Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Remembering former national boxing champion Percy Fernando
Former national boxing champion Percy Fernando passed away on May 27 at the age of 88 after a brief illness.
An old boy of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya and Zahira College, Maradana, Percy was a versatile sportsmen who excelled in boxing, athletics, tennis and cricket.
Boxing was his first love and he made his debut in the Western Province Schools Championships in July 1949 and won his weight category and the Donald Obeysekera Cup for the Best Boxer. He went on to win four Best Boxer Cups at the Junior Championships in 1949 and at the Intermediates meet in 1951. In the novices meet in 1950 he won the pin weight title.
Percy joined the Central Bank in 1957 and represented the bank in boxing and cricket with many outstanding performances. He won the bantam weight final at the Government Services Boxing
Championships in 1952 and annexed the Best Boxer’s award.
In 1957, Percy moved to the Department of Prisons to further his boxing career. He joined as a Jailor Class II and through his exemplary services, rose to become Senior Deputy Commissioner of Prisons and was one time Acting Commissioner of Prisons. He represented the Department of Prisons in various sports such as boxing, athletics, cricket and tennis.
Percy was the national flyweight boxing champion for four consecutive years and five years later came out of retirement and won the national flyweight title for the fifth time, displaying his determination and courage. Percy represented Ceylon at international level in many sporting events and won a bronze medal in 1957 at the South East Asia Boxing Championships in Rangoon, Burma which was the pinnacle of his vibrant boxing career.
Later as a boxing coach, he had the distinction of producing several national champions who went on to represent the country.
He also represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Veterans Athletics Championships held in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia in 1990 and in Singapore In 1992. He won the 5000 metres Walking Race and the Triple Jump and became runner up in the Long Jump event at the 7th Annual Athletic Championship meet conducted by the Sri Lanka Veterans Athletic Association in 1992.
During his distinguished career at the Department of Prisons, Percy was selected to undergo training courses in Sri Lanka and abroad. He underwent a training course in Correctional Services at the
International Training Institute in Sydney, Australia in 1980. He has also been on study tours to Australia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. He also did a special study tour of Drug Centres in Malaysia and Singapore sponsored by the National Drug Control Board in 1990.
He was an eminent social service worker and was appointed as an All Island Justice of Peace. He was the President of the Rotary Club of Kandy in 1978/ 79. He was also the Scouts Commissioner of Gampaha District from 1981 to 1986 and was awarded the ‘Thanks Badge’ for his support and contribution towards scouting in Sri Lanka by former President RanasinghePremadasa.
Thus, the curtain fell on an illustrated career of a true gentleman and an evergreen sportsman.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.