Veteran sportsman Dr. M.G.M.S. Zurfick was elected as the184th President of the YMCA Forum, Colombo at its annual general meeting held on March 9. Witty, cheerful and large-hearted at age 76 Dr. Zurfick is the epitome of life. His halcyon days do bind strongly as an athlete at the Colombo YMCA where he cut his teeth in wrestling and judo. He crowned himself as national champion in wrestling, judo and motor racing. He emerged as champ at the All India Motor Racing Championship for four years in the late 1960s.
Zurfick nostalgically recalls that ‘keeping the lion flag flying gave him great pride. His benign demeanor has won him many great friends across the globe and cherishes standing shoulder to shoulder with the legendary boxing great Muhammad Ali. His name has been synonymous with Sri Lankan sports for over half a century.
Zurfick nostalgically recalls that ‘keeping the lion flag flying gave him great pride. His benign demeanor has won him many great friends across the globe and cherishes standing shoulder to shoulder with the legendary boxing great Muhammad Ali
His favourite machine was the Yamaha, and it was astride a Yamaha that Zurfick blazed a golden trail that endeared him to the Japanese in a big way. For, it was Zurfick who won the trust and the hearts of the world famous Yamaha manufacturers by flying to championship honours time and again on a Yamaha product. It influenced the Yamaha people to ship a special Yamaha make to Zurfick after he approached them after reading a magazine about the Yamaha Company. But M.G.M.S. Zurfick was more than a champion. He transcended his sports career to a point of winning the world by his yearning to see the world and win over people by his very simple and friendly trait. This knack was to take Zurfick from country to country and face to face with world greats; not only in the sporting arena, but heads of state as well. He has also met up with the famous South African leader Nelson Mandela.
As Zurfick now recalls, his sports career was to propel him from the medal glitter to the glitter of gems and jewellery as a leading Sri Lankan businessman. He had the rare distinction of taking two of the treasures of Sri Lanka namely the Star of Lanka Blue Star Sapphire over 400 carats and the Cats Eye to Japan which opened the gateway for Japanese gem ‘dealers to Sri Lanka. These same two treasures were also exhibited at the Royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in London.
What is amazing about the man is that he is still young at heart competing in the veterans athletic events including the Nuwara-Eliya road races. Now over half a century from his heyday, Zurfick has not lost the medal ego. He brought home two runners-up medals from the javelin and the discus last year. In the put shot he had a very bad fall that affected his lower back that he had fractured in the good old days while doing motor racing track.
Founded in 1882 with membership status, the National Council of the YMCAs of Sri Lanka is the apex body of 38 local YMCAs spread across the country. It became a full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs in 1962. The vision of the YMCA is to commit its membership to fulfill God’s mission to establish just and human society. The vision and mission are put into practice with a set of specific, measurable activities (goals) designed by several sub committees, the Ex-Co.
A research report prepared on this subject by the Chairman was published in local languages. In addition a handbook to prepare the prospective migrant workers was published. Attempts are made to create awareness on environmental Conservation. Four YMCAs have established migrant centres and provide required information and Financial Support.