Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 20 December 2009





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Thurstan College rugby grounds becomes a reality

President of the Tharunyata Hetak Organisation Namal Rajapaksa addressing the gathering at the Thurstan College Rugby Development Project. Upali Hewage (retd DIG) livewire behind Thurstan sports promotion.

Thurstan College will take long leap with the introduction of the Rugby Development Project which commenced on 4th December, 2009. The launching program was held under the distinguished patronage of the Sports and Public Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge and President of the Tharunnayata Hetak Organisation, Namal Rajapaksa at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, Colombo 7.

Rugby at Thurstan College suffered mainly due to the lack of ground facilities. Though they were minus of this most important factor Thurstanites have performed well in the past. Thurstan which started this sport way back in 1957 has touched great heights producing many national players.

Sarath Wickramasinghe had the opportunity of leading the First XV Rugby Team of Thurstan College in 1957. The first captain of the college rugger team too was an invitee for the launching ceremony on this day.

Namal Rajapaksa, the President of Tharunnayata Hetak Organisation who represented his father President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most distinguished old boy of Thurstan College said that rugger is played at Thurstan on a very high standard since its introduction to the school.

He further added that his father too was highly interested in rugger and played for his alma mater in the years 1960 and 61. He also was a member of the champion athletic team of the college in 1960/61.

He had a better liking for athletics, gave up rugby to concentrate on athletics, said Namal.

An artistís impression of what the newly got Thurstan College rugby grounds and cricket field will look like when it is completed.

Namal a keen rugby fan from his school day wore the S. Thomas' jersey in the Thomian team. After leaving school, he too highly involved in the game. In fact he was the main person who organised the recently concluded Carlton Rugby Sevens Tournament which was highly a successful one. He said that this showed that the game has followers, if not it would not have been a success.

With the development of the rugby ground for Thurstan College, the long felt need of a ground for the sport is fulfilled. Once this is completed, ruggerites of Thurstan College will have no difficulty in going places for their day-to-day practices. As such the enthusiastic ruggerites of Thurstan should reap the harvests from this great opportunity, said Namal.

He added if they take the full benefits from this project the college is capable of producing more players for the national team.

Jeff Ratnam, the ruggerite from Thurstan went on to captain the national team and also brought the first international victory for Sri Lanka (Ceylon) way back in 1959.

The Thurstan College Rugby Development Project is a brainchild of Rtd. DIG Upali Hewage. He is a keen follower of the game, done yeoman service for Thurstan rugby for nearly thirty long years. A member of the present Rugby Interim Committee paid a glowing tribute to President Mahinda Rajapaksa allocating the loan for the purpose.

He also thanked Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge for the support extended in launching the program which will of vital importance for the sport. He further noted that though many schools have taken the sport seriously, the grounds needed were not made available. This became a big setback for rugby playing schools. With the Thurstan rugby ground getting its development done, it is sure to help the schools immensely, said Hewage.


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