Epitome of an Olympic Athlete : Major Duncan White
1979, Notice under Section 31  [a], the Minister of Finance Hon D B Wijetunga in 1991 declared the Foundation an Approved Charity.
In 1992 Member of Parliament Hon C V Gooneratne introduced a Private Member’s Bill and steered successfully through Parliament to incorporate the Foundation; Act No: 21 of 1992.
Duncan White passed away on July 03, 1998 at 80 years of age. With Duncan gone, his Silver Medal victory has been permanently etched in the annals of sporting history of Sri Lanka.
An array of distinguished and prominent people were associated at the inaugural meeting and thereafter. The first President, 1990-94, was Kavan Rambukwella. The second, 1994-98, was Ken Balendra. Jennifer Moragoda, was the third President, from 1998-2002, and the fourth President is Chrisantha Perera. The Foundation did not hold the Annual General Meeting thereafter for several disturbing reasons.
Distinguished persons and businessmen were members of the Council of Trustees, the Committee of Delegates and the Board of Directors, serving from 1990 thru 2002, as Trustees, Delegates and Board members; they were: Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Christopher White [Duncan’s son], Milinda Moragoda, Elmo Rajasooria, the Liaison Committee – Washington DC, represented by C Vijitha Fernando, Ranjit Abeysuriya, Gwen Herat, Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar, Stanley Unamboowe, Ravi Fernando, Mitra Ariyasingha, W M Bandaranayaka, Imthiaz Cader, Brigadier C Nissanka Panabokke, Christopher de Saram, Summa Navaratne, Malik Samarawickreme, Rear Admiral Justin Jayasuriya, Brigadier Devinda Kalupahana, Brigadier B Munasinghe, Anton Wijeyegoonewardena, Nilani Fernando and Neville Abeygoonewardena served as Secretary to these bodies.
The Liaison Committee of Washington DC was represented by Mohamed V Muhsin (Chairman and former Vice President of the World Bank), Srilal M Perera, Devinda R Subasinghe, Cecil M Perera and C Vijitha Fernando (Secretary) (all of the World Bank) and had the support of senior World Bank staff: D A de Silva and David Loos.
The Liaison Committee of Australia was headed by Edward I Gray.
The Liaison Committee of Great Briton had as its Chairman Elmo Rajasooria and Trinitian Gamini Sumanasekera served as a member.
In Jennifer Moragoda’s Presidency, the Foundation recorded with great delight, enthusiasm and relief, the victory of another Olympic Medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The amazing sprint in the Women’s 200 metres by Susanthika Jayasinghe winning a Bronze Medal. This Olympic medal was won after a lapse of 52 years.
Friends of Chrisantha Perera in Los Angeles assisted Susanthika to obtain the services of a top notch coach in Tony Campbell. Jennifer organized a Trust Fund for her and later gave it to Susanthika to manage.
Duncan was indeed an extraordinary gentleman. Those who rallied to honour him are also exceptional people. If they weren’t, Duncan would not have enjoyed the recognition he deserved after some five decades.
By Vijitha Fernando