Alexander Obeyesekere won many hearts at 1948 London Games | Daily News
Sri Lankan Olympic stars of yesteryear:

Alexander Obeyesekere won many hearts at 1948 London Games

Alexander Obeyesekere
Alexander Obeyesekere

Alexander Indrajit Obeyesekere was born on March 9, 1918 to a boxing family. His father, Donald Obeyesekere who followed boxing at the Cambridge University in 1898, pioneered the introduction of boxing to Sri Lanka and is known as the ‘father of boxing’ in this country.

In addition, Alexander’s brother, Danton Obeyesekere won several National Boxing Championships and also served as a judge at the London Olympic Games in 1948.

Alexander took to boxing at the age of 10 under the guidance of his father and brother and displayed his talent at several Inter-Schools Boxing Meets.

He also played a major role in helping Royal College to clinch the Stubbs Shield Boxing Championships on several occasions.

Alexander won the heavyweight ‘B’ class at the Stubbs Shield in 1935 and took the heavyweight ‘A’ class title in the following year.

Alexander first participated in the National Boxing Meet in 1939 and won the amateur and the intermediate bouts. As a strong puncher, he defeated the more fancied Sally of the CLI to win the lightweight class.

In 1941, he won the welterweight class and received his colours for boxing while winning his bout at the Layton Cup and Clifford Cup Meets. He also went on to clinch the Clifford Cup in 1942 after a close contest.

Exhibition Boxing Meets were very popular in Ceylon during this era and Alexander had the opportunity of defeating the champion of the British Army in the welterweight class during a similar contest. In 1946, he won the Layton Cup in the welterweight class and the National Championships in the welterweight and middleweight classes.

He also defeated Corporal Alfred of the Army in the welterweight class and won the Clifford Cup in 1947. He then had the better of D. M. D. V. Perera of the Railway Department to win the National Championship.

Alexander won some very close fights against Chris de Saram during the Selection Trials before qualifying to participate at the 1948 London Olympic Games.

At the Olympics, Alexander cleared his first hurdle successfully while overcoming his opponent G. P. Turkey of Pakistan quite convincingly.

However, his hopes were shattered when he was knocked-out by Z. Kula of Poland during the second-round competition. Despite that setback, Alexander kept his momentum in the local boxing scene and defeated young Vincent Perera in the second-round of the 1949 National Boxing Championships. Thereafter, he was selected to represent the county at the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand mainly because of his unbeaten record in the local boxing scene.

He certainly lived upto expectations and won a Bronze Medal for Sri Lanka while coming in third in the welterweight class category.

He later joined the CR and FC and represented the club in several local and international encounters. Alexander was also known as the ‘Black Wolf’ in the field of boxing and earned a great amount of respect from the Englishmen for his unique style which had the capacity to draw and retain the attention of the onlookers during a fight.

He was also involved as a planter and was a proud father of one daughter and one son. He passed away on April 28, 2002 in Colombo at the age of 84. (C.D)