Rugby stars to shine for wheelchair-bound Shan | Sunday Observer

Rugby stars to shine for wheelchair-bound Shan

Sri Lanka’s current crop of rugby players have been lined up to rise and shine at a fund-raiser match on April 11 for one of the country’s most illustrious players, Chandrishan Perera, who is currently confined to a wheelchair recovering from a rare physical ailment.

The match will be played under lights at Havelock Park and spectators can make their donations while the best of the island’s national and club players scrum down in tribute to a man who took rugby to more people than many players put together in the present era.

“Chandrishan has been a great player who inspired people to do well. He was a disciplinarian and most importantly an honest gentleman who has done so much for rugby,” said Nazim Mohamed a former team-mate of Chandrishan.

Chandrishan captained the Sri Lanka Sevens side in the 1980s and was a member of a crack team led by Hisham Abdeen that won the Bowl at the internationally famous Hong Kong Sevens in 1984, an achievement that is yet to be surpassed.

Chandrishan’s brilliance on the field was so booming that rival fans loved to hate as he turned out for CH and FC in the 1980s at a time nothing short of the best was acceptable to spectators who flocked in their thousands to witness matches, a far cry from the sparsely wandering fans of today who get very little or nothing for their money.

Chandrishan was one of the few players who could have obliged fans with his autograph and what separated him from the rest was that he never touched a ball at school.

He learnt the seriousness of rugby as a law student in England after his parents pulled him out of St. Peter’s College in Colombo at the age of nine and packed him off on a plane only to return as a fully fledged player in 1982 creating a kind of euphoria in the club scene.

Known for a forthright and sparkling sense of after-match humour and locker room banter, Chandrishan was in many ways a superman of sorts with bulging muscles and was one of the pioneers of a fitness project for the Sri Lankan cricket team during the 1990s.

A man of deep Faith, many of his fans do not doubt that Chandrishan will be able to step out of his wheelchair and re-enter the sport that was his greatest passion in life although doctors treating him are yet to make a complete ruling on his health condition.

No sooner word went out that the 60-year old ex-winger had suffered the unexpected physical setback it brought forth a flurry of get-well messages and prayers and his admirers say that nothing can be more fitting a tribute to Chandrishan than a benefit match.

“I hope that in the same way crowds flocked to see Chandrishan play would now go for his fund-raiser match.

“It’s not so much about how much can be raised but how honoured he will be to see the present generation play for him,” said Rodney Perera a former supporter of CH and FC rugby.