A former Wesley College all-rounder, Nilam Hallaldeen, was elected as the new President of the Amateur Sepak Takraw Association of Sri Lanka (ASTASL) at their Annual General Meeting held recently.
Hallaldeen was elected to a four-year term after winning 25 votes to rival Azmin Ahamath’s 17 in a contest for the top job.
A former national sepak takraw player and national coach, the 57-year-old finance professional has pledged to bring the game across the island as well as to schools through the Ministry of Education.
Sepak takraw was confined among Malay associations in Colombo, Kandy, Hambantota, Nawalapitiya and Puttalam largely because of his Malaysian origins.
Hallaldeen represented Wesley in basketball, cricket and athletics (high jump) before pursuing a career in financial management, but continued to represent his employers such as AMW, Mercantile Credit and SAGT in Mercantile tournaments Cricket Association. He holds an MBA from the Postgraduate Institute of Management, is a member of Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and a life member of the Accounting Technicians Association of Sri Lanka.
He was first drawn to sepak takraw in 2009 as a recreational activity as a member of Kumpulan Melayu Kotikawatta (KMK) before getting into the sport seriously in 2016 when he toured with a team from Sri Lanka as manager and player for the invitational tournament. Sukan Dunia Festival. Melayu Dunia Islam (DMDI) held in Melaka, Malaysia.
He represented KMK at the 2016 National Sepak Takraw Championships as a player and captain of the team until January 2021. He was a regular national player from 2016 to 2019 as a tekong or server, representing Sri Lanka in the World Sepak Takraw Championship (King’s Cup) from 2016 to 2019 in Korat and Bangkok, Thailand, South Asian Sepak takraw Championship in 2017 in Colombo and in 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal. He captained the Sri Lanka team in the 2018 South Asian Sepak takraw championship held in Nepal and won a bronze medal for the “Regu” event. He was a member of the Sri Lanka team that won the bronze medal at the 2018 World Sepak takraw (King’s Cup) Championship in the team event (Tier 2 category).
He got accredited as a coach, after a seven-day course conducted by the Indian Sepak takraw Federation (SFI) in collaboration with the Asian Sepak takraw Federation (ASTAF) and also obtained an international level coach certificate. 1 of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTAF) in 2020. He was appointed National Sepak Takraw Coach for 2020/21 but was unable to operate following the Easter Sunday bombing and lockdowns of the Covid pandemic.
He became a member of the executive council of ASTASL, the governing body of sepak takraw in Sri Lanka, filling a vacant position during the latter part of 2021. He was instrumental in the introduction of the SOLO Ball Control Championship in as chair of the project sub-committee. promote the sport virtually with a demonstration of individual skills. This is perhaps the first time that such a field event has been successfully organized in Sri Lanka. The second round of the SOLO Ball Control Championship is scheduled for June 25.
He plans to popularize the sport throughout the country by forming district associations. Schools will also introduce sport through the Ministry of Education.
They are preparing to compete in the 35th King’s Cup in Thailand, but due to a lack of support from the relevant government authorities due to the current economic crisis, their participation has become highly doubtful. Donors are invited to come and support the team.
Here is the executive council of ASTASL for the years 2022 to 2026:
President – Nilam Hallaldeen
Vice Presidents – Saman Priyankara, HAY Sudarshana
General Secretary – Thassim Junkeer
Assistant Secretary – Shibly Marjan
Treasurer – Sunil Wanigabadu
Assistant Treasurer – Jeewana Pradeep Malgahagamage
Executive Council – Mohamed Ali Careem, Hemantha Dissanayake, Fredrick Romesh Kandiah, KAU Kodithuwakku, Suranga Sampath Perera, Anver Falill