Colombo, Sri Lanka 11th July 2021.
The Sri Lanka Basketball Federation filled its long-standing vacant post of President today. Aelian Gunawardene, Founder and the Managing Director of JAT Holdings was elected as President uncontested at the Special General Meeting conducted via zoom technology due to the prevailing COVID protocols.
While thanking the Kandy, Gampaha, Batticaloa and Kurunegala District Basketball Associations for proposing & seconding his nomination to the post, he also extended gratitude to the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Basketball Federation for having the trust & faith on him.
Soon after his appointment was announced by the Chairman Election Committee Mr Gamini Jayasinghe he made these remarks.
He assured to work diligently and prioritize the goals already defined & agreed and requested the support from all the stakeholders of basketball.
Good governance would be priority number one in his agenda and went on to state that there had been some allegations of malpractices made against the federation and or office bearers which should be cleared urgently. “We have to make sure that we avoid any future incidents and clear the issues of the past”.
He proposed to the house that as a first step towards this to sign a code of conduct similar to the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka. Also, to establish a communication protocol where all communications to FIBA and any other 3rd party should signed off and copied Sec Gen SLBF.
He claimed that it is saddened to note that the 100-year-old sport in Sri Lanka does not have a home court belonging to the Federation and that he will not leave to his successor to repeat this sentiment. He stated that he will work towards setting up a court for SL basketball in Colombo. Discussions are in progress to be allocated a suitable plot of land where this could be set up to an international standard.
Well versed Gunawardene with 28 years of experience under his belt in founding and managing the iconic business in Sri Lanka and across the globe stated that having a suitable office and paid staff to run an efficient basketball administration is a must.
Also, he stated that hiring of a foreign coach cum Technical Director to improve the system while focusing on maximizing strengths of SL players to offset the obvious disadvantage of lack of height etc. is a priority. He noted that it is encouraging that National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports have indicated the required funding for this.
Introducing technology, he claims a mandatory for basketball. Data analytics MIS, Visuals and Admin session allocations are some of the important areas need attention and have already discussed with some products to infuse much needed High Tech to basketball players.
Good Physio and Mental training coaches, district development program, FIBA plus program and gender balance in federation administration is also considered in his priority list.
Thushara Suraweera past captain of national Youth team in 1990 and a banker by profession is also appointed as the Treasurer at the same SGM today.
M/s Earnest & Young Co Ltd is appointed as the internal auditor for the Federation