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DateLine Sunday, 23 March 2008

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Knowlton picked despite medical recommendations

RUGBY: Despite two eminent medical specialists recommending that Kapila Knowlton is not fit enough to represent Sri Lanka at the Hong Kong International Rugby 7's to be staged on March 28, 29 and 30, the national selectors picked him in the 12-member side.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon of the Sports Medicine Unit of the Ministry of Sports and Public Rrecreation, Dr. Wasantha Perera, states that in his opinion Knowlton "is not fit to take part in sports at national level" viewing the MRI report.

The MRI Scan report on Knowlton's injured left knee joint done at Nawaloka Hospital states that a "partial turn medical and lateral collateral ligaments with a small effusion in the left knee joint and soft tissue oedema around the joint," is shown.

Knowlton was referred for the MRI scan by Dr. Seevali Jayawickrema of the Sports Medicine Institute of the Ministry of Sports, whose Director-General, Dr. Githanjana Mendis, states in a letter to the Chairman of the national selectors, Brigadier Jupana Jayawardena, that Knowlton has a "marked injury in his left knee and should subject him to a fitness test and then decide whether he could take part in the Hong Kong 7's".

When the two local rugby coaches, Alex Nishantha and Sudath Sampath were taken to see Dr. Wasantha Perera on March 19 at Nawaloka Hospital, Kapila Knowlton went "missing" from the hospital. Dr. Githanjana Mendis confirms this incident in his letter to Brigadier Jayawardena on March 20. He has not trained for the past one week and neither did he play in Friday's practice match with Police at Police Park.

It is rather surprising that only two selectors (Brigadier Jupana Jayawardena and Norman Silva) were present at this practice game which was also meant to test Knowlton's fitness. Knowlton did not play in this particular game. Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, too was present this occasion.

The Sunday Observer is surprised at the competition of the Sri Lanka side which includes only two forwards while the other 10 players are three-quarters. Who is going to win possession of the ball.

A knowledgeable former national player of repute stated that there should be expert forwards to hold the scrum, win lines-out and win the ball at break down points. Without possession one cannot play 7's rugby. Also, Knowlton, is 34 years and a younger player should have been sent instead. He further said that the victoriouis Sri Lanka side of 1984 inclucded six forwards under Hishan Abdeen.

The national selectors include Brigadier Jayawardena, Norman Silva, Savantha de Saram, Lalin Tennekoon and Graham Raux.

Brigadier Jayawardena says that Knowlton had undergone the "fitness test" successfully and was picked.

The 12-member side for the Hong Kong 7's are - Radhika Hettiarachchi, Imran Bisthamin, Saliya Kumara, Pradeep Liyanage (Captain), Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Fazil Marija (all from Kandy Sports Club), Ashen Karthelis, Ashan de Costa and Amjad Buksh (from CR & FC), Lakala Perera (CH & FC), Wasim Thajudeen and Kapila Knowlton (from Army).

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