Kandy Sports Club owe their success to rugby promoter Malik | Daily News


 

Kandy Sports Club owe their success to rugby promoter Malik

 One of the major rugby promoters in recent times is former Royal College, CR & FC,Colombo Clubs and Sri Lanka rugby player Malik Devapriya Samarawickrama. His contribution for Kandy Sports Club should be weighed in gold. This would remind players of their responsibility for ensuring that rugby is always played in a truly sportsman like manner by the players of this club, due to his backing. Every one in Kandy is delighted that after Malik put his hand up for this club it has gone from strength to strength

This club was founded in 1874 as Kandy Athletic, Boating, Cricket, Football and Dancing Club and after 14 years the name was changed to Kandy SC, now the most successful rugby team, after playing the first league competition in 1950 it was in 1992 they won the first trophy. It all happened after Malik Samarawickrema’s arrival in Kandy to take the club to a new level like never before.

His vision was instrumental in bringing top class rugby to Kandy SC that became a reality. For all this Malik was the key figure behind everything as Kandy SC won the Clifford Cup for the first time in 1992 and the League for the first time in 1994. It was through his personable, persuasive and tenacious approach that made this club do what it had done and Malik deserves to be called the Mr. Rugby of Kandy SC.

After leaving Royal College where he learnt the rudiments of the game he excelled in the inter-club rugby as a famed scrum half. He went on to play for CR and FC, Colombo Clubs and Sri Lanka.

His playing days at Royal College was from 1966 to 1968, his team mates were Jagath Fernando, Haren Malwatte, Javid Yusuf, Maiya Gunasekera, Fred Pereira, Brian Lieversz, CR de Silva, Jeremy Perera, R. Thurairatnam, Bryan Baptist and Shahul. Mohamed. At CR he had teammates like Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Ronnie Schokman, Jagath Fernando, Hadji Omar Shiraz Fernando Reggie Bartholomeusz and Kamal Ratnapala.. During his playing days he was a nippy and daring scrum half who gathered the ball from the base and slung out intelligent and well directed passes to his fly half who always was well positioned to get the line moving that resulted in an avalanche of tries for school and club. He also served as treasurer vice president, president of Sri Lanka Rugby and also as the Sri Lanka team manager

Today in Kandy at club level, only rugby is the sport which is doing well, with some of the Kandy and Colombo school products.. Rugby players of Kandy have been acknowledged as some of the most skillful to play the game, lighting up SriLanka rugby for many years.

Kandy SC is a club with a long and proud history and that history may have counted for very little if not for Malik and his brains. It took 42 years for this Nittawela club to win a trophy and become almost an invincible force in the rugby field there by destroying the dominance of the Colombo based clubs. That was after Malik’s arrival and even the schools were encouraged and raised their standards in Kandy. Malik is also a strict disciplinarian who has seen the club win the League 21 times and the Clifford Cup knock outs also 21 times,including a consecutive period of ten years between 1995 and 2005 (the competition was not held in 1998) and six consecutive years between 2007 and 2012.

He initiated successful contracts with players, and gave employment and arranged sponsors. So successful was he, that players showed a keen interest in turning out for Kandy SC. Malik was the founder of the Singer/Sri Lankan Airlines International Sevens. He supported and helped the organizers to conduct this tournament for 10 years from 1999 to 2008 gaining IRB status in 2004.

This international Sevens tournament, which was introduced to celebrate 125 years of Kandy Sports Club in 1999, was one of the most successful international tournaments to be organized in Sri Lanka. Again in 2004 the club conducted the Rugby World Cup Qualifier for the Asian region.

On successfully conducting this event, the IRB offered the event the first “Asian Region Rugby Seven’s Satellite Series” in 2005 and even provided IRB funds to conduct this tournament. Unfortunately this tournament was hijacked by the Rugby Union and taken to Colombo and Malik will say that while it is easy to reach the top, it is more difficult to stay on top! Kandy SC has stayed at the top for more than two decades. The new look he gave the Nittawela ground is amazing. He brought it to international standard by adding tiers behind the two goal posts and also built a modern pavilion.

When the history of rugby is recorded at Nittawela, the name of Malik Samarawickrama will stand out as the greatest person,who gave of his best to this club to win matches and trophies.

 


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