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DateLine Sunday, 18 May 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Hasalaka agog as Bandaranayake M.V. takes to rugby football

Play rugby football ... This seems to be what General Anuruddha Ratwatte (right) is telling the teacher-in-charge Miss H. M. Dunethra Kumari of Bandaranayake M. V. Hasalaka as he presents a rugby ball on the occasion of introducing the game to the school. Also present at the occasion was Maurice Perera - Chairman Rugby Development of CPRFU, Iswan Omar - President CPRFU and Leslie de Zoysa.
Pictures by S. M. Jiffrey Abdeen - Kandy Sports Cor.

RUGBY: Kandy District Sports Development Foundation under the leadership of former Minister of Power and Energy and Deputy Minister of Defence General Anuruddha Ratwatte, took a giant step forward in the promotion of elite sports among the rural children and those living off the beaten track, when they conducted the first ever rugby coaching camp for school children in the distant Hasalaka (near Mahiyangana) at the Bandaranayake Maha Vidyalaya grounds in Hasalaka recently.

Kandy District Sports Development Foundation of course had the support and assistance of the Central Province Rugby Football Union and the team which made this historic trip included General Anuruddha Ratwatte (Chairman), Iswan Omar (President CPRFU), former All-Ceylon ruggerite Maurice Perera (Chairman - Rugby Development CPRFU), former All-Ceylon and Kandy SC ruggerite Gamini Udugama (Rugby Development Chief Officer CPRFU), Chanuka Ratwatte and the Technical Officers from the CPRFU.

General Anuruddha Ratwatte speaking to the media said that the objective behind this maiden rugby coaching camp was with the ‘eye for the future’ as the officials will be introducing a contact game to the rural area and it may one day serve as a nursery in the future. He said that they will also give the rural children an opportunity to play rugby which was once considered as a game of the elite schools.

In every sense of the word it will be ‘Kreedawa Gamata” he concluded. Chairman Rugby Development of CPRFU Maurice Perera who counts over fifty years experience in the game of rugby both as a player, coach an administrator, said that the initial step taken was to draw up a plan to introduce the game and thereafter an organised development plan will be implemented.

This is indeed commendable that Hasalaka had not seen rugby before and the children had never seen the oval-shaped ball, which after bouncing moves in an unpredictable manner unlike the round shaped football which they are used to.

Tremendous progress

At the opening ceremony, General Anuruddha Ratwatte in his address to the large gathering said that when he was the Minister of Power and Energy, he visited this area to provide electricity to the rural areas. That day when the was driving to Hasalaka he was happy to see a TV antenna in every house which was an indication that this village had gone to the next step of development.

On a evaluation done at that time, it was evident and records have shown that those villages which were provided with electricity have progressed tremendously and there had been a marked improvement in the educational results, and in fact it had exceeded those of the urban areas.

General Anuruddha Ratwatte added that in the field of sports the outstation areas have made tremendous strikes, and for example the champion rugby club in Sri Lanka is Kandy Sports Club for many years. In this team there are two players who are from Anuradhapura and Sabaragamuwa playing at National Level. Therefore, the strategy to introduce rugby to Bandaranaike M.V. is that all activities undertaken will ultimately benefit the national team standards.

“Our objective is to have mass participation starting from youngsters, identifying outstanding prospects, give those elite training programs and matches and ultimately select the best for the National pool. Strengthen on what we have been able to build up, thereafter indications of our success will be seen from the tournaments.” General Ratwatte stressed.

Meeting the General ... The little ones of Bandaranayake Maha Vidyalaya who are going to learn the game of rugby football are introduced to General Ratwatte by the teacher-in-charge H. M. Sunethra Kumari and Maurice Perera.

The Principal of Bandaranaike M.V. thanked General Anuruddha Ratwatte and the Sports Development Foundation for all the enthusiasm extended to the school in many ways and the CPRFU for conducting the rugby programme and the assistance received from Sri Lanka Police in Kandy and Hasalaka, the Department of Education, Provincial Councillors and others who had come forward in conducting this programme successfully.

He also thanked the Mistress-In-Charge Miss H. M. Sunethra Kumari for her dedication and enthusiasm in promoting this game with the assistance of the Sports Development Foundation and the CPRFU.

A large crowd was present to witness the first taste of rugby in the Veddha land. The little ones were taught the basics like ball handling, passing the ball, the elementary rules and spots kicking. This training programme where over a hundred children participated, was a tremendous success.

In the afternoon they were given an exposure to competitive rugby when udder 14 school rugby teams from Sri Rahula College, Katugastota; Mahaweli M.V. Greenwood College, Akurana played exhibition matches. Didi Ratwatte grandson of Anuruddha Ratwatte who plays for Trinity College junior team also played in the exhibition matches.

The CPRFU under the leadership of former Sri Lanka and Trinity College flanker Iswan Omar distributed rugger balls to the school and also promised further assistance.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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