Former Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando has welcomed Namal Rajapaksa’s Appointment as country’s new Sports Minister. Namal was sworn in as the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday at the Magul Maduwa (Audience Hall) of the Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic premises in Kandy.
Harin, who himself served Sri Lanka as Sports Minister from December 2018 to November 2019, opined that being the Sports Person, Namal could do wonders, only if he keeps politics out of the Sports.
“Being the son of country’s Prime Minister (Mahinda Rajapaksa) and nephew of President (Gotabaya Rajapaksa), it is the best possible cabinet portfolio Namal could get. I hope, as Sports Minister, he will uphold the work we did in creating an environment where sports was free of politics and corruption” Harin Fernando told Cricket Age.
A former rugby player, Namal captained the under 19 team at the Youth Rugby Asiad in 2004. He also led the Sri Lanka national side at the Asian Rugby Championship 2013. He took over CH and FC rugby in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, where he coached the side, despite having duties as a Parliamentarian.
“Being a Sports person himself, he will surely be able to become one of the most successful Sports Minister. However, he needs to keep politics out of the Sports, if he wants to make a big impact. Sri Lanka has around 66 Sports bodies and there are lot of factors and inner politics involves. Sri Lanka people are crazy over Sports and worship Cricket. If he will be able to keep Sports free of politics, then he can become one of the best Sports Minister ever” Harin added.
Widely regarded as one of the best Sports Minister Sri Lanka has ever seen, Harin during his tenure had shown the desire, determination and courage to bring meaningful changes for transparent and fair play in game. During his time, the most talked about demise of Thilanga Sumathipala in cricket and introduction of Prevention of offenses relating to Sports Bill has changed the dynamics of the game in the Island.
In Cricket, his decision to allow selectors to appoint Dimuth Karunaratne has done wonders for Sri Lanka, as now the team is consistently winning matches under his inspirational leadership in both Test and ODI formats.