18th Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, a top class golfer

Wednesday, 4 November 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, a top class golfer 

By Shamseer Jaleel

SLAF Commander Sudarshana Pathirana

It takes a great amount of patience, perseverance, strength of mind and character. Only a handful possess all those qualities and one such individual is the newly-appointed 18th Commander of the Sri

Lanka Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana. 

Pathirana, a former Dharmaraja College student and an accomplished pilot, dedicated leader and an all-round gentleman and a top class golfer, is a member of the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, Royal Colombo Golf Club and Eagle’s Golf Links.

Air Marshal Pathirana’s long journey in golf began back in the year 2011 when he was serving as the Commandant of Sri Lanka Air Force Academy in China Bay. Inspired by the sport, it was during his tenure at the Academy that the 18-hole Eagle’s Golf Links China Bay was established, which is known to be one of the most difficult courses in the country. 

Since then, Air Marshal Pathirana has taken part in almost all golf tournaments that have been held at the Eagle’s Golf Links, to include the much-anticipated Commander’s Trophy Golf Tournament that began in 2013.

Being an avid golfer, in 2014, he was appointed as Chairman – Golf of the Air Force Sports Council and under his leadership the Sri Lanka Air Force saw two more golf links emerge. One is at Eagle’s Heritage Golf Course and the other one at Anuradhapura. 

A noteworthy accomplishment came into fruition in the form of a nine-hole golf course and club house at Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Katunayake, designed and built by Air Marshal Pathirana. This was accomplished during his tenure as the Base Commander of SLAF Base in Katunayake.

Marking a great milestone in golf history of the country, Air Marshal Pathirana, as the Chairman – Golf of the Air Force Sports Council, undertook the enormous responsibility of organising and hosting one of the most prestigious events in the world, the 11th CISM Golf Championships (World Military Golf Championships) in 2017. This was the first CISM tournament that was held in Sri Lanka and it proved to be a roaring success, with the participation of 10 nations. The tournament was held at the Eagle’s Golf Links in China Bay.

He emerged Champion of the Defence Services Golf Tournament (Over 45 category) in 2018. Sri Lanka Air Force emerged victorious in this tournament as well, under his leadership. 

More recently, he emerged victorious in the DIMO Mercedes Trophy 2019, by securing the Champions Trophy in Handicap Group C Open category. Air Marshal Pathirana also won the Runners-Up Trophy Division ‘B’ at the Highlanders Cup Golf Tournament organised by the Sri Lanka Army in 2019. His last appearance was at the Club Championship at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Course.

Pathirana represented Sri Lanka on two occasions. In 2016 he was the Chief of Mission that led the Sri Lankan team in Netherlands for the 10th CISM Golf Championship, and in the year 2018, he was appointed as the Manager of the team that took part in the 12th CISM Golf Championships in Germany. 

He has made many contributions towards the development of junior golf, in close collaboration with the Sri Lanka Golf Union (SLGU) where less-privileged children from around the country were given the opportunity to learn and play the great game of golf. All required facilities were provided by the Sri Lanka Air Force free of charge under his supervision.

He is also a member of the International Military Sports Council (CISM) Golf Committee and holds the honour of being an International Golf Referee for CISM, having also passed the Level 2 qualification of the USGA (United States Golf Association) and R and A Rules.