by Reemus Fernando
Sports Kavi, a unique book of Sinhala poems on sports personalities by Nishman Ranasinghe will be launched at the Sports Ministry’s Duncan White auditorium on September 27.
The book by Ranasinghe features over 50 poems. The author has been a sports journalist for more than 20 years.
The book is dedicated to former national track and field coach and Director of Sports Yogananda Wijesundara, who passed away last year.
“I am dedicating the book to Wijesundara because my career was influenced by him so much and he valued sports literature very much. He also insisted on the need to promote literature for a strong sports culture,” said Ranasinghe in an interview with The Island.
Ranasinghe’s book of poems features a cross section of personalities in the field of sports including Olympic medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe, world cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, cricket cheer leader Percy Abeysekara, Olympic shuttler Niluka Karunaratne, baseball official Sujeewa Wijenayake, current national sprinter Shelinda Jansen, racing driver Dilantha Malagamuwa, sports writer Ranjan Paranavithana and sports mentor Bhathiya Arthanayake.
The book which has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Education for school libraries is the third written by Ranasinghe.
His first book, ‘Ran Kandula’ featured the story of Commonwealth Games boxer Manju Wanniarachchi who was stripped of the gold medal he won at the 2010 edition after failing a drug test.
Ranasinghe who has also authored a youth novel was a sports columnist at Ravaya and Lakbima newspapers before becoming the Sports Editor of Siyatha.
Ranasinghe has also been involved in Stage Drama for over 25 years. Incidentally, one of the dramas he directed was also related to sports (Netball). He has also been providing voluntary services for inmates of Welikada Prison to fine tune their talents in the field of drama.
His next piece of art will be ‘Musti Wannama’, a stage drama which he will be co-directing with Sudam S. Pahalagama.
Lyricist Nilar N. Cassim, Athula Mahawalage and Sandun Priyankara Vithanage are scheduled to speak at the launch.