Renovated Jaffna Stadium opened
[TamilNet, Monday, 02 March 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The completely renovated Alfred Duraiappa Stadium in Jaffna town was ceremonially declared open by Brigadier Shantha Kottegoda, the General Commanding Officer (GOC) of the SLA's 51 division, this afternoon at 3.30 p.m.
He was taken in a procession from Jaffna main street with the bands of Vembady Girls' School and the Jaffna Holy Family Convent marching ahead.
The Brigadier, speaking after the opening, said that Jaffna has many good athletes and it can produce many Muraleedarans in the future (Muraleedaran is a bowler in the Sri Lankan cricket team).
The function was attended by Brigadier Susantha Mendis, the SLA's Jaffna town commander (51-2 brigade), Col. L.L.B.V Rajaguru, the Jaffna Municipal Commissioner Mr. V.P Balasingham, the bishop of Jaffna Thomas Savundaranayagam, the head of the Nallai Aatheenam Srilasri Somasundara Paramachchariya Swamigal and the Buddhist priest Gnanaratna Thero and some representatives of the Tamil parties active in Jaffna.
A speech blessing the opening of the stadium was made by the Buddhist monk.
The Jaffna Government Agent (GA) did not turn up for the function because he had been given the invitation only around 11 a.m. this morning and as he had already made arrangements for a meeting with the delegation from the Japanese embassy he could not come for the function.
The reopening of the Duraiapph stadium which was mostly destroyed by the fighting in Jaffna has been a top priority for the SLA.
The Sri Lankan government Ministry of Sports promptly provided funds at the request of the SLA and Jaffna Municipal workers were used by the army for expediting the renovation work.
Critics of the project in Jaffna point out the lethargic approach the SLG has taken towards actually rebuilding the Jaffna library premises near the stadium.
Alfred Duraiappah was Mayor of Jaffna and member of the SLFP. The SLFP was the ruling party at the time. He was shot dead in 1975 by Tigers.