2 June, 2023


Serena To Tharjini: The Battle For Gender Justice In Sport

By Chamindra Weerawardhana

Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana

Sri Lanka achieved a spectacular victory of 69-50 against Singapore at the 2018 Asian championships. The fantastic performance of the Sri Lankan team’s power women was very much an example of resilience, in a local context in which women in sport face a range of specific challenges, primarily linked to ways in which patriarchy reigns in the sporting sphere. Most often, women in sport do not receive the same visibility, facilities, exposure, pay and recognition as men in sport. This is blatantly apparent, for example, in the sphere of cricket. Systemic forms of discrimination are so entrenched in the sporting sphere that the secondary position women in sport are relegated to, is often taken for granted.

Women in Sport: Challenging Patriarchy and Claiming Space

Systemic discrimination against women in sport is so extensive that not even the most powerful and most exceptionally talented women are spared. At the US Open finals on 10th September 2018, it was none other than Serena Williams who took the toll of sexist mistreatment.

Williams was handed a series of code violations. The first code collation warning concerned coaching. and to quote CNN, “…that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, gave her hand signals from the stands”. The next penalty came for smashing her racket, followed by a game penalty for verbal abuse after she confronted the umpire, Carlos Ramos. Amidst loud cheers from the spectators, Williams branded the umpire a “thief” and later refused to shake his hand.

Sri Lanka’s Power Women: the Asian Championships final between Sri Lanka and Singapore. The picture shows Captain Chathurangi Jayasuriya jumping to block, as Singapore’s Toh Kai Wei attempts to pass. Photo credits: Bakamoono.lk/Straits Times.

Some of Serena Williams’s observations at a press conference held after the game provide food for thought to everyone committed to addressing gender-based systemic discrimination in sport. To quote her verbatim:

“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’.

For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal — like [Alize] Cornet should be able to take off her shirt without getting a fine. This is outrageous.

I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions, and that want to express themselves, and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person”. [Emphasis mine].

The emboldened words above would speak to many, if not to all sportswomen across the world. In the aftermath of this episode, footage circulates across social media of men, especially cis white men, losing it during matches, with next to no action being taken against them. They also do not face the hostility, arrogance, and anger of many people, especially men, targeted towards Serena Williams.

Amidst considerable opposition to Williams from many quarters, the Women’s Tennis Association [WTA] released a statement in support of Williams, claiming that:

“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same. We do not believe that this was done last night,”

An Australian media house controlled by the Murdoch media empire published a cartoon of Williams with extremely sexist, misogynist and discriminatory undertones. Given the highly offensive nature of this cartoon, it will not be shared here. Instead, I share the image below which highlights the absolute power of Serena Williams, and her position as a role model and a world-class sportswoman.

Credits: Facebook.com, ©Edmund Iffland, Janeia Krueger

Many social media users commented on the extreme levels of double-standards and misogynoir targeted at a black woman in sport, also highlighting that this is very much a shared experience, not limited to the specific incident concerning Williams.

This episode is very much the of the iceberg. Women in sport face major hurdles in securing their agency, in getting the rightful recognition to their talent, and in getting paid. If the treatment of one of the world’s best paid sportswomen [Serena Williams] is still couched in sexism, one could only imagine the hurdles sportswomen with lesser levels of agency have to put up with.

Equality in Sport: A Priority that cannot wait

The sporting sector in Sri Lanka often makes news due to conflicts and confrontations between individuals spearheading sporting federations, and due to a great deal of politicking and bureaucracy in the management of federations. These forms of infighting adversely affect women in sport. Sexism, socially conservative patriarchal perceptions, and discriminatory attitudes that are taken for granted are just a handful of the structural factors that cause additional barriers to women in sport.

In such a backdrop, the national Netball team’s victory is a tremendous achievement. It is a demonstration of courage and resilience, and the power of Sri Lankan women. This victory can be deployed to strengthen the agency of women in sport, by measures such as steps to close off the gender pay gap in sport, ensuring the best of facilities and support to women in sport, and enhancing their visibility as public figures.

Cis-het patriarchal ways: the primary challenge?

Cis-hetero-patriarchal perceptions represent the foremost primary barrier in efforts to address issues of gender justice in sport. Many men adopt a somewhat condescending attitude towards women in sport. Even when they voice standpoints that are apparently “supportive” of women in sport, all too often, such “support” waters down to expressions of their social conservatisms and casual sexism. Social media was awash with such expressions of “support” from men in the run-up to the final match of the Asian netball championship and in the immediate aftermath of the Sri Lankan team’s spectacular victory. By upholding a patronising and overpowering attitude, what they do is in fact reinforcing the very same phallocentric [non]value system that causes the multi-layered repressive treatment of women in sport in the first place. In these expressions of support and solidarity, there is absolutely no inclination to recognise the fact that the root cause of these inequalities lies in a cis-hetero-patriarchal system. Women, if one follows this non[discourse], invariably become a ‘secondary’ subject, whose agency must be ‘manned’ by men [in the context of Sri Lanka, read cis-heteronormative, mostly Sinhalese men].

Repressive cis-hetero-patriarchal attitudes are so entrenched across the board that they are not only apparent in individual men. They are also upheld by many women, whose outlook has been conditioned by a cis-hetero-patriarchal system. To illustrate further, they often credit men as the benefactors, if not the progressive voices that stand for women’s rights. They help add credibility to the kind of “supportive men” mentioned above. Not once do they critically question the male privilege  of such men and their reluctance to admit the ills of an inherently patriarchal ‘system’. This is not a problem specific to Sri Lanka or to other places in the global South. It is a global phenomenon. It was Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau who stated on International Women’s Day 2017 that we should use that day – a day that zooms in on systemic inequalities, cis-hetero-patriarchal oppression, and intersectional struggles of women across the world – to praise the likes of her husband Justin, for promoting gender equality!

In commenting about the netball team, one social media user commended the coach, Ms. Thilaka Jinadasa, not for her extraordinary talent, leadership and exceptional mastery of the game, but for ‘protecting the self-respect of a women’s team’. I was among those who commented their post, asking what they meant by “කාන්තා කණ්ඩායමක ආත්ම ගරුත්වය”. Then they lashed out at me, taking an abusive and misogynist detour. This is but a minor example of how socially conservative Sri Lanka views women in sport. Even when such conservatives take a supportive line, it is still couched in a discourse of oppression, marginalisation and denial of agency.

Cis-het-patriarchy in action: media portrayals of power women

The same oppressive discourse is glaringly present in many aspects of the visual imagery surrounding women’s sporting teams, as well as in media presentations of women in sport, which revolve around the “politics of respectability” that women are expected to conform to. It is as if women in sport can only be presented to the public if they are clad in such a way that corresponds to notions of socially conservative respectability politics of women’s attire and external image. Such notions are invariably cisnormative and carry highly patronizing and majoritarian-chauvinist undertones.

This was apparent, for instance, in a television programme aired on the morning of 12 September 2018 on national TV. Trixi Nanayakkara, the head of the Netball Federation and Coach Thilaka Jinadasa were placed at the centrepoint, automatically conveying the impression of an ageist hierarchy between the absolute stars of the day – the players – and netball management. This does not in any way mean that the Chairperson of the Netball Federation and the extremely talented coach should receive less media attention. On the contrary, they fully deserve all the possible attention, respect and media limelight. However, the point made here concerns how the media [especially the state-run media] perceives women in sport. The players, the federation Chair and the Coach are received with flower bouquets at the beginning of the talk show, and they are forced to constantly hold on to the bouquets while the discussion goes on. Refreshments are served live, and the players are still forced to hold on to the bouquets, while holding a plate with refreshments at the same time. It is as if the state media wanted to portray a highly cis [and indeed hetero]-normative “flower bouquet-holding” picture of these absolute power women, international sporting figures and quintessential national sheroes.

This kind of visual imagery is meant for the consumption of a socially conservative and cis-hetero-normative audience. It is also a type of imagery that is aimed at avoiding the slightest “discomfort” to the aforementioned [and ever so fragile] cis-het-patriarchal masculinity.

The problem in this type of representation is evident when this talk show is compared with one attended by victorious sportsmen. In such instances, all the representation and imagery are targeted at zooming in on the ‘power’, sporting prowess and acumen of the men in question. They are also given higher levels of agency, when expressing themselves and in portraying themselves as national figures. When it comes to women, the clearly noticeable feature is an inclination to objectify them before the camera, to scale down their agency, and to reduce their opportunities of emerging as national-level role models and strong voices in public life.

Intersectional challenges: Need for a consistent dialogue and prompt action

The best way to ensure the momentum of the national Netball Team’s tremendous victory and to honour the absolute sheroes who made this happen, is to build a dialogue around a plan of action that focuses on the multiple challenges faced by women in sport. The totality of such problems can be traced to the intersections of gender, social class, ethnicity and a range of related factors, which further heighten the obstacles that highly talented sportswomen are forced to deal with. In terms of public policy in relation to sport, it is crucial to take these intersectional concerns into account. 

The intersections of ethnicity, talent and sport require critical engagement. As some commentators have rightly noted, the presence of Thargini Sivalingam, – an absolute powerhouse of a sportswoman and a Tamil woman from Jaffna – is the exception. As we stroll on to the 10th anniversary of the end of the 30-year war, special emphasis on children and young people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, and steps to identify and support young talent, are absolute priorities. In terms of developing the sports sector in the two provinces, there is a clear need for context-specific initiatives that work towards enhancing access to quality sporting facilities, enabling new talent to emerge.

No nonsense: Thargini Sivalingam in action. Photo credits: ©Michael Bradley.

A word about the ethnopolitics of sport is highly warranted. Across social media, quite a few memes highlight the duplicity among many Sinhalese when it comes to talented Sri Lankans who are Tamils.

“Thargini, for as long as you win matches for us without asking for anything else, we love you” Image credits: P. Jayawardena and Facebook.com.

“What’s the reason behind the [Sinhalese] love for Tharjini and hatred of Vijayakala?” Credits: T. Warathas & Facebook.com

These memes point at a bitter reality, where ‘talent’ and ‘bringing credit to Sri Lanka’ are appreciated, but if a Tamil person takes a firm stand in relation to their rights and specific issues that especially concern the Tamil community such as missing persons, linguistic equality, post-war gender justice issues or any related matter, they immediately become the foe, the despised, the hated. There is a crucial need to reflect upon these paradigms, and come to terms with the fact that Tamils and all other minorities make huge contributions to Sri Lanka, that they are full-fledged Sri Lankan citizens, and that they have every right to stand for their rights and freely express their views without the constant risk of majoritarian backlashes. As one writer articulately notes:

ඇය දෙමලෙකි [sic]. පට්ට දෙමළෙකි [sic]. යාපනයේ දෙමළෙක් [sic] වූ ඇය ලංකාවටම කියන නමුත් කිසිවකු තේරුම් නොගන්නා කතාවකි. ලංකාවේ බහුතරය අදහන්නේ තර්ජිනීලා සාමයේ හා සංහිඳියාවේ ප්‍රතිමූර්තීන් ලෙසය. නමුත් තර්ජිනී පවසන ඇතුලාන්තය තේරුම් ගැනීමට තරම් අප සංස්කෘතිකව මෝරා නැත. නැත්තම් අපි කැමති නැත….අප තර්ජිනී ගැන උදම් අනන්නේ ඇය අපට ආසියානු ශූරතාවක් දිනා දුන් නිසා විතරය. අප මුරලි ගැන උදම් අනන්නේ ඔහු ක්‍රිකට් ලොව දිග්විජය කළ නිසා විතරය. එසේ නොවන්නට එදත් අදත් හෙටත් මුරලිලා තර්ජිනීලා බෙදුම්වාදී හැඩි දෙමළුන් විතරය.

Challenging ethno-national prejudices and working collectively towards ensuring the agency of minority communities remains a major national priority. An absolute national shero, Ms. Sivalingam made a very important and highly commendable comment at the very end of a statement to the media upon returning to Colombo after the impressive Asian championship victory. She mentioned that her gratitude went to her parents, family and friends, and to her Tamil people. This is a comment of tremendous importance, as it helps zoom in on ethnonationally-motivated inequalities and multiple intersections that cause specific, and invariably harder obstacles for talent to emerge from the Tamil community, especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces [Indeed. these challenges are also harshly manifest elsewhere, such as in Malayaga Tamil communities, where systemic marginalisation and economic deprivation continue to be grossly under-addressed].

Securing Gender Justice in Sport

If structural factors that affect the sporting sector as a whole are to be addressed, there is a clear necessity to take a player-centric approach that cuts through the thick and thin of sporting bureaucracy. When a player is faced with any form of abuse, ill-treatment, marginalisation due to favouritism or any other factor, an impartial and transparent authority should be in place, where complaints can be lodged and investigations can be carried out, in the best interests of the player. The list of talented players [especially women] who have left national-level sports due to issues of disillusionment is long, and steps towards transforming sport-related administrative and management praxes will be a vital factor in securing the best talent.

Sri Lanka has a sad record of abusive treatment of sportswomen. It was the cabinet Minister of Sports who landed in hot water with allegations of sexual misdemeanour towards the country’s most high-profile woman in sport, Olympic medallist Deshabandu Susanthika Jayasinghe. It was another senior cabinet minister – who is still a cabinet minister currently stands for progressive positions of good governance, and as of late, affirms his support to LGBTQIA+ rights in public – who defended his abusive colleague in Parliament. To set the record straight, it is worth quoting the Sunday Times edition of 23rd November 1997:

‘Mr. Samaraweera said he felt a debate should not have been allowed on what he described or damned as the “hallucination of a deranged woman [Deshabandu Susanthika Jayasinghe].”…Heaping scorn on Susanthika’s allegations that she was subjected to sexual harassment and pressure by an authority in the Sports Ministry, Mr. Samaraweera questioned the sex appeal of a person he saw more like a black American. With the regular din in Parliament many in the House and the media gallery may well have not heard the reference properly. After all American and African especially in Sinhala sound similar.

Even the Hansard reporter appears to have got it confused because there is evidently some deletion and over-writing in the original unedited copy of that day’s proceedings. According to the Un-edited Hansard the wording goes in Sinhala as “for me she looks a black black [sic] American man.” [emboldened emphasis mine].

This was the extent of sexism, misogyny, colourism and abusive language used by a cabinet minister, targeting the country’s one and only Olympic medal-winning sportswoman. Irrespective of the issue that involved Ms Jayasinghe and the Minister of Sports, even a consensual intimate encounter falls within the realm of ‘abuse’, because of the substantial power imbalance between the cabinet minister of Sports and an athlete. Some segments of Sri Lankan media have ever since sought to sensationalise the story, oftentimes referring to Ms Jayasinghe in a somewhat condescending manner.

If you juxtapose this episode with the aforementioned sorry treatment of Serena Williams, it becomes crystal-clear that even the huge task of braving the oppressive patriarchal practices of sport, and climbing to the very top do not shield a woman from mistreatment and double standards.

That women in sport are constantly brought to put up with the challenges of patriarchal scorn and misogyny is a reality that needs a great deal of exposure. It is a destructive reality that has to be promptly addressed through concerted and transparent measures. On that note, it goes without saying that there should be no space whatsoever for any form of racism, sexism, colourism, misogyny, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, queerphobia, intersexphobia or any other dehumanising phobias in the sporting sector. Efforts to enhance gender justice in sport are thoroughly inadequate in the absence of steps to fully ensure the rights of queer sportswomen to live their lives freely, love who they love, and build their sporting careers with dignity, free from any form of intimidation, stigma or discrimination. 

Building Role Models: Challenging gender injustice in sport [and in society at large]

In sum, the disparities that sportswomen face should be fiercely challenged. The European Union’s Delegation in Colombo has, in a partnership with the Sri Lankan Ministry Education, commissioned Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to spearhead a gender equality awareness raising campaign. It is unfortunate to note that no sportswoman has been given the same opportunity to share the platform with them. When it comes to initiatives of this nature, it is crucial to highlight the vital importance of the popular hashtag #representationMatters. If sporting stars are to be included in a gender equality-related programme, such a programme should essentially include sporting superstars such as the excellent Chamari Atapattu, who, despite multiple forms of gender-based discrimination, such as the shameless gender pay gap, low access to facilities and less visibility, continue to prevail and bring tremendous credit to Sri Lanka. In fact, the Education Ministry’s gender equality programme would have been a lot more effective and worthwhile had it been entrusted upon leading women in sport, including, for example, Chamari Atapattu, Chaturangi Jayasuriya and Tharjini Sivalingam, with advisory oversight from towering figures such as Deshabandu Susanthika Jayasinghe.

Gender justice in sport should be a constant conversation and mission. The more gender justice is consolidated in sport, the more it will help strengthen gender justice in society at large. 

The writer is a gender justice advocate and political analyst.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8

    “it goes without saying that there should be no space whatsoever for any form of racism, sexism, colourism, misogyny, homophobia, lesbophobia, transphobia, queerphobia, intersexphobia or any other dehumanising phobias in the sporting sector”.

    Unfortunately we live in a cruel world. It may take centuries for some of the above to be realized. Disgusting to read the abusive remarks on the Tamil netball player when efforts are made to introduce sports to every corner of the country and through which build true reconciliation.

    • 4

      Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana,

      RE: Serena To Tharjini: The Battle For Gender Justice In Sport

      Here we are dealing with two evils, Racism and Sexism. Racism of the Para-Sinhala who came illegally to the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, and turn around and exhibit racism to the Para-Tamils, who also came from South India, per modern genetic studies.

      “ඇය දෙමලෙකි [sic]. පට්ට දෙමළෙකි [sic]. යාපනයේ දෙමළෙක් [sic] වූ ඇය ලංකාවටම කියන නමුත් කිසිවකු තේරුම් නොගන්නා කතාවකි. ලංකාවේ බහුතරය අදහන්නේ තර්ජිනීලා සාමයේ හා සංහිඳියාවේ ප්‍රතිමූර්තීන් ලෙසය. නමුත් තර්ජිනී පවසන ඇතුලාන්තය තේරුම් ගැනීමට තරම් අප සංස්කෘතිකව මෝරා නැත. නැත්තම් අපි කැමති නැත….අප තර්ජිනී ගැන උදම් අනන්නේ ඇය අපට ආසියානු ශූරතාවක් දිනා දුන් නිසා විතරය. අප මුරලි ගැන උදම් අනන්නේ ද ඔහු ක්‍රිකට් ලොව දිග්විජය කළ නිසා විතරය. එසේ නොවන්නට එදත් අදත් හෙටත් මුරලිලා තර්ජිනීලා බෙදුම්වාදී හැඩි දෙමළුන් විතරය.”

      She is a Tamil, Raw Tamil, Jaffna Tamil,…….We praise Thargani, ONLY because she got us the Asian victory. Same with Murali . if not they are ONLY , Separatist Raw Tamils (බෙදුම්වාදී හැඩි දෙමළුන් විතරය.).

      This is Para-Sinhala Racism, rather Para-Sinhala Par-“Buddhism”, introduced by the Para to the Land of native Veddah Aethho, who came illegally.

      • 5

        A non-academic view ……….

        In all honesty ……. I don’t know what to think of Serena’s episode

        Serena can’t handle defeat from way back ………. starting with Marina Hinges; she used to get sick on the court

        The only time the two met before ……… Naomi Osaka beat Serena in straight sets in March of this year in Florida

        But like she says I don’t think the Williams sisters have ever cheated to win matches …….. and for her to get a warning for coaching when she was not even looking at the coach did surely upset her and started the whole shebang in motion

        The Ramos dude could have handled the whole thing a lot better; that’s why they are there for ………. even though he acted within the rules of the game ……..

        And about discrimination …….. where do we start? ……… human mental make-up is such ……. they want to feel superior ……. feel superior to whom? …….. Others!

        Do you …… in your right mind …….. think that if ol’ Donald ……. comes to Lanka and have to walk around with Nimal Siripala De Silva ……. he wouldn’t feel superior?

        I always felt superior to short men ……. especially dark short Lankan men ……. used to look down my nose at them with utter disdain …….. until years ago at college orientation had to walk around with new-recruit basketball players ……. some over 7′ tall ……… The Human Condition 101 in a nutshell :))

        Only thang …….. in the egalitarian society we are all striving to establish ………. discrimination ….. of any form …… shouldn’t be “officially” institutionalized ………. if we can :)) ………. That’s the difficult thingy!!

        All else is fair game …….. that’s the way things have always been …… and always be.

        The smart and the fit learn to handle it ……… others perish.

        • 1

          nimal fernando, I was not inclined to make my thinking / opinion public, until I saw your comment. You are logical. But, being logical is not everything in Sports.
          You are right. William sisters don’t cheat to get a win. You are again right. Serena hates losing. But, you are not right about how the chair Umpire should have handled his job.
          Coaching from the sideline is not allowed at Slams. It did happen. Whether Serena saw it or not is academic. Don’t call Ramos a dude. That is being disrespectful.
          The whole episode started only because Serena overreacted to a fair ruling. Her tantrums was childish.
          The Tennis Court is not where you fight for women’s liberation.

          • 0

            What has happened has happened ………. you and I are just expressing opinions ……..yours is as valid as mine or vice versa

            “Coaching from the sideline is not allowed at Slams.”

            True…….. but coaching was going on from both sides ……. if Ramos is such a stickler for the rules/code ………. why just pick on one side? …….. enforce the rules fairly to both parties.

            unsanctioned/illegal coaching is so prevalent ……… now discussions are on to do away with the unenforceable rule

            ” you are not right about how the chair Umpire should have handled his job.”

            Umpires with a lot of “experience” – not rank amateurs – are appointed for big/important matches for a reason ………. not to let a match descend into a farce it eventually became for the paying public

            If you understand the pressures of competitive sports ……. a “crusading” “official” can totally ruin the flow of a game/match

            One has to make an effort to understand how this started (not what happened afterwards which is inexcusable) from Serena’s mind ……. where a warning comes out of the blue for coaching when she wasn’t even looking at the coach; in her mind she feels totally innocent of the charge and feels the need to defend herself …….. it’s totally understandable the way she reacted in that instance …….. she is a highly strung elite athlete

            No one is defending her actions that followed

            In the end all what Mr Ramos :)) achieved was ………. deny Osaka a clean victory ……… he left the impression she won only because a point and a game was handed to her ……… Mr Ramos should have just let Serena lose ……. which she was well on the way

            If I had a little more time I could have given you a few matches where the umpire handled things intelligently and diffused volatile situations ……… that comes with the territory of being an elite umpire

            “The Tennis Court is not where you fight for women’s liberation.”

            No one suggested ……….. certainly not I

            • 2

              nimal fernando,
              * Tennis Administration that appointed the chair umpire has commended Ramos for the way he handled the situation.
              * No action of Ramos was responsible for the circus Serena turned it into.
              * ‘it’s totally understandable’ does not make a wrong right.
              * ‘she is a highly strung elite athlete’; there lies the answer to where guilt lies.
              * The pleasure of winning her first Slam was ruined for Osaka by the upstart Serena, not Ramos.
              * “The Tennis Court is not where you fight for women’s liberation.”
              – ‘No one suggested ……….. certainly not I’. It was the defence of Serena.

              • 0


                Please please please let us try to be impassive, logical and rational in dissecting this ………. and refrain from wild accusations

                I’m not defending anyone …….. just trying to analyse a situation ………. unguided or impeded by emotions or prejudices ……… simply that

                There are two components to this episode ……. how the controversy started ……….. and what followed

                Serena did not start/initiate the controversy …….. it was a reaction to an accusation; an accusation of cheating

                Serena who has never cheated to win matches ……….. how does her mind work or feel ……… when in the heat of battle she is accused of cheating?

                She feels like billions of other humans who are falsely accused ………. angry and upset

                That’s how this started ………… one cant drag in her subsequent behaviour to carry-on a blanket condemnation ……… a trap most people unthinkingly fall into

                Umpires/referees with “experience” and not rank armatures are appointed for matches/games for a reason ……….. not just to be sticklers for rules/codes alone ……. but also to handle volatile situations and not to escalate them at the expense of viewers/spectators……some are good at it some are not ……. in this instance Ramos failed.

      • 1

        CT, we are surprised!! These comments are extremely inflamatory and deliberately divisive. And totally out of context.

  • 5

    What Serena Williams says is true. In the West as in the East there is discrimination. Blatant discrimination of women and in many cases, racial, ethnic, religious etc. These have now led to reverse discrimination. !! Anyone cares to make a suggestion on how these things can be remedied?

  • 9

    Thargini was left out of the team reception just only because she is Tamil. What a low class jealous from New King. Tamil Eelam is the only one can bring the honor such a magnificent, magical player needed to have received from the head of her country. .Out of 79 goals the team made, she did 74. Because she is the queen of the game, coward New King made sure she stay out of the reception. When he go out to Jaffna next time, the dirty will tell all lies on that. But Tamils know and he will get his share of votes from them on the next election. Thargini probably holding a Guinness Record on that game. One time, Murali Making Modaya Cricket Team to win cricket Championship and when he was gone, it is gone. Now Thargini doing that.

    Buddhist Lankawe doesn’t allow girls to work in restaurant in their land but export them to Middle East to work in the environment even without being able to maintain self respect. These Buddhist Nonas, as dreamed by the Chief Crook, as soon as they drop off from the plane, start their first day wearing the Muhadu. Ridiculous lunatics in the power doing so many meaningless things. There isn’t enough Thirukkai Waals in the country, that is why!

    • 2


      “Thargini was left out of the team reception just only because she is Tamil. What a low class jealous from New King. Tamil Eelam is the only one can bring the honor such a magnificent, magical player needed to have received from the head of her country. .Out of 79 goals the team made, she did 74.”

      Tamils should take the stand taken by Black Americans like Mohamed Ali and Malcolm X, and using the Para-Sinhala “Buddhists” as their target and repeatedly point out that Para-Sinhala Buddhism is not Buddhism, it is Racism, the way they treat the Para-Tamils, even though both are Para from South INDIA, per genetics. However, when it comes Racism, the Para-Tamils are worse. Just look at their caste system. Also Para-Tamils, ethnically cleansed the Para-Tamil Muslims from the North and the East.

      Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations


      Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

  • 5

    Serena Williams’s world-class sportswoman. Knows her limits in this tournament If you want to control someone Intimidation create physical, emotional, to lose confidence of in the game

    A gentleman of value is never threatened by a woman He will never feel intimidated or threatened by a woman.

  • 5

    Thargini Sivalingam was named the best World Cup player.


    She had a tough time, and survived due to her coach.
    It is surprising and tragic, that there is female gender bias in sports in Sri Lanka.
    This should be stamped out.

  • 4

    This article is a twist of truth, and a mal-representation of fact to say the least. You have opened your arguments with a statement to say that “Systemic discrimination against women in sport is so extensive that not even the most powerful and most exceptionally talented women are spared. At the US Open finals on 10th September 2018, it was none other than Serena Williams who took the toll of sexist mistreatment”. This per-conclusion is far from the real deductive conclusion as to what really happened at the Open Women’s Singles match.

    First and foremost, Dr. Chamindra W, is that you should be conversant with the Rules of the World Tennis Association (WTA ) who oversees all international tournaments. If you are not aware, then you should keep silent, and not waste ink and paper writing such nonsensical articles.

    Your effort to portray and confirm a gender discrimination based on Serena’s despicable course of action should warrant adverse criticism and NOT appraisal as you deems to suggest.

    In conclusion:
    You are clueless about the History of professional tennis, and more so of the previous melt-downs of Serena W when she was facing imminent defeat.

    You need a lot of Growing up, and I sincerely hope that you’s do so and learn the appropriate lessons in the process, else you’d not be penning such “ridiculous” articles.

  • 3

    Yes ! Certainly , Tamil girls and boys can equally do well or even better than
    the girls / boys from the majority community .
    Only problem in Srilanka the talent of individuals does not count but the untalented nincompoops get in the way and promoting the major national sports which is a total disaster or disgrace to these games.
    Talented sports men and women are overlooked .
    It was very sad for what ever happened to Serena Williams at the US Open Tennis.
    She never out stepped her professionalism. Unfortunately her exceptional talent in the tennis world has brought jealousy towards her.
    They bring up the colour , size , even the attire she wears brings a total jealousiness against her.
    The umpire too succumbed to these unhealthy judgement on the day.
    We have seen how many drama queens on tennis courts.
    Including Novak jokovic, ( drama queen) play silly pranks disrupts the game and have broken Racquets umpteenth times. No questions were asked.
    The drug queen Maria who is back on court since her detention , the screams would put off the oponent opposite let alone the spectators or even tv viewers.
    Excruciatingly painful annoying screams.
    These have been overlooked and said OK to continue.
    How many times have we seen on court training with other players.
    These Umpires brings the games to disrepute.
    In Srilanka why the President has to intervene that who should be included and not included.
    Again you can put that to as in a Third world country and Third grade politicians have to rub their noses in to please X,Y,AND Z.
    Good luck for the Talented people like Thargini Sivalingham and others like her who have been overlooked by the selectors including the President of SL.
    This is Third world Politics , Third world games practice brings out the Failures of National games of SL.

    • 0

      Analyst says ~ “Only problem in Srilanka the talent of individuals does not count but the untalented nincompoops get in the way and promoting the major national sports which is a total disaster or disgrace to these games.”

      Cricketer Ramith Rambukwella is but average but his father Keheliya Rambukwella thought otherwise and had visions of a UN job for Ramith. Remember the ‘sleep walking’ episode and ‘Boys will be boys’ explanation. Keheliya was a minister at that time and is currently an MP.

  • 5

    All right thinking citizens of this country are behind the champion netball team and the captain irrespective of her ethnicity.
    It was quite incredible to hear the Sri Lankan fans chanting “ Murali , Murali” at close of play the day he was called for chucking at the MCG . All Sri Lankans were united behind their fellow Sri Lankan.
    Of course there’s the fringe element in any society.

    The writer is obviously not very knowledgeable about grand slam tennis and the tactics the top ranked players regularly use to unsettle opponents.

  • 1

    The writer has shown only one side of the Serena episode. Serena has done this most of the time she was about to be beaten. Even a female referee would not have tolerated her smashing the racket and ranting.Ramos have fined enough men in matches. The episode did not affect the final result as Serena was soundly beaten in the first set 2/6.The fact remains seeing defeat Serena got upset and broke down leaving sportsmanship aside sacrificing all what she has achieved in the past displaying that she cannot accept defeat. The game he heavily commercialized Serena would have been thinking of prize money and advertizing contracts she will loose . Osaka after victory has bagged lucrative advertising including brand embassodor Nissan. Sports persons should know when to retire. The best is when you are on mount Everest in sports.

  • 2

    Chamindra this is not the first time that Serena misbehaved in court.Serena lost in US Open semis in 2009 with a point penalty on match point when she threatened to shove the ball down a line judges throat. You defending a very weak case.

  • 1

    By reading some comments we can see the low 3rd class mentality of Tamils. Tarjini is the tallest player among all teams. When others pass the ball to her she can easily put it in the basket. Muralidaran’s contribution to SL cricket is commendable. He earned the love of every Sri lanken. But we won the T20 world cup after his retirement. Every team has downfalls. Look at the Australian team.

  • 1

    Dr. Chamindra
    Charity begins at home. When will the Sri Lankan women’s cricket team have a Tamil, Muslim, or Burgher player ?

  • 0

    Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned. I am reminded of the case in UK in 1977 where Joyce Mc Kinney a young woman abducted a Mormon priest tied him to a bed and raped him. She denied the charges and jumped bail in 1979 and was arrested in USA and given a suspended while in UK she was tried in absentia and jailed for one year.

  • 0

    Chamindra Weerawardhana
    The harassment suffered by our own, one and only, female Olympic medallist in Athletics, Deshabandu Susanthika Jayasinghe deserves a separate study. She was probably above our best male cricketers, perhaps equal but not below. Had Susanthika been male the sky is the limit. But where is for example Sanath Jayasuriya now? And….Arjuna Ranatunga portrayed as the Lankan Imran Khan!

    Please write a full article Chamindra.
    PS: Dr Upatissa Pethiyagoda please note: The ‘pottu’ worn by Chamindra!!

  • 0

    Article is good, but its NOT a gender issue and has NOTHING to do with gender.

    First of all, Serena got what she deserved, she was fined for what she did, further investigations have proven this, and she just pulled the gender card and played the victim to get out of it, which of course, did not work. Let me ask you people this, if misogyny is what cost her that game, then who won? A man? Or another woman? And if its another women, then how can it be misogyny? Doesn’t make ANY sense whatsoever. If she did nothing wrong, then who broke her racket? Who got coached, considering her coach admitted to it? Who verbally abused the man calling him a thief and a liar for doing his job? Yet he is the misogynist? Oh come on!

    As for Tharjini, her efforts are commendable, and her patriotism is appreciated. But why is this a gender issue. I agree with all the things mentioned, from her struggles to her sacrifice, her troubles with the authorities, which is very unfair to her, but again, why is this a gender issue? Don’t people here know that almost every sport except cricket in Sri Lanka get similar treatment? How many sports-MEN have complained of barely getting any support and facing similar situations?

    What happens usually with this type of misguided criticism, where it is made to seem that gender is the issue, and men are all here to try and bring women down, the real issues get ignored.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.