Kandy’s iron man Niyaz Majeed – a legend in weightlifting
(FASTNEWS|COLOMBO) – Former iron man Niyaz Majeed says, weightlifting should be given top billing because it is a sport which will help to improve all sports. He is one of the pioneer sportsmen who earned a name through Kandy Lake Club and also he gave his best in the promotion of sport at this club.
Majeed was a power lifter. The Kandy and Sri Lanka weightlifter and strongman competed in weightlifting in the 1960s and ’70s. He set records in weightlifting during his career. He was multiple times Kandy YMCA’s weightlifting champion as well as an outstanding bodybuilder and rugby player. Being the ‘strongman’ of the 1960s and 1970s for his overall excellence in weightlifting, Majeed was not only the first man in history to do well in weightlifting. Today, he is enjoying legendary status, after winning gold, silver and bronze medals during his career.
Majeed first gained fame as a ruggerite and later as a weightlifter, using that as a launching pad to become a shining star in iron sport. He was the strongest man in Sri Lanka for two years and set up over 11 records in weightlifting. He is a double international, having played rugby and also represented the country in weightlifting.
He started his schooling at St. Anthony’s College, Katugasota, and took part in rugby, basketball, tennis and also did a little boxing, but his main sport was rugby and after school, weightlifting.
He played as a wing forward and was one of the finest tacklers. When he first played rugby for his school he was not at that top level. It was after joining Kandy Lake Club that he became a top player and was the first to lead the club, where the owner of the club late E.W. Balasuriya gave the fullest backing and made him a top official at his club, which he is still handling.
In rugby, he was also a regular member of the Up-Country side in the Capper Cup game against Low Country. He also played for the Sri Lanka President’s XV against Bosuns at Nittawela. At Lake Club rugby, some of Majeed’s team mates were T. B. Wijesinghe, George Jayasena, Farook Dole, Maurice de Silva, Carl Fernando, Sarath Kulatilake, Didacus de Almeida, Mahesh Sabaratnam, Alex Lazarus, Nihal Jayatilake, Maurice Windus, George Thambiraja, Jadi Dissanayake, Iswan Omar, and Shafie Jainudeen to name a few.
In 1963 they played in the ‘B’ Division and in 1966 they became the champions. The club’s first ‘A’ division season was in 1967, where they had to face the 1966 ‘A’ division champions Havelock SC in the opener. They held them to a 3-all draw at Havelock Park. They did an excellent job in the very first year and were placed third in the points table behind Havelock SC and CR & FC, and they dominated Up-Country rugby.
All in all, it was weightlifting that he enjoyed and stamped his class in the middle weight. He was the best in the country in 1964 and 1965 shattering records. He has broke national records and his best has been the total lift of 670 lbs as weights were measured by the pounds under the British system at that time. At the National weightlifting championship, though competing in the middle weight he performed the rare feat of lifting higher than those competing in the higher weights. He was representing the Kandy YMCA and was one of the countries brightest at that time. He won the national title for the first time in 1963 in the Novices championships and from then onwards there was no stopping for this iron man. He won the Middle weight title in 1964 and successfully retained in 1965. He was holding a number of Sri Lanka records in his weight and was adjudged the best lifter at several meets. He was a stylish and powerful lifter. (DN)