Geophysicist with an illustrious sporting career

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By Vimukthi Adithya      

Not many can perfectly balance studies, sports, work, social life and other extracurricular activities. If you think it is a difficult task, then the story of Nimal Jayawickrama will definitely motivate you and drive you to find a perfect balance in what you do.

An old boy of Mahinda College Galle (1954 to 1968), Nimal bid farewell with an unmatched legacy, indeed a legacy of his own. This was evident when he took part in seven different sports and excelled in them all, bringing fame to his Alma Mater. In addition, Nimal was a senior prefect, too. 

Cricket was his favourite sport at school, and the teenager excelled in the game by becoming the best bowler. In the 1967 ‘Lovers Quarrel’ (big match) between Mahinda and Richmond, his brilliant bowling spell of four wickets for 12 runs saw Mahinda force a draw from a hopeless position. Nimal was awarded the best bowler award for his performance.

Nimal was a good javelin thrower and won the event at the all-island public school athletic meets. Jayawickrama was also a member of the inaugural Rugby team and played as a wing three quarter. He also showcased his kicking talents when he was a part of the football team as well. 

Engaging in sports like Karate, Gymnastics and Wrestling mainly touches on raw power and masculinity, and Nimal expanded his range by participating in these three sports as well. 

After bidding farewell in 1968, Nimal followed a NDT/Technician course at the Katubedda campus, and then got into the Peradeniya University, where he qualified as a Geophysicist. 

At the University his love for sports did not fade away. He was a member of the athletics pool being the record holder in the Javelin Throw and Triple Jump. Nimal engaged himself in all the sports he did while in school, and was a coloursman in five sports. 

Nimal’s leadership qualities were evident when he captained the Peradeniya Campus athletic team twice, and also led the University team to Moscow. After his illustrious University career, both as a sportsman and a student, he worked in the Department of Physics teaching staff and the Peradeniya Campus in 1974. Jayawickrama then moved into an exciting and engaging professional career where he joined Petroleum Corporation as a Geophysicist and conducted marine seismic surveys, land seismic, gravity and magnetic surveys all around the country. Nimal received his training in Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, and China. He also worked with the Sri Lanka Navy and was in charge of explosives. 

This wonderful human being worked at Petroleum Corporation for 35 years providing his expertise and knowledge to the nation. Age was not a barrier for Nimal to be engaged in sports. He was a silver medalist in Javelin at the Asian veteran games held in Singapore. He was also the best sportsman of the Petroleum Corporation. Later in his career Nimal was elected as Secretary of the Nationalised Services Athletics Association. This wonderful gentleman showcased his brilliance in the field of art as well. He is a diploma holder from Indian Bhatkhande School of music, acted in Maname, Sinhabahu, Ramayanaya and many more stage dramas. Nimal also acted in few teledramas and movies, and as a photographer he has conducted three exhibitions at the campus. Nimal also wrote and published his book ‘Podiththo’ and has a good command of the Japanese language.

After an illustrious career serving the nation, Nimal has now retired and leads a quiet life.