Janaka Buddhika de Silva was an excellent ruggerite | Daily News

Janaka Buddhika de Silva was an excellent ruggerite

Janaka Buddhika de Silva was synonymous at Isipathana College in the late 1990s. His versatility as an outstanding forward earned him a number of accolades during his rugby career. A great patron of the sport, Janaka represented club and country before eventually leaving the country to pursue his higher studies after aggravating an injury which sidelined him from competitive rugby.

He was born in 1980 and his parents were Lal and Shiromi De Silva who witnessed their two sons, Janaka and Nimesh representing the school in rugby, where Nimesh went on to lead his ‘Alma Mater’ in 2003. According to Janaka, Buddhika although his mother was apprehensive at the outset, she eventually became his biggest supporter in competing in the sport. He admits that he was highly influenced by his cousins to take up the sport and he credits much of his success to the late Hiran , Suren, Shihan and Nilantha Ratnayake.

He kicked off his sporting career in 1993 at the age of 13 years. A solid foundation was laid by Sanath Asanjaya and Hycinth Kumara who played coaching and the mentoring roles. Much of the success of Isipathana rugby during that era was attributed to discipline and a strong work ethic which encouraged the teams to excel.

Janaka Buddhika was a member of unbeaten champion school teams in the under-13,15,17 and the 19 age categories. Having started his rugby career as a second row forward, Janaka also became familiar with playing in the front row as a prop forward.

He represented his ‘Alma Mater’ with the under-15 team at the Malaysian school’s open tournament. In 1997, he was called up to represent Sri Lankan schools on a tour to Chinese Taipei and attributes much of his success to his teammates and individuals such as Kalum Gunaratne and Maxwell Dias. Janaka was a school colors-man for three years in a row and cemented himself into the squad. In 1998, led by Shamly Nawaz, the team secured a grand-slam finish at the Anchor Beer Championship in Singapore.

One year later in 1999, was his final year at College and in that year he was the Vice-captain of the team and went on to become the unbeaten Triple Rugby Champions while emerging as the Singer Sevens undisputed champions under the captaincy of scrum half Krishantha Chandran.

During his tenure they won the All Island 10 a side Cup Championship, remained as All Island unbeaten League Champions, unbeaten Knockout Cup Champions and unbeaten Singer Sevens Cup Champions which was a unique achievement.

His team comprised of Saleem Azar, Anuranga Walpola, Kamal Saseedaran, Razmi Haffil, Dilan Perera, Lasantha Mallikarachchi, Ranga Senadheera, Malik Ameer, J.Chandran, Madhusha Priyamanjula, Chandika Bandara, Krishantha Chandran, Roshan Peries, Veediya Bandara, Ranga Perera, Maurice Abeyratne, Hamesh Gunaratne, Charith Kodagoda, Amila Costa, Janith Alahapperuma and Pala Sanjaya few to be named. After an eventful school rugby career, Janaka opted to continue his club rugby career and joined CH and FC.

He represented the club in rugby sevens format in 1999 and lost in the Semi Finals to CR and FC. His unstinted performance caught the eyes of coach, Nimal Lewke and received the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka in 2000 for the Malaysian Sevens and Hong Kong sevens where eventually where he ended up with a serious injury. His team mates at the National Sevens Team were Indrajith Bandaranayake, Duminda De Silva, Damith Manjula, Sajith Saranga, Nilufer Ibrahim, Jude Pillai, Yuganthara Karunarathne, Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, Milinda Jayasinghe and Asanga Rodrigo few to be named.

After his injury in their bout against England, Janaka continued to play a few seasons for CH under-24 and prevailed as runner’s up at the All-Island Sevens Tournament. During his short stint with the Club and National career he acknowledged the support and guidance of rugby greats such as Jude Pillai, Duminda De Silva, Shashika Coorey and administrator Rizly Illyas. The coaches Tony Amit and Nimal Lewke who were instrumental in transforming them to a highly skilled and talented team.

In 2002, Janaka decided to hang up his boots and travelled overseas to pursue his higher education at the James Madison University where he graduated in Economics and Finance. He strengthened his academic credentials by completing an MBA in Supply Chain Management at the University of Moratuwa. He currently plies his trade at NC Fashions which is an apparel exporter to US Markets. Wife is Aruni Perera and daughter is Nethari and has a son Kaveesh.

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