Malik Samarawickrema tagged ‘Mr. Rugby’ who has extended his fullest support to Kandy Sports Club to maintain its dominance since 1992 is no doubt the live wire in Kandy’s success. Kandy rugby unlike in the past has reached unprecedented heights purely due to the foundation and the solid rugby structure laid by him to the Nittawela Club.
This lesser known club rose like the phoenix from the ashes to become an invincible force, destroying the dominance of other clubs. As a result the hill capital changed the destiny of local inter-club rugby, including the rugby playing schools in Kandy who have raised their standards to be a driving force.
At the time Malik was involved , Kandy SC had only a long history of being in the game, and not served notice of its emerging potential nor had they won a single championship, though they entered the cup finals in 1954. When the tournament was only five years old, they lost to CR & FC and in the following year, in 1955 lost again to CR & FC. The next final was in 1969 and in that year, too, they lost to CR & FC, again in 1978 Kandy lost to Havelock SC in the cup finals. This great rugby promoter Malik Samarawickrema can be rightly tagged as the godfather of Kandy Sports Club to arrive as the best-ever rugby promoter in this historic City of Kandy.
He introduced an international “sevens” tournament to celebrate 125 years of Kandy Sports Club in 1999 which continued for ten years. Rugby came naturally to him at Royal College as a promising scrum-half from 1966 to 1968 in the company of players of the caliber of Jagath Fernando, H.C.P. Malwatte, A.J. Yusuf, Brian Lieversz, C.R. (Bulla) de Silva, D.J. Perera, R. Thurairatnam, Brian Baptist and G. Mohamed to name a few.
After leaving school, he joined the CR & FC and as scrum-half and showcased his potential . He also played for the Low-Country in the “Capper Cup” game against Up-Country and was a member of the Sri Lanka President’s XV. He hung up his boots in 1977 and became a great promoter of the sport.
Motor racing in Kandy
After a lapse of several years a motor racing event will be held in Kandy at Hantana, organized by the newly formed Senkadagala Motor Sports Club, The race will be flagged off at 8 a.m. today (Sunday). The race will begin from the tea museum at Hantana, which is named as the Leopard Rock Speed Hill Climb and covers 1.2km. The competition will comprise novices events, classic car events, the formula 2000 modified as a special event along with a ladies event followed by the normal hill climb events.
According to the organizers this event is held in aid of developing the cancer ward of the General Hospital Kandy. It is in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Motor Cycle Club. At one time Up-Country Motor Sports Club and Kandy Motor Sports Club gave a big hand in promoting the sport, they had the road race round the lake and the hill climb at Wales Park.