Udeni Kiridena, a name synonymous in the boxing fraternity and a key figure in the insurance industry has done Sri Lanka proud following his selection by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), as a referee/judge at the Rio Olympic Games –2016.
A qualified Chartered Insurer by profession and an Associate Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of UK, Kiridena is a Senior Associate of the Australian & New Zealand Institute of Insurance & Finance and also an Associate Member of the Indian Insurance Institute. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Lanka Insurance Institute.
His achievementis a great honour for Sri Lanka as he was selected through a very stringent criteria, which highlights his competence and capability as one of the best boxing referees in the world.
Kiridenais an old boy of Trinity College, Kandy whobegan his boxing career at the tender age of eleven. Following in his father’s footsteps, he secured the pin weight title in his very first tournament in the Central province. The sport remained a continued passion for Kiridena and he won in his weight category at the T.B Jayah Cup, Stubbs Shield and at the Junior National Championships and was adjudged the ‘Best Boxer’ at the Stubbs Shield (Sri Lanka schools championships) in 1982.
Kiridena received the coveted “Boxing Lion” at Trinity in 1982 and went on to lead the Trinity boxing team in 1983. Under his leadership Trinity College bagged the Stubbs Shield after a lapse of three decades. He was coached by veterans,Bobby Jayaweera, S.B Kiridena, Sarath Jayasinghe and Leslie Handunge.
After he hung up his gloves,Kiridenawas involved in training the Air Lanka Boxing team.Thereafter, he served as Treasurer of the Boxing Referees and Judges Association for a period of 5 years and subsequently as Asst. Secretary, Vice President and finally as President of the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka during the period 2009/2010.
In 1993, he passed the National Boxing Referees & Judges Examination with distinction and in 2002 became a Continental Referee/Judge, topping the batch.Kiridena qualified as an International Judge in 2006 and was elevated as an International Referee/Judge in 2008. He became a 3 star International Boxing Referee in 2010, enabling him to officiate at top international tournaments around the world and in 2014 he successfully passed the AIBA Pro-Boxing/World Series Boxing examination held at the AIBA Academy in Kazakhstan.
It was Donald Munasinghe who was responsible formentoring him as a boxing referee and Herbert Embuldeniya who guided him on the finer points of officiating at international level.
In his illustrious career as a boxing referee and judge,Kiridena has officiated in many boxing tournaments around the world including APB/WSB Olympic trials, European Olympic Trials, World Championships, Junior World Championships, Youth Olympic Games, Women’s World Junior & Youth Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Championships to name a few.
In the year 2015, he became the first Sri Lankan to Referee/Judge at AIBA Pro-Boxing events and continues to be the only Sri Lankan as at date to officiate at this level.
“It is with a deep sense of pride that we cheer Udeni as he carries the Sri Lankan flag at the Rio Olympics,” stated Thusitha Nandasiri, President of the Sri Lanka Insurance Institute (SLII), which is the premier body for insurance education in Sri Lanka, affiliated to the Chartered Insurance Institute - London. “We are proud to have him at the helm of SLII guiding insurance professionals to constantly upgrade their skills and knowledge to match global standards.”
“Udeni’s versatility, determination and dynamism are reflected in the insurance industry, which continues to grow from strength to strength,” commented Dirk Pereira, President of the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka. “We are confident that Udeni will be a role model for current and future insurance professionals who will go on to take the insurance industry in Sri Lanka to even greater heights.”