The virus that plagues the SLRFU
Billows of hot air mixed with rancour and hate have been generated in
the recent weeks over the appointment of Dushanth Lewke as the captain
of our national team for the upcoming Asiad to be held in Taiwan in
In the process some senior players who pulled out from pool practices
were pulled into line by a Ministerial directive. The intervention put
paid to a senseless drama which may have otherwise suffered drastic
consequences in the long term.
There is no gain saying that rugby football is a sport that demands
the highest level of discipline on and off the field - period. No person
however important is indispensable. This is precisely why a selection
committee comprising high calibre men with a deep understanding of any
given sport is appointed. The selection committee is accountable to the
Minister who may ratify or reject its decisions. The selection of
Dushanth Lewke to lead the Sri Lanka team at the impending Asiad is a
case in point.
In this back drop I wish to respond to the Press Release of the
General Secretary Kandy Sports Club 15th October 2008 Iswan Omar. In my
view the content of the media release is bloated with opinions, innuendo
and mala fide. A few portions in the said press release seem grossly
inapt, irrelevant and even amusing.
The General Secretary KSC claims that “the underlying reasons for
players who pulled out of the Commonwealth Games 2002 in Melbourne was
because “they may have felt that participating in a tournament which
fielded very strong Commonwealth teams such as New Zealand, Australia,
Fiji, Ireland, Canada etc., were so strong that our teams had no chance
and hence it was nothing but a picnic or a holiday”. This notion does
not represent the views of the players but an opinion of Omar only.
Ironically, it contradicts the fact that one Harris Omar, presumably the
son of the Secretary KSC, participated in the so called picnic of 1998
Commonwealth Games held in Malaysia.
In the case of Nalaka Weerakoddy raised by the secretary it was
Common knowledge at that period of time that Nalaka was faulted for
alleged serious disciplinary lapses. This could be best clarified by the
SLRFU as I am clueless of its background.
By way of comment the issue regarding sportsmen who should be
discouraged from playing against strong opposition it seems that if
sports bodies such as Cricket, Tennis, Soccer, Athletics etc., were to
adopt such a defeatist attitude or labour under an illusion of
inferiority complex then our World Cup winning Cricket Team and similar
sports would have stood to loose out on the International image our
cricketers, athletes gained in the world cup, Olympics etc.,
Two glaring examples of minnows in cricket who have now gained Test
Status in cricket are Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Had they chickened off at
the sight of cricketing greats they would have continued to languish in
the limbo of the forgotten.
The ambition of any young sportsman is to compete at the highest
forum such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Cup, and Davis Cup
Lastly in the media release of the KSC general secretary attention
has been drawn to two distasteful and contemptible comments suggesting
that a player need no help from parents to secure a place in the
National team and second that Lewke had made a feeble attempt to subvert
justice. It is obvious that the comments were targetting Lewke.
I hold no brief for Lewke who is competent enough to defend himself
even against these cheap broadsides but having had the privilege to
knowing Nimal Lewke as a colleague and an Officer of high calibre,
integrity and professionalism the very suggestion of undermining his
sense of fair play and justice for which he is renowned both within and
outside the Police Force speaks volumes for the very mediocre quality of
sportsmanship of the General Secretary, KSC, by all accounts has enjoyed
a reputation for sportsmanship and maintained the best traditions of
sport. However it is sad that a lone voice has murked its waters. Yes,
it takes just one rotten apple to destroy a healthy basket of the fruit.
In summarizing this distasteful ordeal I find that the green animal
has reared its ugly head and the opposition goaded by an unseen hand to
the appointment of young Lewke as I see it is a combination of envy,
jealousy and malice rather than defending the principle of selection
As for the justification of Dushanth’s selection a player and captain
one should have witnessed the sparkling display of leadership and rugby
prowess demonstrated by the lad in the recently concluded President’s 15
Vs Asian Dragons [18th October] when the former recorded a resounding
win 37-15 over the Dragons.
Come, come Omar I understand your frustration and envy all because
young Lewke has eclipsed your boy. Omar Sir, it is good to remind
ourselves that insult is no argument nor are innuendo, insinuations or
unkind aspersions cast at men who are proven professionals and rugby
greats who have by sheer commitment earned international repute and can
well do without gratuitous comments from the scum.
For instance the General Secretary of Kandy Sports Club in the Press
release has claimed that Sri Lanka been playing against strong
international teams such as South Africa, Australia, Great Britain etc.,
is not only a waste of time but also a picnic for the boys. To comment
on the folly of this statement is but a waste of time.
If on the other hand the Administrators the various sports bodies
were to adopt such a path of least resistance and a defeatist and a
negative attitude then Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe would never have
been admitted to Test Status in cricket.
Interestingly, going by the assertion that being pitted against
strong teams is a mere picnic it may be significant to remind Mr. Iswan
Omar, the general secretary of KSC that in 1998 when players selected
for the 1998 Commonwealth Games which was staged in Malaysia pulled out
it was young Harish Omar said to be his son who proceeded to play in the
said Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. Was it a picnic may I ask. The end
ambition of every sportsman is to eventually represent hi country at the
highest level be it at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asiad, Test
Cricket etc., I do not wish to labour on the absurdity of his assertion.
A hidden hand with intent to sabotage Rugby Football is
overwhelmingly clear and it is indeed a matter for deep regret that
budding sportsmen are used as a vehicle of convenience to disrupt the
smooth operations of the sport.
Once again the author of the Press Release under review has gone for
the spleen of Lewke Senior. It is in poor taste and unbecoming of a
person holding a responsible position in an important organization - The
Kandy Sports Club. The less said the better as out of sources hell bent
on destroying young Lewke defied all norms of decency and
professionalism in resolving issues related to the administration of