
During the period need for digitization was severely felt and same was accomplished successfully with digitization of the sport facilities with a fully-fledged web portal with player registration and automated tournament entry and digital payment facilities. During the tenure Sri Lanka Squash drove programs enabling top players to benefit from the high performance program initiated by Ministry of Sports where players were trained by a former Pakistani national coach. Local coaches and fitness trainers were also accredited to the program which gave a tremendous boost to local talent. Squash was included to the High-performance training program in 2021 by the Ministry of sports as one of the few sports identified in Sri Lanka.
This program has helped top players reach new heights internationally especially winning International PSA tournaments and moving steadily to top international ranking within a span of 2 years. Sri Lanka Squash re-initiated regular local tournament calendar with regular competitive ranking tournaments on a published calendar in addition to holding the first ever Doubles Tournament and re-established good relationships with regional bodies. During the tenure SLS established a transparent process for selection, training and preparation for International tournaments resulting in Sri Lanka reaching many International milestones for the very first time.
Sri Lankan Squash players were able to secure many International wins including 7 PSA satellite events and 1 PSA International event while even reaching top 137 in International rankings in 2022 with 5 players reaching top 300 world rankings.
During this tenure Sri Lanka went on to become plate champions of Mixed Doubles event at Commonwealth Games while 5 junior players reached top 16 in their respective age groups at Asian Level and one player reaching top 3 in Asian Junior ranking . As part of its grand plan for squash development, Sri Lanka Squash initiated the pathways for regional development program in 2022 in Galle and completed its second phase in Trincomalee with support of Sri Lanka Navy. On World Squash Day 2022 Sri Lanka Squash launched its third rural program in Kurunegala with the support of Sri Lanka Army in October 2022 resulting in players from Kurunegala participating in tournaments in Colombo for the first time in the history of squash.
During his tenure a focused effort was made to bring in sponsorships for the sports and start to build financial stability for the organization and establish long term relations with its commercial partners. Brandix a staunch supporter of Sri Lanka Squash continued to support the top two men’s players in reaching their PSA achievements and many other achievements while also extending support to the High performance program and infrastructure development in the years to come. Samaposha the leading Nutritious product manufacturer in the Island became an official nutrition partner for its National and Development pool players while Ritzbury, Sri Lanka’s number one chocolate brand continued to be the main sponsor of Junior National Squash Championship for the 14th consecutive year with the tournament being upgraded to PSA junior level.
Yeti Isotonic drinks too became a partner for the National team and supported in conducting local tournaments. Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel agreed to provide their Air conditioned squash court facility for National and development pool practices and this helped our players get adjusted to AC environment in which International tournaments take place. Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) the home club of the President and Tamil Union Sports Club too came forward to support National players conduct their practices sessions. Prima group and Edinborough Products (Pvt) Ltd, too came forward to support Sri Lanka Squash with a commitment to promoting the game while Sri Lankan Airlines supported Sri Lanka Squash by supporting players taking part in international tournaments.
While developing the players Sri Lanka Squash realized the importance of grooming local coaches and Referees and with the support of Asian Squash Federation groomed a new set of International level referees with two of them taking part in officiating at Asian Squash Championships. Also, Sri Lanka was one of the first Asian countries to establish membership of the newly formed referring organization WSO of WSF during his tenure.
Under the high performance program local coaches were given the opportunity to groom themselves by conducting the program under the guidance of International coaches and two of them went on to successfully finish the exam of the World Squash Federation level 3 coaching course, the highest International coaching qualification with plans underway to bring in another group of talented coaches to the arena by conducting a WSF level 1 coaching and instructor course in Sri Lanka in July 2023.
National Selection Committee of Sri Lanka Squash headed by General (Rtd) Tissa Jayasooriya and comprising of Wing Cmdr (Rtd) Nalin Jayathilaka, Shivanthi Kotage and Adnan Abdul Hussein worked closely with SLS in following a transparent selection process in identifying talent and improvising potential of National players.
Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force pioneered in supporting Sri Lanka Squash with nominating exceptional personal to the executive committee in addition to producing top players, referees, coaches and supporting in conducting very well organized tournaments, regional programs and helping Sri Lanka Squash in many numerous ways with infrastructure and technical support.
Ministry of Sports with the initiation of the High Performance Program guided Sri Lanka Squash in reaching new heights while National Sports Council, National Sports Selection Committee and National Olympic Council supported Sri Lanka Squash with their technical expertise in taking the game to the next level. Last three years proved to be a very tough time period in the face of all challenges put forward by local and global events.
However Sri Lanka Squash led by a visionary leader and very well supported by capable professionals not only overcame all obstacles and hardships but achieved many milestones and established a brand name for Sri Lanka Squash both locally and internationally.