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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.


Palitha Gunasekera

Through the presentation of this V Award to Palitha Gunasekera, many interesting, heart-warming and even heart-rending hitherto unknown factors emerged.

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 2002.

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 winner"

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