Allan Smith was a versatile diver at 1952 Helsinki Games

Allan Smith


Norman Allan Smith participated in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland in the men’s diving events following a successful swimming career at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.

He developed a liking to diving competitions and in 1947 for the first time he participated in a National Diving Championship but was defeated by Des Cotton.

Since then, he never lost at any meet. From 1948 to 1966 for a period of 18 years he continuously won the Diving Championship and displayed excellence in performances.

In 1950, at the Empire Games held in Auckland, New Zealand he qualified for the finals. Thus, he became the first Sri Lankan sportsman to be selected for the final-round of an International Diving Competition.

At this meet, Smith was placed eighth. He participated in the Olympic Games held in Helsinki, Finland in 1952 but failed to claim victory.

In 1966, Smith was selected for the Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand.

In 10 diving events he obtained a total of 101.72 points while the qualifying timing was 97.73 points.

Smith’s score equalled that of the contestant placed sixth in the Asian Games of 1962. Although he could not win the events, he was able to obtain a certificate and was appointed a Referee/Judge in the Women’s Diving Competition.

Smith who went as a contestant and returned as a Referee/Judge did not give up the sport. Although he was unsuccessful at the 1966 Indo-Sri Lanka Swimming Meet held in New Delhi he had the honour of winning a Gold Medal in a single event.

In 1967, he won the Indo-Sri Lanka swimming events in Sri Lanka after having learnt bitter lessons from the past experiences.

After having led the Sri Lanka Team for the fourth Indo-Sri Lanka swimming contests in 1969, Smith decided to retire from active sports.

Smith who served in the Sri Lanka Army for quite some time was appointed a Surveyor and travelled widely in Sri Lanka. He came for diving contests in Colombo even from very distant places.

Smith who showed such excellence in this sport had no coach. In 1966, at the Selection Meet, Alan did a wonderful dive from the three-metre springboard merely by learning from the books.

Smith engaged himself in training for over a decade amidst many difficulties, displaying the determination of an outstanding athlete.

His routine training included waking up at 4.00 a.m. and running between Mount Lavinia and Bambalapitiya, a 50-metre speed run and two hours of training in swimming in the evening.

Although he missed this training programme when serving in the outstations, he was able to obtain the required results by coming to Colombo a few days before the events and training for the events.

Smith, a father of three children, retired from sports in 1969 and left the Island to settle down overseas. (C.D)

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