A Silent Colossus-P. H. D. Waidyatilleka | Sri Lanka | South Asia

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  A silent colossus- an upright decision maker S PORTSMAN , COMPETENT   ENGINEER   AND   ADMINISTRATOR   Face to Face by Ranga Chandrarathne It would, certainly, have been a great privilegefor Waidyatilleka to work with internationallyreputed Sri Lankan Engineers in the calibre of Dr. A.N.S Kulasinha. As the years roll on, henot only excelled in the field of Engineeringgathering knowledge and experience but alsotakes leaps and bounds strides in the field of Sports serving in national and internationalsports bodies.He was a senior vice president of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka.Waidyatilleka holds many positions in the field of sports including the Presidentof the Sri Lanka Masters Athletics (Veterans), President Athletic TechnicalOfficials Association of Sri Lanka, Member Technical Committee Asian AthleticAssociation, Chairman Technical Committee Asian Masters Athletics, Member of Stadia Committee World Masters Athletics and International Technical Officer of World Masters Athletics.Walking along memory lane, Waidyatilaka recollected that he was born and bred P. H. D. WaidyatillekaAsian Games 1998, Bangkok   in the Southern province and he shares remarkable traits of being acosmopolitan albeit deeply rooted in his soil of birth.He hails from a land mass which gave birth to a host of personalities who werenot only recognised for their outstanding contribution to the nation but also astrend setters in their respective spheres of activities.Inspired by Dr. A.N.S Kulasinha, Sir Cyril de Zoyza, Sir Lalitha Rajapaksa, Dr.Colvin R de Silva, Dr. E. M. Wijerama, Ven. Megettuwatte Gunananda, Prof.Kosgoda Dammawasa, he recalls with humility the days that he contributed tothe construction of the Kalutara Chaithya, under the guidance of Dr.A.N.SKulasinha.He grew up in a family of landed gentry, his father being a respected Principal,Amaradasa Waidyatilaka and mother Ms. Allen Perera, as the only son of thefamily. Being a family who firmly believed in Buddhist ethos coupled with adiscipline-oriented educational background, Waidyatilaka was naturally the mostcared for child in a family surrounded by sisters.Following his primary education atRevatha Vidyalaya, Waidyatilaka wasadmitted to Richmond College Galle as ahosteller not only providing him withample time to excel in studies but alsoto develop an impressive sportingcareer.During his school days which he spent together with his contemporariesincluding President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Justice Amarasiri Dodangoda Officiating as the International Technical Official atthe World Championship in Paris in 2003.Asian Masters’ Athletics Technical Committee Chairman.  and Minister of Agricultural Development Chamal Rajapaksa, Waidyatilleka wonthe 120 yards hurdles as well as the high jump and the 440 yards run. Hecaptained Richmond College and won Junior and Senior Hurdles at the PublicSchools championships.His love for sports did not detract him from his studies. He was one of thebrightest students at the time and carried away the coveted Pure Mathematicsand Applied Mathematics prizes at the University Entrance class.On completion of his secondary education at Richmond College, Waidyatillekawas admitted to Nalanda College on the advice of his Principal father.He entered the University of Ceylon (Peradeniya) as one of the two students who qualifiedto enter the Faculty of Engineering from NalandaCollege in that particular year. Sponsoring a poor athlete under the Foster Parent scheme. Former Minister of TradeLalith Athulathmudali is also in the picture.Chairing a press conference in Bangkok 2004 at the Asian Masters AthleticChampionship.  As Peradeniya was an exclusively residential university against the salubriousclimate in the hill country, Waidyatilleka was admitted to the famous AkbarHall . Apart from his academic records, one of his major achievements was thechampionship in the 110 metre and 400 metre hurdles which he wonconsecutively in all four years that he spent at the University, thus becomingthe best athlete during his time.Whilst at the university, he had the privilege of engaging in the noble professionof teaching to impart the knowledge he gained through his academicprogramme to deserving students in schools with less amenities and humanresources. Though he earned his Bachelor of Science (Engineering) Degree, heopted to stay another year at the university as an instructor prompted by hisdedication, perseverance and academic excellence.Waidyatilleka started his career as an Engineer at the State EngineeringCorporation in 1967 and he married a Visakhian Sportswoman Miss VisakhaGunaratna who was adjudged the Runner-up Sports Queen at the Sports QueenContest conducted by the Daily News.Waidyatilleka has two sisters; Malini and Padmini and they are teachers byprofession. His son Indu Waidyatilaka is a doctor while his daughter Mihiri whois a Computer professional is now domiciled in the U.S.After his marriage, Waidyatilaka flew toUnited Kingdom to read for his master'sdegree in Engineering and obtained hisMsc. (Eng) from the University of Birmingham. In 1970 he obtained thecharter from the Institution of CivilEngineers London and later earned theFellowship from The Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka.In retrospect of his longstanding career as an Engineer, he evoked vividmemories of his involvement under the leadership of the then Chairman of theState Engineering Corporation, the legendary Dr. A.N.S. Kulasinghe in theconstruction of Watadageya (outer layer of the Chaithiya) of the KalutaraChaithya.It is still a little known fact that this onerous task was entrusted with young As the chief engineer of the Kalutara Chaithya project. (4th from left)Kingsley Wickramasinghe, V. L. Wijemanne, Sir Cyril de Zoysa
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