AC Dep was the primary Ceylonese athlete to go over an 11-foot bar in Pole Vaulting. Till then the All Ceylon report stood at 10ft.10 in. And nearly one yr later, he improved his report by changing into the primary Ceylonese to go over the 12-foot barrier. Subsequently, he raised the nationwide pole vault report to 12ft. 7½in, thus changing into a legend as a pole vaulter.

He carried out these three record-breaking efforts whereas being an undergrad within the College Faculty. Amazingly, his involvement with the pole vault occasion continued for nearly twenty years.

Wewage Arthur Cletus Dep is likely one of the most distinguished athletes within the island’s athletics historical past.

Similar to the twin meets in colleges’ athletics through the Nineteen Fifties and 60s, there have been inter-club athletic competitions in Colombo suburbs within the late Twenties and early Nineteen Thirties. It was certainly one of such meets that introduced Arthur Dep to the limelight.

An athletic contest between Scarlet Runners of Wattala Averiwatta space and Bolton Wanderers of Wattala Mabole space resulted in producing a pole vaulting prodigy. His pure expertise within the occasion amazed the onlookers. The information unfold not solely inside the 4 boundaries of the village but additionally within the faculty he was learning in. By then he was a younger scholar of St. Joseph’s Faculty, Maradana, Colombo whereby his father was an outdated boy and workers member. At the moment legendary athletic coach Marcus Perera was accountable for athletics at St. Joseph’s. He was instrumental in producing a very good variety of athletes of excessive calibre and Arthur Dep had the chance of getting the steering of this famend coach early in his athletic profession.

Dep all the time used a bamboo pole throughout his early years and as he recalled later, “in fact, there have been no pits or take-off containers, and we needed to land on the naked floor.”

In 1933, for the primary time, Arthur C. Dep participated within the Public Faculties Athletic meet. Historical past reveals that it was the fourth version of the Public Faculties Championship meet for the Tarbat Problem Cup. At the moment the Public Faculties report for pole vault occasion was held by J.W. Zehnder (St. Thomas’), and W.W. Tambimuttu held the All-Ceylon report. A round issued by W.H.D. Perera, Hony. Secretary by Order of the Ceylon Novice Athletic Affiliation, referring to the Public Faculties Meet (1933) mentions that an entry charge of cents 50 per occasion and Rs.2/- per crew for relay occasions was levied. The distinctive competitors quantity allotted to Dep was 54 whereas G. Roshkowski, first official athletic captain of St. Joesph’s had No. 60 on his competitors apparel. Dep was positioned second within the pole vault occasion.

The yr 1935 was a landmark yr in Arthur C. Dep’s athletic profession.

On the Faculty inter-house meet, because the “Blue & White” journal (1935) detailed, “the perfect efficiency of the meet, nevertheless, got here from the star athletes of Marque Home – S.A. Edwards, A.C. Dep and M. Spittel”. Edwards gained the Excessive Leap occasion, Malcolm Spittel gained the Pole Vault whereas Dep carried off the Lengthy Leap title. Amazingly, Dep was the runner-up in his favorite occasion.

Then got here the Public Faculties’ Athletic Meet (1935). A eager tussle was anticipated within the pole vault occasion between the prevailing report holder R. Peiris and the Josephian duo Malcolm Spittel and Arthur C. Dep. Ultimately, Dep made historical past with a record-breaking leap of 10 toes. 7 7/10 inches. His schoolmate and inter-house champ Malcolm Spittel too carried out brilliantly to safe record-breaking second place.

It was A.C. Dep’s maiden record-breaking leap. Many extra information have been to comply with.

Whereas A. C. Dep was having a agency grip on his chosen occasion and sport – pole vaulting and athletics, Malcolm Spittel deserted pole vaulting and focused on cricket. Apparently, a number of years later noticed A.C. Dep representing the nation in athletics whereas Malcolm Spittel grew to become a member of the All-Ceylon cricket crew!

A.C. Dep’s Public Faculties report didn’t final lengthy in contrast to his nationwide report. However the Pole Vaulting report created by his youthful brother Lucien Dep (later Rev. Fr. Lucien Dep) on the Public Faculties Athletic Championship Meet in 1948 remained unbroken for almost 5 many years! Recalling his record-breaking leap, Fr. Lucien as soon as mentioned: “In these days there have been no fibre glass poles out there, and my brother Arthur, who was an Assistant Superintendent of Police at Matale ready an odd bamboo for my use. It was with this, that I broke the Public Faculties report in 1948.”

Leaving faculty Dep joined the College Faculty. Colombo, then affiliated to the College of London. He adopted the Bachelor of Arts diploma course. Actually, he was at his good greatest in pole vaulting from 1936 to1939 when he represented the College Faculty in athletics.

In the course of the Ceylon A.A.A. Championship meet in 1936, Arthur C. Dep grew to become the primary Ceylonese to go over an 11-foot bar in pole vaulting. With this historic leap, he broke the prevailing report held by L.A. Leembruggen of 10ft. 10in. Creating a brand new All-Ceylon report, Dep joined the illustrious band of record-breaking pole vaulters within the nation’s sporting historical past, comparable to W.W. Tambimuttu (Excise Division), Ronald Peiris (St. Peter’s Faculty, Colombo) and L.A. Leembruggen amongst others. The Pole Vault occasion results of the 1936 Ceylon A.A.A. Meet learn: 1. A.C. Dep, 2. W.W. Thambimuttu, 3. L.A. Leembruggen and L.D. Smith.

Right here it’s apt to cite a number of strains from an article written by famend sports activities journalist M.M. Thawfeeq: “Within the quadrangular Meet of the identical yr (1936) Dep cleared 11 toes 6 inches. Commenting on this Sir Sidney Abrahams, Ceylon’s Chief Justice and a former Olympic athlete mentioned: ‘I might award pleasure of place to Dep’s record-breaking pole leap. The mechanics of this specific occasion are so troublesome that it took lengthy years in England earlier than a local jumper cleared 11 toes and Dep’s effort of 6 inches extra, I believe, I’m secure in saying, have gained him a Blue at both Oxford or Cambridge any years since 1924’.” Many years later, Ceylon was renamed Sri Lanka and within the second decade of the brand new Millenium, A.C. Dep’s eldest son Priyasath grew to become the Chief Justice of the island.

Within the following yr, the pole vaulters Dep and Leembruggen each sailed over 10ft. 6 ¾in. on the A.A.A. meet, however the latter was declared the winner contemplating the “fewer failures within the earlier jumps” out of the 2.

A number of days later in the identical yr 1937, A.C. Dep made one other spectacular stride when he cleared 12-feet to ascertain one other All Ceylon report and have become the primary Ceylonese to go over this peak. In 1939, nonetheless a scholar on the College Faculty, he raised the Ceylon report to 12ft. 7½in. within the pole vault occasion. By the way, this report remarkably remained intact for 23 lengthy years.

In the course of the interval from his debut yr 1936 to 1952, there have been solely a few athletes, Caxton Njuki (1939) and C.H. Jansz (1948 & 1952), who have been in a position to oust Dep from the pole vault title on the A.A.A. Championship meet.

The “Ceylon Every day Information” in 1979 carried an attention-grabbing article below the caption “Ugandan Marvel” and written by “L.G.S. (Nugegoda)”, which depicts the sporting potential of Njuki and the sportsmanship of A.C. Dep. Amongst different issues it learn: “—–However inspired by his coach the late J.C.Thurairatnam, he (Njuki) entered for the A.A.A. meet. Though he had all the time gained the pole vault on the Southern meets for a number of years he had not tried something above 9’ 6” as a result of lack of a very good pole. A extra dependable pole was obtained in time for the A.A.A. meet and it was transported to Colombo by rail. It was solely when he tried his first leap and the pole broke in two that he realised that it had suffered a crack in transit. It was at this stage that A.C. Dep with true sportsmanship supplied his personal pole to Njuki who not solely cleared 11’3” a peak he had by no means dreamed of but additionally gained the occasion, being the primary to beat Dep in Sri Lanka.”

A number of phrases about Caxton Njuki: This versatile sportsman from Uganda represented Richmond Faculty, Galle in cricket, athletics and soccer amongst different video games, within the late Nineteen Thirties and early Forties. He captained the Richmond cricket crew in 1940 and 1941 and had an enormous hand in celebrating victories within the well-known Richmond – Mahinda conventional cricket encounter in each years.

In 1938, A.C. Dep represented the Nationwide crew on the British Empire Video games held in Sydney. The opposite members of the Ceylon crew have been: W.W. Tambimuttu (Captain) – Lengthy Leap, H.A. Perera – Excessive Leap and Duncan White – a quarter mile. Though Dep was unplaced within the pole vault occasion, it was reported that “whereas on his solution to Ceylon from Sydney, he cleared the perfect peak by a Ceylonese, leaping 12 toes 4 inches in Perth.”

The primary-ever India-Ceylon Athletic Meet was held in Colombo on the twenty fifth & twenty sixth days of October 1940. The Ceylon crew led by champion hurdler J.C.W. Obeyesekera had three opponents for the pole vaulting occasion. They have been A.C. Dep (No.27), C. Njuki (No. 38) and former report holder Ronald R. Peiris (No.40). By the point the Indo-Ceylon meet was held, the All-Ceylon report holder was A.C. Dep for his 12ft. 71/2 in. leap. The Pole Vault occasion was the second merchandise on the competitors itinerary on day two of the meet. The occasion judges have been W.T. Brindley, H.C. Buck and S.A. Pakeman. Ultimately, Dep cleared 11ft. 5 3/4in. to be the winner of the occasion. The second and third locations have been occupied by two Indian jumpers A.Ok. Mukherjee and Amar Singh respectively. It’s mentioned that Caxton Njuki, who ousted Dep within the A.A.A. meet was unplaced within the Indo-Lanka competitors as “he muffed all three jumps on the preliminary peak itself.”

This worldwide twin meet held on the Police floor turned out to be a novel expertise for each the contributors and the spectators. In accordance with a information report “After the Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott, who was met on arrival by Mr. Langran, President of the Ceylon A.A.A., and Mr. W.H.D. Perera, Honorary Secretary, had declared the competition open, the Union Jack and the flags of India and Ceylon unfurled, whereas the Police band performed ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, and 300 small balloons of varied colors have been launched from the additional finish of the bottom. The Indian crew, a stalwart physique of athletes in flannels, mild blue blazers and blue turbans stood in two rows going through the Ceylon crew, who have been within the athletic package.” To the amusement of the spectators, there was a fanfare of trumpets earlier than the graduation of the primary occasion!

A few years later, in 1942 Dep joined the Ceylon Police, as an Assistant Superintendent. For him, the busy official work schedule made no hindrance to his sporting schedule. At instances he was stationed in distant locations comparable to Ratnapura, Talaimannar, Batticaloa, Matale and Uva, but he was in a position to proceed together with his apply schedule with minimal services and little spare time. After becoming a member of the Police division, he gained the nationwide pole vault title for 5 successive years (1942-46) and once more in 1948 and 1951.

Bangalore was the venue for the second Indo-Ceylon athletic contest. The yr was 1946. The honour of main the Ceylon crew was bestowed on Arthur C. Dep. It was one other vibrant chapter in Ceylon’s athletic historical past. Earlier than the departure, the Ceylon crew have been entertained to a farewell get together on the Galle Face Lodge. These current included Minister of Agriculture and Lands Mr. D.S. Senanayake, Mayor of Colombo Mr. R.A. de Mel, Col. J.L. Kotalawala, Dr Ivor Jennings – Vice-Chancellor College of Ceylon, Mr. R. Marrs – former Principal of the College of Ceylon, Col. R.R.M. Bacon – Inspector Normal of Police and Dr V.R. Schokman. The farewell get together was hosted by Mr. W.H.D.Perera, Hony. Secretary of the A.A.A., who was additionally the Supervisor of the tour get together.

The crew reached Danushkodi from Colombo Fort by prepare and boat and arrived at Egmore in Madras by rail. From Madras to Bangalore one other whole-night prepare journey. Ultimately, solely three athletes out of the 25-member Ceylon crew have been in a position to earn a “First” place of their respective occasions other than profitable the 2 relay occasions. As anticipated Captain of the crew, A.C. Dep gained the Pole Vault occasion whereas H.M.P. Perera gained the 400 metres and Duncan White gained the 400 metres hurdles occasion.

Arthur C. Dep’s 12ft. 7 1/2in. pole vault report established in 1939 was eclipsed in July 1962 – after a lapse of 23 years, by Vijitha Wijesekera of the Ceylon Military. In the course of the Asian Video games athletic trials on the Nationwide Sports activities Pageant held on the Police Park, Wijesekera went on to ascertain a brand new Ceylon report at 12ft. 9in.. It was reported within the media that first to congratulate the brand new report holder Wijesekera was the earlier record-holder A.C.Dep. By the way, Dep was one of many judges of the pole vault occasion on the contest.

A number of days later in July 1962, well-known journalist Manik De Silva writing for the “Ceylon Observer” questioned: “Why did this report stand so lengthy? – The vaulting void from Dep to Wijesekera.”

To cite a paragraph or two from Manik De Silva’s article: “The shadows had drawn over the bottom; Brooke D’Silva had simply damaged the report within the Javelin throw; Sir Andrew Caldecott, Governor-Normal was ready to distribute the awards; Then A.C. Dep soared over the horizontal bar that stood tantalisingly over him at 12 toes 7 1/2 inches, balanced on two wedges of wooden, to fall on the slightest contact. For Dep, it was the end result of years of coaching, an enchancment of a report he had established three years beforehand; a report destined to face for twenty-three years, until the lithe and lean Vijitha Wijesekera broke it on the Asian Video games trials simply the opposite day. Why did this report stand for thus lengthy a interval? Maybe, as a result of it was an achievement out of the odd. The Indian report at the moment was 12 foot 1. Actually, it was the perfect in South East Asia on the time and athletes of Asian class produced by Ceylon are few and much between.”

A.C. Dep was related to Ceylon Athletics for greater than 5 many years. He first participated as an athlete, thereafter as an official of the Ceylon Novice Athletics Affiliation by officiating as a decide and referee on the athletic meets performed by the Ceylon A.A.A. and later functioned as an administrator by being a Vice President of the Ceylon A.A.A. for greater than a decade. His final affiliation with Ceylon Athletics was when he accompanied the Sri Lanka crew to Chandigarh, India as Chef de Mission in 1976.

A.C. Dep retired from the federal government service in 1972 on the age of 55. He was then a Deputy Inspector Normal of Police. When he was stationed in Uva province he took a eager curiosity in scholarly analysis which resulted in a prolonged article on the “assortment of Bambara Honey in Uva” which was later revealed within the Journal of the Ceylon Department of the Royal Asiatic Society. This was adopted by his masterpiece of analysis, the “Historical past of the Ceylon Police”, revealed in 1969. On retirement, he authored a number of extra books on historic topics, comparable to “Ceylon Police and the Sinhala – Muslim Riots of 1915” and “The Egyptian Exiles in Ceylon”.

To rejoice its seventy fifth anniversary, the Novice Athletic Affiliation revealed a really informative memento in 1997. The publication was devoted to the late J.C.W. Obeyesekere, Captain of the Ceylon crew that took half within the first India – Ceylon athletic contest. Among the many contents was a report on “Sri Lanka All-time Greats for the previous 75 years” (1922-1997). A.C. Dep ranked first within the “Pole Vault Greats” listing with 109 factors. The others listed are 2. Ruwan P. Perera (102 factors), 3. Vijitha Wijesekera (53), 4. D.M.G. Dissanayake (50), 5. W.W. Thambimuttu (39), 6. M.A. Akbar (35), 7. M.A. Hakeem (31), 8. L.D. Smith (31). Then within the “General Rankings” of the all-time athletic greats (Males) of the nation, A.C. Dep (Pole Vault 1936-52) is allotted the No. 6 slot. Above him have been 1. Duncan White (400 m. Hurdles 1939-50), 2. Nagalingam Ethirweerasingham (Excessive Leap 1951-62), 3. W. Wimaladasa (400m. 1965-78), 4. C. Senanayake (Discus Throw 1936-52) and 5. Ok.A. Karunaratne (10000 m.).

Actually, this is likely one of the uncommon situations whereby A.C. Dep’s extraordinary athletic prowess is duly recognised. Anyhow, by then 9 years had elapsed after the demise of the legendary ‘Grasp Pole Vaulter’.

(Neil Wijeratne is an creator of a number of books and this text was run within the memento revealed lately to mark 100 years of athletics within the island)

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