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Glorious History of Sri Lanka Air Force Sports-by Air Commodore Padman de Costa

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Clifford Cup Winning SLAF Rugby Team

Clifford Cup Winning SLAF Rugby Team of 1986 with the Commander Air Marshal Walter Fernando


The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) which came in to being on 2nd March 1951as the Royal Ceylon Air Force (RyCAF) reaches the milestone of 71 years on 2 nd March 2022.

During the 71 years of existence, the SLAF has produced some outstanding sportsmen and women who have brought immense glory to the motherland. The notable feature of most these great men and women is that they have rendered their service not only in the field of sports yet have also excelled in their own profession in the SLAF.

The following achievements of these sports personnel have been written in gold in the annals of the SLAF history.

LAC Balasubramaniam, who established the National Record in Triple Jump at the Quadrangular Athletic Meet on 28 November 1959 receiving his Trophy from Major General Anton Muttukumaru, the Commander of the Royal Ceylon Army.
Sergeant Wijaya Nimal Perera who won a Bronze Medal in Fly Weight Category at the 8th Asian Games

First National Record by an Airman

Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Nagalingam Balasubramanium became the first RCyAF Airman to create a National Record, when he cleared a distance of 14.64 metres at the Triple Jump event at the Quadrangle Athletics Meet on 28 November 1959.

SLAF Soccer Team wins the prestigious FA Cup in 1975 and 1986

The SLAF Soccer team was a leading soccer team in the country in 1970s and 1980s and won many major championships on offer. They won the prestigious FA Cup in 1975 and 1986 whilst producing champion players of the Mahinda Aluvihare, Sumith Walpola, Mahinda Palitha and Sampath Perera. In 1975, SLAF won the FA Cup under LAC Edmand Silva and Corporal SC Kapukotuwa led the team to victory in 1986.

Sergeant Wijaya Nimal Perera wins a Bronze Medal in Fly Weight Category at the 8th Asian Games

Sergeant Wijaya Nimal Perera was an outstanding boxer produced by the SLAF. He won a Bronze Medal in Fly Weight Category at the 8th Asian Games in Thailand in 1978. He is the first SLAF athlete to have won a medal at the Asian Games. In 1974, Perera was selected as the Best Boxer at National Boxing Championship, Defence Service Boxing Meet, Clifford Cup, Layton Cup and Albert Perera Memorial Cup Boxing Meets.

SLAF Rugby Team wins the prestigious Clifford Cup in 1986

The finest moment of SLAF Rugby was the winning of Clifford Cup in 1986 under Corporal Lakshman Caldera beating a star-studded Police SC 10 -8. In the Quarter Finals, SLAF beat Navy SC 44 -10 and beat CH & FC 8-4 in the semi-final. A try in the extra time by Flying Officer Harsha Fernando helped Air Force SC to beat CH & FC after the scores stood at 4-all at full time. Air Force SC confronted the mighty Policemen in the final on 16 August 1986 and scored a sensational 10-8 win to clinch club rugby’s richest prize – the Clifford Cup. Second row forward Corporal Lofty Perera (jnr) scored the solitary try for the Airmen, while Corporal Tony Wimalasuriya fired across two penalties.

National Netball Team to Asian CrownNational Netball Team to Asian Crown

Squadron Leader Chathurangi Jayasooriya leads National Netball Team to Asian Crown

Sqn Ldr Chathurangani Jayasooriya led the National Netball team to glory when the Sri Lanka Netball team won the Asian Netball Championship in 2018 in Singapore. Subsequently, she led the National team at the Netball World Cup in England in 2019.

Corporal Nimali Liyanarchchi wins the Silver medal in 800m at the CISM World Military Games in China in 2019

Nimali Liyanarchchi, the 800m and 1500m former national champion brought immense glory to Sri Lanka and SLAF through her record breaking performances. During the 7 th edition of the World Military Games, that was held in Wuhan, China in October 2019, Cpl Nimali Liyanarchchi won the Silver Medal in women’s 800m thus became the first Silver Medalist produced by the Sri Lanka Defence Services at the world military games.

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