Charles Wijewardena was one of the finest place kickers | Daily News


Charles Wijewardena was one of the finest place kickers

Charles Wijewardena
Charles Wijewardena

Charles Wijewardena was one of the best rugby goal kickers we have ever seen and he was a gifted ruggerite . He learnt his rugby in Kandy at Vidyatha College played in 1965 and, straight from school he joined the Sri Lanka Air Force and led them in 1972 He later played for Police, CR and FC , Kandy Sports Club and the country and was the best place-kicker during his days and was called King Charles. He had the proud distinction of captaining two service teams Air Force (1972) and Police. (1979)

When he was the SSP, Jaffna CharlesWijewardena was kidnapped and killed while he was travelling to Inuvil to investigate a shooting incident on the 4th of August 2005. Some have to die for others to live. The death of Charles Wijewardena under tragic circumstances, was a brutal act. He was tortured to death in the month of August in 2005. Soft-spoken Charles, an officer and gentleman, maintained his dignity on and off the field.

In my sports journalistic career spanning over 35 years, I have seen much of the good and the ugly side of the game. He was first helped by AirVice Marshal Harry Gunatilake . Charles Wijewardena turned out to be one of Harry’s best products. Later he joined the Police Force as a sub-inspector in 1973 He initially played as a centre and later when Nizam Hajireen, called it a day, he manned the last line as an attacking full back. He played hard, tackled hard,but never played dirty or caused pain to others. He was one of the first ruggerites to score over 100 points in a season from1975-1980.

He never lost his way and unlike some of the present-day players he was never greedy for money nor did he indulge in any other unwarranted acts.He maintained the dignity of the Police Force on and off the field. He played a decisive role, assisting the needy with loving kindness and compassion. ‘King Charles’ was always gracious in victory and defeat.

Among his many achievements was his ability to kick at goal to win matches.

“Life is uncertain. but death is certain.” May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

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