Suminda de Silva was unanimously elected the President of Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers and Riders (SLARDAR) at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held to elect office bearers for the term of 2020-2021 at the DIMO Auditorium in Colombo 14.
Mahinda Jayawardene and Sameera Abeynayake were elected to fill the two positions of Vice President while Muditha Adikari was elected uncontested for the General Secretary’s position.
Former Presidents of SLARDAR, Pubudu Wickrama and Rodney Mason were elected as Assistant Treasurers, while Gamini Kavikara, Nishan Wasalathanthri and Kamil Hussein were included to the new set of office bearers.
The AGM was also an occasion to present a memento for Kamil Hussein, who led the SLARDAR during 2018-2019, for the services he rendered to the sport.
Commenting on the efforts made to make motorsports more popular during his tenure, outgoing SLARDAR President, Hussein told Motor Sports Network, that he is contended with what he did.
“My two-year tenure as the SLARDAR President was the most challenging in the history of the association, which is 37 years old. SLARDAR was banned twice by the main governing body for motorsports in Sri Lanka, yet still we managed to sort matters and reactivate as a unit after taking legal action against them. It’s a huge victory for SLARDAR,” Hussein stated.
“It must also be mentioned that ‘Hutch’ one of the closest corporate associates of motorsports in Sri Lanka, was convinced to come aboard as sponsors for the first time upon my invitation. In addition we managed to attract new sponsors for motorsports during my time,” Hussein added.
It was during Hussein’s tenure as President that SLARDAR gave away two grand prizes — one car each for the Best Driver and Best Rider at the Hutch-Sri Lanka Super Series.
“During my first year, in 2018, we were able to present brand new cars to the top driver and rider from the series. But in 2019 we were not able to continue that as SLARDAR faced bans and other sort of problems from the main governing body, and we reluctantly had to present two brand new motorbikes instead,” Hussein explained.
In addition during Hussein’s tenure SLARDAR initiated foundations to raise funds focusing the health benefits of drivers and riders and to attract new athletes into motorsports.
A decent number of newcomers joined motorsports as a result.
“Accidents and motorsports go hand-in-hand, and it is really difficult to include medical coverage in insurance policies. Even if there is insurance, the coverage does not at least come near a normal policy. That’s the reason behind introducing ‘SLARDAR Care’, to help those drivers and riders, who get into accidents while competing. We have already helped two drivers and a rider through this project,” Hussein further explained.
“We were able to have a fruitful discussion with Honda Sri Lanka, where they agreed to provide 20 motorbikes for new riders, who wishes to take up motorsports. We were able to pick them through a qualifier programme and even send them to overseas competitions to get more exposure. We hope this will further promote motorsports among newcomers,” concluded Hussein.
SLARDAR Office Bearers 2020/2021
President: Suminda de Silva
General Secretary: Muditha Adikari
Vice Presidents: Mahinda Jayawardene and Sameera Abeynayake
Asst. Secretary: Prashan Wijenayake
Treasurer: Chanaka Hettiarachchi
Asst. Treasurers: Pubudu Wickrama and Rodney Mason
Executive Committee: Gamini Kavikara, Maheema Perera, Nishan Wasalathanthri, Andreas Klaus, Saranga Gunawardena, Kamil Hussein, Dan de Silva
District Secretaries: Shane Gunawardene and Gayan Sandaruwan