Thurstan College rugby grounds becomes a reality
President of the Tharunyata Hetak Organisation Namal Rajapaksa
addressing the gathering at the Thurstan College Rugby
Upali Hewage (retd DIG) livewire behind Thurstan sports
Thurstan College will take long leap with the introduction of the
Rugby Development Project which commenced on 4th December, 2009. The
launching program was held under the distinguished patronage of the
Sports and Public Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge and President of the
Tharunnayata Hetak Organisation, Namal Rajapaksa at Stanley Wijesundera
Mawatha, Colombo 7.
Rugby at Thurstan College suffered mainly due to the lack of ground
facilities. Though they were minus of this most important factor
Thurstanites have performed well in the past. Thurstan which started
this sport way back in 1957 has touched great heights producing many
Sarath Wickramasinghe had the opportunity of leading the First XV
Rugby Team of Thurstan College in 1957. The first captain of the college
rugger team too was an invitee for the launching ceremony on this day.
Namal Rajapaksa, the President of Tharunnayata Hetak Organisation who
represented his father President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most
distinguished old boy of Thurstan College said that rugger is played at
Thurstan on a very high standard since its introduction to the school.
He further added that his father too was highly interested in rugger
and played for his alma mater in the years 1960 and 61. He also was a
member of the champion athletic team of the college in 1960/61.
He had a better liking for athletics, gave up rugby to concentrate on
athletics, said Namal.
An artistís impression of what the newly got Thurstan College
rugby grounds and cricket field will look like when it is
Namal a keen rugby fan from his school day wore the S. Thomas' jersey
in the Thomian team. After leaving school, he too highly involved in the
game. In fact he was the main person who organised the recently
concluded Carlton Rugby Sevens Tournament which was highly a successful
one. He said that this showed that the game has followers, if not it
would not have been a success.
With the development of the rugby ground for Thurstan College, the
long felt need of a ground for the sport is fulfilled. Once this is
completed, ruggerites of Thurstan College will have no difficulty in
going places for their day-to-day practices. As such the enthusiastic
ruggerites of Thurstan should reap the harvests from this great
opportunity, said Namal.
He added if they take the full benefits from this project the college
is capable of producing more players for the national team.
Jeff Ratnam, the ruggerite from Thurstan went on to captain the
national team and also brought the first international victory for Sri
Lanka (Ceylon) way back in 1959.
The Thurstan College Rugby Development Project is a brainchild of Rtd.
DIG Upali Hewage. He is a keen follower of the game, done yeoman service
for Thurstan rugby for nearly thirty long years. A member of the present
Rugby Interim Committee paid a glowing tribute to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa allocating the loan for the purpose.
He also thanked Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge for the support
extended in launching the program which will of vital importance for the
sport. He further noted that though many schools have taken the sport
seriously, the grounds needed were not made available. This became a big
setback for rugby playing schools. With the Thurstan rugby ground
getting its development done, it is sure to help the schools immensely,