|Rugby: Kingswood’s love and
M Naushad Amit
Kingswood College, Kandy has a proud record in rugby
football in Sri Lanka with the unique honour of
being the first-ever educational institute to
embrace the sport way back in 1891. The school at
Randles Hill has produced top class rugby players
and coaches to the country while winning the
prestigious schools league championship many a time.
Though they last won the coveted trophy two seasons
ago Kingswood has always managed to make their
presence felt at all the main competitions.
According to the rugby coach of Kingswood, Nilufer
Ibrahim, this year their initial expectation has
been totally different from other seasons.
“Many had different ideas as to how we would perform
before the start of the league but seven weeks later
the boys have managed to prove their critics wrong,”
Ibrahim who is on his third year as Kingswood’s
coach told The Nation.
With the departure of eight key players from last
year’s team many predicted Kingswood would have to
fight really hard to maintain their position in the
President’s Trophy Singer Schools Division I ‘A’
segment. But the coach who knew the ins and outs of
his team and their strategies had other thoughts.
“Before the matches began many came forward to
encourage me. Their call was to save Kingswood from
being relegated to the lower segment. But there is
something else only a few knew. It was the
commitment and spirit of our players which was
wrongly assessed. I knew Kingswood could be among
the top 4 in the league and today we have done
better than that,” he added with delight.
Kingswood enjoyed a much better start in the league
this year by recording two straight wins against St.
Anthony’s by 23-10 and Isipathana by 22-15. But they
narrowly lost the third outing against hometown
rivals Trinity, 20-21.
“Though I personally felt we could achieve a
place among the top 4 in the group, the players were
highly motivated after the first two wins. In
particular after the win against Isipathana they
were on the move aiming for the league title. Even
the ardent supporters of Kingswood rugby had that
intention but losing to Trinity was a major
drawback. That slashed our hopes,” Ibrahim went on
Apart from winning or losing, Kingswood faced an
additional worry to their good run in the league
with the number of injuries their players had to
face. According to the coach the recovery process
had been speedy compared to the previous years.
“The school recruited Anoja Mallawarachchi as the
trainer for rugby and he has done a great job.
Compared to the previous two seasons we have had
fewer injuries this year and recovery has been
really commendable. The fitness level of players is
very good they are in good shape and things have
been working well for us.”
Kingwood went on to win their third game in the
league by defeating minnows Prince of Wales’ by a
massive 99-11 and followed it up with a 43-20 win
against Dharmaraja. But they succumbed against St.
Peter’s by 29-45 though having a slight chance of
turning the game in their favour. Last week they
defeated Royal by 15-10 in a rain marred match.
“The match against Prince of Wales’ was a very good
opportunity to rest some of the key players and try
out new faces. This actually helped us to strengthen
our bench for the remaining games. But I was
disappointed the way we approached the game against
St. Peter’s. It could have been a close call. We had
chances but end of the day someone has to lose and
luck was not on our side,” Ibrahim further added.
Though things have been working out better than
expected, Kingswood faces many obstacles in
maintaining their senior pool. Despite having the
full backing from the Kingswood Union OBA branch
based in Colombo they lack in a few areas which
needs to be addressed very fast.
“One of the key issues we face at the moment is
the lack of a proper ground to practise. We have a
ground at school but the surface is too hard to
practise rugby on. The next key issue is the
unavailability of an under-18 rugby pool which
hinders the grooming of future players,” the former
Kingswood three-quarter said.
With a fair number of their players coming from poor
and middle class families, Ibrahim was very
confident and convinced that the boys would be
physically and mentally tough, fully committed and
he would get the maximum output from the players.
Majority of the parents of the players have a basic
knowledge of the sport and this has helped Kingswood
in drawing their support. In addition Kingswood has
maintained their rich rugby culture at a high level
and their players are adored and treated as heroes
and stars by fellow students.
“Parents having knowledge of the basics and rules
of rugby was also very good from the players’ point
of view. It helps the nourishment part as parents
have an idea of what food their kids should take
during the season. And the players, they are
committed too. The principal’s support and his close
coordination with the parents, old boys and
well-wishers to promote the sport proved really
helpful to us,” added Ibrahim who also praised his
ardent set of boys.
Currently Kingswood has nothing to lose as they
have achieved more than what they expected or could
have asked for. But Ibrahim also pointed out some
aspects arising from losing some of the matches
which cost them the league title.
“It’s a good eye-opener for the future of
Kingswood rugby. We all know that the school has
many commitments and they can’t afford to spend
endlessly on rugby. The Colombo Union branch helps
us in a massive way. But there are some issues that
should be sorted out soon. When we keep on winning
those issues will not surface. Now that we are
facing some of the ups and downs, it will make us
all concentrate on some of the problems that need to
be solved. This in a way will be good for the future
of Kingswood rugby,” Ibrahim said.
The Kingswood rugby squad: Chamila Abeygunawardana,
CS Piyasena, Heshan Silva, Gajanath Perera, Buddhika
Jayasinghe, Isuru Jayaratne, Chethiya
Wadugodapitiya, Jananath Dharmawardene, Mohamed
Afzal, Lavanga Perera, Danushka Wijesinghe, Mohamed
Fazli, Oshan Perera, Prabath Jayalath, Rajitha
Sansoni (Captain), I Chandrasekara, Kasun Herath,
Udara Kasthuriarachchi, Uvin Ariyaratne, Neville
Jayasinghe, Thilina Weerasinghe, Mohamed Nazry,
Kasun Malwattage, Adil Bohoran, Kasun Tennakoon,
Saminda Karunaratne, Thilina Denawaka
|Sri Lanka Schools Milo Colours
All arrangements have been made
to hold the 17th Sri Lanka Schools Milo Colours
Awards Ceremony for the year 2009 on June 16 at the
BMICH in Colombo where 532 school sportspersons will
be in line to win honours.
Among the winners in different sports, athletics has
topped by bagging 80 awards followed by hockey who
have been nominated for 45 awards. Western Province
has the majority of achievers with a massive count
of 234 out of the total award winners while 127
sportspersons from Central Province will stand a
chance to win colours. The total number of awards is
divided among 250 schools, 6 international schools
and 13 private schools.
The sponsors of the Colours Awards Ceremony, Milo
which comes under Nestle Lanka PLC, expressed their
pleasure in supporting this event in the national
interest. “When we initiated the programme of
awarding colours for achievers in sports at school
level, way back in 1994, it was just a humble idea
to recognise hard work of the less privileged. But
today it has grown to be one of the major events and
numbers have increased gradually indicating the
rapid development of schools sports in the country.
We are much encouraged by this and our commitment
for this cause will never change,” said Mohamed
Hamza, the Senior Vice President of Nestle Lanka at
a media conference.
The Minister of Education, Bandula Gunawardena,
will grace the occasion as the chief guest while
Minister of Sports, CB Ratnayake, Managing Director
of Nestle Lanka, David Soudan and Senior Vice
President Nestle Lanka, Mohamed Hamza are among the
Famous sports personalities who represented Sri
Lanka in different sports will join the occasion in
distributing the awards. The winners of Milo Colours
have been selected according to nominations of the
respective sports governing bodies after considering
their achievements at major local and international
sports events. The awarding of colours for achievers
of the country’s schools sports is one of the most
important events for the young sportspersons in Sri
Lanka. Sri Lanka Schools Sports Council (SLSSC) has
been conducting this event for the past 16
consecutive years. [MNA]
|2010 Commonwealth Games in New
Lanka lap of
Queen’s Baton Relay from June 17 - 19
Sri Lanka will be the 68th destination for the
Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 which is on its way to New
Delhi where the 2010 Commonwealth Games is scheduled
to take place in October this year. A special
welcome ceremony has been planned at the
Bandaranaike International Airport on June 17 to
officially mark the arrival of the baton in Sri
Lanka. This was revealed at a press briefing held at
the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka last
Wednesday (June 9).
“Planning is already well under way to celebrate
the arrival of the Queen’s Baton 2010 in Sri Lanka.
We look forward to see many locals join in the
festivities and turn out to cheer on the relay’s
baton bearers. Past and present sportsmen and
schoolchildren will join in to carry the baton when
it is being taken around Sri Lanka on June 18 and
19,” Hemasiri Fernando, the President of NOC said.
The Queen’s Baton will travel through Colombo,
Negombo, Wennappuwa, Kurunegala to Kandy on June 18
with a grand ceremony opposite the Temple of the
Tooth. On June 19 the baton will travel through
Kegalle to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage before
being carried back to Colombo by a special train. A
grand closing ceremony will follow on the day at the
Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium where the Queen’s Baton
will be officially handed over to the officials of
the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010.
As a part of its epic journey, the Queen’s Baton
passes through the length and breadth of all 71
nations of the Commonwealth covering 190,000
kilometres in 340 days. While spreading the message
of goodwill on its way to Delhi, the baton will
spend 240 days travelling throughout the globe
before reaching its destination to spend 100 days on
a national tour of India. The Queen’s Baton relay
will conclude at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during
the opening ceremony of the 19th Commonwealth Games
in Delhi on October 3.
During the ceremony the final bearers will hand
over the baton back to Her Majesty or Her
Representative and the message contained in it will
be removed and read to officially open the
Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s Baton Relay 2010
commenced from Buckingham Palace on October 29, 2009
with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II entrusting the
baton to the first few of the many baton bearers.
The inaugural Queen’s Baton was created for a relay
to commemorate the Cardiff 1958 Commonwealth Games
in Wales. Since then the Queen’s Baton Relay has
become an entrenched Games tradition. [MNA]
|New Cricket Selection
de Silva (44), who is the best cricketer so far
produced by Sri Lanka, has been appointed as the
Chairman Cricket Selection Committee. He is a master
tactician and fine reader of the game. He excelled
in all three departments of the game - batting,
bowling and fielding.
He is an astute thinker because in a Test match
which India played here in 1997, when Aravinda was
batting the Indian captain Sachin Tendulkar, in
somewhat cloudy conditions, correctly used his
spinners to bowl. When Aravinda was 98 the Indian
captain brought on Jagath Srinath, the fast bowler,
thinking that de Silva will bat on as he had only 2
runs to complete his ton. The master brain Aravinda
accepted the bad light offered.
When play was resumed Aravinda comfortably knocked
off the 2 runs and went on to score 110 not out.
Ultimately it was his knock that paved the way for
the victory and he won the man of the match award
and Sri Lanka won the series 3-2.
He trained and directed the U-19 team that beat
Australia, in Australia, 3-2 in an ODI series – the
only team from the sub-continent that beat Australia
He has so many good series abroad 167 at Brisbane
1989-90 and in New Zealand.
I have full confidence that Aravinda de Silva, along
with Amal Silva, Ranjith Fernando and Shabir
Asgerally, all experienced and level-headed persons,
will improve the deplorable standards at present and
prepare all available youngsters for the most
important job of winning the World Cup in 2011,
which will be played in the sub-continent.
Politics and other considerations like the school
tie should not come in. Let him and the other
selectors do their job without interference and they
will bring victory in the next World Cup and other
V. K. B. Ramanayake
At a time when rugby enthusiasts are skeptical
about the composition of the Isipathana rugby team,
we are now urged to look at St. Peter’s too with the
It is very easy for the rugby authorities at St
Peter’s to clear the air. Can the authorities tell
us how successfully the Peterites have fared at
U/13, U/15 and U/17 level over the last 7 or 8
years? If they have won or, at least, been the
runners-up in at least half of these tournaments
(including the W.P. organised one), then we can
safely surmise that St Peter’s is truly a school
with an excellent rugby record.
Or, have the saintly Petes used mercenaries to
massacre the innocents, as the game against the
Cambrians was truly a massacre of the innocents. If
so, it is a crying shame!
Does this kind of encounter (SPC v POW) augur well
for the development of the game in the less affluent
schools? It is time for the controlling body to look
at this aspect seriously and make a decision and pit
equals against each other. If schools with means are
going to flaunt their money by playing mercenaries,
then woe to the less affluent!
I sincerely hope the St Peter’s rugby authorities
will clarify the position. Let them not ignore that
the newly appointed President of the S.L.R.F.U.
himself is a rugby player who played with
distinction with fourteen other Peterites. There
were no mercenaries then and the game was played in
good spirit and with honour. Victory at any cost is
a very recent phenomenon!