Sports administrators are the worst corrupt people next to politician in this country – Rohan Fernando, Chairman, Sri Lanka Telecom – Mobitel Group.

What we see today the sport system is utterly corrupted. The administrators of sports are the worst corrupt people  next to politician in this country. They do their job to make money  go abroad and to become somebody they have never  be  whose not them have not even  participating the sports. But this sport Rowing is different.  Today the Rowing Association is one of the best sports governing bodies in the country., said Rohan Fernando, Chairman, Sri Lanka Telecom-Mobitel Group.

He was speaking as the Chief Guest at the 37th Junior & Intermediate National Rowing Championships held at Diyawanna last weekend.

” At SLT-MOBITEL, we have decided to support and encourage sports bodies with genuine sports administrators who are accountable to the funds expended in the performance of tasks.,” he added.

Following is the full text of the Telecom Chairman’s speech at the closing ceremony of the Rowing championship.

Firstly my thanks and appreciation to the President and the Ex-Co for inviting my wife and me to this event.

I come here today wearing two hats, As the head of SLT-MOBITEL group and as a past president of Sri Lanka Rowing.

SLT-MOBITEL is conscious of its responsibilities towards nation building. Our ESG or Environment, Social, Governance protocols require our group to be involved in areas of national interest with long term benefits to the people and the country. This is an advanced version of CSR where the organization map the progress and governance of the deployment of its resources. Sports is one area absolutely essential for nation building through molding the young and not so young into disciplined, honest and upright citizens. Today what we see around us in the field of sports is people who cling onto positions in sports associations for power and money. In other words, the sports governance is corrupted to the core and most administrators like leeches cling on purely for self improvement and not the development of sport.

At SLT-MOBITEL, we have decided to support and encourage sports bodies with genuine sports administrators who are accountable to the funds expended in the performance of tasks. Every week we get requests for sponsorships and a joint committee in marketing assess the genuineness of the requests and the benefits which would accrue to the sport and our organization in which we work as partners on the journey towards a medal winning performance. Naturally we looked towards the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council for guidance in doing so. This year our organization has engaged with several sports bodies in supporting development.


Now coming back to the sport close to my heart Rowing, I have seen a superlative development in the last 10 to 15 years. A sport which was limited to a privileged few is today accessible to anyone with a sound body and strong will. At the National Rowing Association or Sri Lanka Rowing we started a journey without even an address of our own. No money in the pocket. No hope for advancement, No one even willing to offer a helping hand. Then came the resurgence a little over ten years ago. We started a new journey amidst many obstacles, insults and even acts of sabotage to move on to the international format of 2K rowing in Bolgoda lake. That journey we started is where the sport Rowing is today. A home for Sri Lanka rowing, a facility second to none in the world, ever growing membership of youth and of course support of the cooperates.

Today we have seen what determination and passion can do in a sport and in sports administration

Nearly 300 athletes competing over three full days in more that 125 races have brought us to this podium to appreciate and award their due recognition. For me it is a dream come true. For Dimuth and his team it is the beginning of yet another journey to go after international recognition for which a well structured development program with the MOS and NSC HP is happening under the supervision of an accomplished foreign coach.

I am also happ to see Balaji Maddapa from the Indian Rowing Federation being present in Diyawanna to witness what Sri Lanka Rowing has achieved over the year. Rowing has united two countries through the Madras Colombo Regatta which is one of the oldest regattas in the world.

I am glad that SLT-MOBITEL has continued to support the sport of Rowing and we could look forward to a successful and winning combination in the not too distant future.