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.

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