Gunasekera presented UN V Award
Winning an award in itself is quite an achievement. But, when the
award is presented by the United Nations, then it is very special and
noteworthy. The sheer worth of such an award is raised to a magnificent
level if the ultimate recipient is oblivious to the fact that his work
has been meticulously scrutinized prior to being recognized as worthy.
This is precisely what happened with the recently presented United
Nations V (Voluntary Services) Awards. The V Awards rationale is worded
thus:- "The desire to contribute to the common good, out of freewill and
in spirit of solidarity, without expectation of material reward"
Accordingly, UN presented one of it's prestigious V Awards to the
renowned cricket coach and mentor Palitha Gunasekera for the excellence
of his Voluntary Service rendered to scores of under privileged or
disadvantaged female cricketers spread throughout the country. Thus, Sri
Lanka's cricket enthusiasts got quite an unexpected fillip from this
most respected world body.
Through the presentation of this V Award to Palitha Gunasekera, many
interesting, heart-warming and even heart-rending hitherto unknown
Amongst the numerous praiseworthy factors of Palitha Gunasekera's
achievements, perhaps the insignificant fact is that this is his 40th
year as a cricket coach! This is said not to belittle this particular
great achievement, but to show that in comparison, his other
achievements are so much more greater in significance to the country,
than his long number of years in this field alone. At a time when there
was no methodical coaching for females who were enthusiastic about
playing serious cricket, it was Palitha Gunasekara, who, after much
persuasion though, took on the responsibility to fill the void. Not only
he volunteered, he ensured the absolute safety and dignity of these
pioneering female cricketers of Sri Lanka. When news went round of his
services, enthusiastic female cricketers from practically every corner
of the island expressed desire to join. Accordingly, girls from far off
places like Jaffna, Trincomalee, Medawachchiya, Anuradhapura, Baticoloa,
Matara, Kegalle, Ratnapura etc requested him to take them in. Enthusiasm
apart, this brought about a massive logistics problem regarding
accommodation, food and security as coaching is done in Colombo.
Palitha Gunasekera is a distinguished old Anandian with an
outstanding cricket career and has represented his Alma Mater in all age
groups. Thereafter, he played in the Division One Sara Trophy for
another decade and a half.
He served in the management of State Trading (General) Corporation
for several years, retiring as the Additional Deputy General Manager in
Although he never sought publicity or credit for his dedicated work,
this V Award presented by the United Nations will further strengthen his
resolve and his large hearted family's commitment, as they go on quietly
as usual with their admirable service to the deserving people. In
Palitha's own words "More than anything else, this V Award brings to
limelight the fact that by being sensitive to less privileged peoples'
aspirations and by giving them a helping-hand we can inspire all
concerned, to achieve our true potential as a country - the ultimate