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SLTA marks 100th anniversary, gears up for international stage

Sohan Patrick (Vice President SLTA), Iqbal Bin Issack (President SLTA) and Suresh Subramaniam (Vice President SLTA)
Sohan Patrick (Vice President SLTA), Iqbal Bin Issack (President SLTA)
and Suresh Subramaniam (Vice President SLTA)

  The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) will be celebrating its
momentous 100th anniversary with the hosting of the prestigious
Asian Tennis Federation’s Annual General Meeting later this month.

A truly landmark event for the SLTA – which is the second-oldest tennis
association in Asia – the AGM marks the first time the Asian Tennis Federation
has held such a distinguished event in Sri Lanka and is anticipated to signal a
reinvigorated engagement between the Sri Lankan tennis community and its Asian
neighbours.
With the rising prominence of tennis, the sport is generating renewed
interest among a young international audience and SLTA President Iqbal Bin
Issack believes that the time is ripe to provide opportunities for more Sri
Lankan youth to enter the sport.

PG Gamage (VP), Sohan Patrick (VP), Iqbal Bin Issack (President), Suresh Subramaniam (VP), Pradeep Goonasekera (General Secretary), Ravindranath Perera (VP)
PG Gamage (VP), Sohan Patrick (VP), Iqbal Bin Issack (President),
Suresh Subramaniam (VP), Pradeep Goonasekera (General Secretary),
Ravindranath Perera (VP)
“In recent years the Sri Lankan public has been gaining more exposure to
international tennis and we can see that a lot more youth players are being
drawn to the sport. Sri Lanka has a vibrant sporting culture in general and I
believe that given the right opportunities and support, our youth players will
be able to go toe-to-toe against the best international players. Already we
have seen some promising performances from our youth players during the last
series of tournaments and this is only the beginning.”
Noting that the rise in popularity of tennis is already well underway, Issack
stated that the renewed interest in tennis would also generate valuable
opportunities for Sri Lanka’s private sector to partner with the SLTA to gain
international exposure and prestige while helping to develop tennis in Sri
Lanka.
1953 – Ceylon’s first Davis Cup team – L.P. Ernst, D.L. Fonseka, L.L. Fonseka (Manager), D. Scharenguivel and R. Ferdinands
1953 – Ceylon’s first Davis Cup team – L.P. Ernst, D.L. Fonseka,
L.L. Fonseka (Manager), D. Scharenguivel and R. Ferdinands
Development of Sri Lanka as an international destination for tennis is
also anticipated to attract a more affluent tourist demographic to the country,
a move that could prove to be highly beneficial for wider national goals.
In the build up to its centenary celebrations, the SLTA has been deeply
engaged in promoting the development of tennis in the island having successfully
conducted multiple back-to-back tournaments commencing from February this year.
The first three professional-level events are expected to provide an invaluable
stepping stone for local talent and were followed promptly with a further three
junior level tournaments in July, finishing up with three International Tennis
Federation under 18 tournaments for boys and girls that concluded in October.
Sri Lanka Davis Cup 2015 team - Harshana Godamanne, Sankha Atukorale, Yasitha de Silva, Dominic Utzinger (Coach), Rohan de Silva (Non playing captain) and Sharmal Dissanayake, Dineshkanthan Thangaraja
Sri Lanka Davis Cup 2015 team – Harshana Godamanne, Sankha Atukorale,
Yasitha de Silva, Dominic Utzinger (Coach),
 Rohan de Silva (Non playing captain) and
 Sharmal Dissanayake, Dineshkanthan Thangaraja
The tournaments succeeded in drawing significant international
participation with over 120 players, parents and coaches arriving in the
country this year. The tournaments also generated unprecedented opportunities
to showcase young Sri Lankan tennis talent, providing local players with vital
international exposure thereby honing their skills and forging lasting bonds of
camaraderie and friendship through tennis.

The sport of tennis was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1868 by British
nationals PF Hadow, Fonblanque and CHA Ross. The SLTA has enjoyed a rich and
storied history since its inception in 1915 during which time Governor Sir
Robert Chalmers served as the first President of the association. The sport has
always maintained an enthusiastic following in Sri Lanka with the 75th
anniversary of the SLTA in 1990 even being marked with a commemorative stamp
issued by the Government of the day under President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

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