C.D.L. Fernando, M. E Marikar, two outstanding sportsmen | Daily News

C.D.L. Fernando, M. E Marikar, two outstanding sportsmen

Rembering two top sportsmen and promoters - it is a Royalist and a Sylvestrian who are still fresh in the minds of the local community in Kandy three and two decades after their passing away. Dr. C.D.L. Fernando was the first Bradby captain, who was also a fine cricketer, footballer, athlete, boxer, cadet and later was a sports promoter passed away on 22nd September 1987 which marks his 33rd death anniversary and the other is the fist sylvestrian to play club cricket, was also a top footballer, hockey player, athlete, boxer and cadet M.E. Marikar a well known sportsmen, promoter and sportswriter died on 19th September 1996, 24 years ago.

Dr. C.D.L. Fernando was a versatile sportsman, sports benefactor, philanthropist and above all a gentleman par excellence who left this world in 1987. CDL, as he was known by everyone, started his schooling at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and later crossed over to Royal College where he excelled in cricket, rugger, and athletics and also was in the ring as a fine boxer.

This sportsman from S. Thomas’ College and Royal College was an all-round sportsman, his help for sports in Kandy can be valued in gold. Today people of his calibre are no more and people have forgotten the good work done by them. But there are few genuine sports lovers who remember the part played by these promoters.

It is 33 years since his death and during his time he was a versatile sportsman, sports benefactor, philanthropist and above all a gentleman. To think or write of CDL is difficult as one does not know where to start and where to end for he had such a multifaceted character as a sportsman.

CDL, as he was known, was one of the finest sportsmen to come out of Royal College during EL Bradby’s era. At Royal he excelled as a top class all-round sportsman. He played rugby from 1943 to 1945 and had the privilege of leading the first Bradby team. Though he schooled in Colombo, he made a name in Kandy in the medical and sporting field. As a sports administrator his fairness and integrity was never in question.

In the ‘first leg’ of the Bradby played in Colombo, he led the side to win by 3 points to nil and in the ‘second leg’ in Kandy, Royal ended on the losing side, where Trinity won 6-0. At the first school assembly after the match, the principal of Royal College EL Bradby had asked him what happened to the Kandy game after winning the Colombo game and CDL’s reply was “Trinity played better than us”.

At cricket, he was a fine all-rounder, an aggressive batsman, a medium pace bowler and a fine close-in fielder. He played for Royal in 1944 and ended in 1946. In his last game in 1946, against his former school S. Thomas’ College, CDL had a match bag of 9 wickets for 54 runs in 23.2 overs, out of which seven were maidens.

He pocketed five wickets in the first innings and four in the second innings which helped the Royalists to gain an 83-run win. In 1944, he played under George Rajapakse, in the following year under Vivan de Krester and in the last year under Mahesh Rodrigo. Some of his team mates at cricket were Chris de Saram, Nihal Wickremasuriya, M. Kasipillai, Hugh Aldons, Tissa Kapukotuwa, Willie de Saram, KC de Fonseka, Raja Cooke, RMS de Silva, T. Pararathalingam, PKD Gunawardena and Jommy Rajaratnam.

Later at the University as an undergraduate, doing medicine, he excelled in cricket and played for the University of Ceylon in the Inter-University tournament with distinction. He also toured India with the University team and that was his one and only overseas tour in life. In 1949, he led the Medical College in their annual game against Law College led by George Rajapakse which was the 25th encounter, the Law-Medical Silver Jubilee and the match was played on February 11 and 12, 1949 at the University ground.

CDL also played cricket for SSC and the Health Department in the government services tournament. As a young doctor, he played cricket for Kandy United Sports Club and also led the Up-Country XI against visiting teams and some of his cricket team-mates in Kandy were Bertie Gomes, Uvais Odayar, ME Marikar, Malcom Berenger and DD de Alwis. As an administrator, he gave his best for sports like volleyball, tennis, billiards and snooker, football, rugger, boxing, body building and weightlifting.

Rugby took pride of a place in CDLs career and he did much for the promotion of Kandy rugby, and it was under his presidency that Kandy SC entered the Clifford Cup final in 1978 after nine years. That year the Kandy Sports Club team was led by Irwin Howie and lost to Havelock SC led by Anton Benedict 4-10 in the final.

CDL was one time, president of the Kandy District Cricket Association and he did a wonderful job for number of years and some of the committee members during his time were Dr. M.S. Uduwella, Z.M. Jahuffer, D.H. de Silva, Raja Abeyanayake, Shaw Wilson, Deva Amunugama, Malcolm Perera, Aubrey Kuruppu and Hafiz Marikar. He was also manager of the Sri Lanka Cricket team against New Zealand in 1984, when Abu Fuard steped down, then president of Cricket late Gamini Dissanyake invited him to be the manager. He was also President of kandy Footnball, Hockey, Volleyball, Billards and Snooker.

Twenty four years ago on 18th September, Kandy lost one of its top journalists,M. E Marikar who was a versatile sportsman, sports promoter and above all a gentleman. Many are the instances during his illustrious career and public life where he displayed his integrity and honesty. He was a shining example of a clean life. The late M.E. Marikar was a fine cricketer, football player, athlete, boxer, cadet and also played hockey. At cricket he was a fine medium pace bowler and a hard hitting middle order batsman.

He was known during his days as ME, Mariks or Thata Mariks to his friends, he was a household name in sports. He worked for the ‘Times Group’ and later for the Wijeya Newspapers for thirty five long years from 1962 to 1997. He used his pen to tell the country what was happening in Kandy in his own inimitable style of writing. He was an outstanding gentleman and highly respected journalist, who maintained lofty standards. He knew about sports and news and it was he who wrote exclusively on the notorious “Maru Sira”.

He was an old boy of St. Sylvester’s College, was gifted writer who can write on any topic from sports to news. He took over journalism from late T.B. Marambe the renowned cricketer and coach of Trinity College who wanted a break from writing.

His efficiency in journalism was based on balanced views. Mariks with his Yul-Brynner-like look was a familiar figure in Kandy and in most parts of the country. He had a commanding personality, was tall and well-built. His majestic and dominant physical stature drew a smile or a good morning from the general public as he went about his work. He hailed from a well-known and respected family from Kandy.

During his school days, he was under the guidance of principal and famous educationist late D.J.N.Seneviratne. At school he was a top class sportsman, a fine boxer at the Stubbs Shield meets, a public school athlete and captained both the football and hockey teams. After leaving school he continued his sports. Played football and hockey for Young Stars Sports Club. He also played football for Green Field Sports Club, Kandy YMMA, Saunders S.C, Colombo. While in Kandy he played for Kandy District and Up-Country.

He started his career with the Marketing Department and played football and cricket. He also played for the Government Services team. He led the Government Service Football team in 1956 and later served the Army 2 SR and led their football and cricket teams before taking to journalism. He also played cricket for Moors SC in the premier league. He became the first Sylverstian to play Premier league cricket. When he was schooling there was no cricket at his school. He also played for Kandy Lake Club, Kandy United, Kandy District, Up-Country, Times of Ceylon, Government Services and Sri Lanka Press

He had a warm and generous heart and went out of his way to help a friend or journalist from any newspaper. His contribution for the citizens of Kandy in the field of sports and in general will be long remembered.

He lived a simple life and moved with everybody and had connections with many leading figures of almost all political parties and the business world. Kandy lost a sincere friend, a helpful colleague, and a man of rare qualities and principles.

CDL and ME are no more, but their memories in sporting and political fields will remain forever in the minds of all those who knew them.