18 February 2019: Sri Lankan golf suffered a significant loss, with the demise of Nandasena Perera, a legend and father figure for modern golf on the island nation. Perera lost his battle against a kidney ailment at the Western Hospital, Cotta Road on Friday last week. Mithun Perera, his son and torch bearer of a fine legacy is helping the family deal with the grief and pain of their loss.
Perera was 64 and leaves behind his wife, two daughters and Mithun. He was cremated at the General Cemetery in Kanatte as per his last wishes.
Nandasena endured a childhood in penury, dropping out of school to make ends meet for the family. His love and affinity for sport drew him into working around sport, as a ball boy and caddie.
He was known to have done reasonably well at football and athletics, but eventually chose golf as his occupation. He made waves in Sri Lanka when he shot a course record 63 at the Royal Colombo Golf Club in 1983. He won the Sri Lanka Open a record seven times, shared with Anura Rohana.
Nandasena was a familiar name to Indian golfing circles. He won the Sri Lanka National Amateur Golf Championship in 1988, 1989 and 1990, the All India Amateur Golf Championship in 1989 and 1990, and the Amateur Championships of Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. He also took the silver medal in the Beijing Asian Games in 1990.
Nandasena fractured his elbow when he fell off a tree at the age of 15. Unfortunately, the doctors set it incorrectly, denying the boy a full extension of the arm. That never came in the way of his prowess in golf, compensated by a strong will and a steady mind.
Nandasena earned the sobriquet “Sandy Perera” through a display of sheer brilliance around the bunkers during the All India Amateur Championship.
It now falls upon Mithun Perera to carry the grand legacy of his father forward with his exploits on the PGTI and Asian Tours. He is a six time winner in India with the last of those Ws coming at the Chennai Open in 2018.
Golfing Indian offers our deepest condolences to Mithun and his family.