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This News letter is dedicated to the effort of the Rajans Ruby Team at The Sri Lankan Schools Flag Rugby 7s Tournament held in Washington DC in May 2010.

The Sri Lankan Schools Flag Rugby 7s Tournament held in Washington DC every year is very popular among the Sri Lankan community in North America. The excitement and exuberant joy this generated was such that it lured even the Sri Lankans who lived far away in the West Coast and Canada to travel to DC just to take part in this tournament. This year, for the very first time Rajans were represented as DAANA was able to field a team.

Captain's View -Kamal Dorabawila

 
  Kamal in action .....
 

For many years, I played in the tournament with my friends in DC from St. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia as I could not find enough Rajans to field a side (at least 4 out of the 7 players have to be from the school the team represents). Dharmadasa Hettiaracchi (more popularly known as “Hetti”) was among the few Rajans who came to even see the tournament and would every year ask me when I was going to wear maroon and blue.

 

As DAANA grew in short time expanding all over the North America  I was able to identify and communicate with more Rajans and thought I will try to field a Rajans side this year. I mentioned the idea during the DC Chapter get-together in March and while the Chapter at-large supported the idea of fielding a side, very few actually considered playing. So, I had to depend on Rajans other states who were willing to come and few of my friends who were non Rajans. With this backdrop, though I submitted our application for the tournament I still had some anxious weeks until they confirmed their Air tickets. 

 

 In parallel with these developments, Kaushalya Siriwardane and I had designed a team jersey, but our attempts to have it made in Sri Lanka did not materialize. Fortunately, GAP a popular clothing brand in the US, carried polo shirts with precisely the College colors. I purchased those shirts and got “Rajans Rugby” printed on the back from a local clothing print shop

  

Finally, come tournament day, we had more players that we ever imagined. Sanka Tennakoon and Ranil Banneyake flew in from Houstan and Geeth Uyanwatta came from New York. Dinal Gunaratne who has arrived from Sri Lanka barely few months ago came from Ohio after a 10 hours bus ride. Surprise arrival of Asanka Samaraweera who had driven all the way from Houston along with another Rajan, Manthi Dahanayake, afforded us a pool of 14 or 15 players – technically enough to field two sides.

 

A couple of us had played rugby at College (at U-17 level or earlier rather than for the 1st XV), some had played tap rugger, some just started practicing a couple of weeks before the tourney and there were a few who had hardly held a rugby ball before tournament day. It didn’t matter. We came together to field a Rajans side and play the best we can.

 

 

   

Our side in maroon and blue was quite a sight. The first game was against the Combined International Schools side which was one of the few sides in the tourney that had been practicing together for 2-3 months. Though some of our players got injured in that game, we gave them a good fight and it helped us come together as a team. The next two games offered tougher opponents in Trinity A and Royal. Given that our opponents consisted of sides that were all ex-1st XV players, we played relatively well though we were beaten square in both games. Both of these teams went on to the semi-finals and Trinity A eventually went home with the trophy. I had been part of the Thomian team in previous years that had become runners-up and champions for a number of years. Yet, the feeling of fielding a side that carries the name of your own school is an experience that you cannot compare with. I’m sure we can leverage that experience to take the maroon and blue to greater heights in future years.

Players Perspective - Sanka Tennakoon

 
 Kids from three different chapters together

Within less than two years we were able to field a team for the Sri Lankan Schools Flag Rugby 7s Tournament held in Washington DC in May 2010. This is no small feat for an organization still at infancy with a membership of just above 150 spread throughout the entire North America. Until now we were merely a virtual movement and our interactions were limited to local chapters. Building up a team and taking part in this tournament allowed us to go beyond these limits and reinforce the brotherhood of Old Rajans among the participants. Meeting many old friends and being able to mingle with so many Old Rajans during the event was a unique experience and brought back many old memories from Lake View. In a way it was a mini trans-continent get-together of DAANA with members congregating form DC, MD, VA, TX, OH, and NY, a first for DAANA! 

Only time will tell us the consequences of the impact of our presence and the importance of the exposure but many Old Rajans felt that it could only be beneficial for DAANA’s future activities. Our presence was able to capture recognition and leave a lasting impression among the large Sri Lankan community associated with this annual event. Our story, especially the infamous score cards, has already reached many Old Rajans around the world and we were the talk of the town for last few weeks.

As we all know, a project is about to take off to build a ground dedicated to Rugby and Soccer at Lake View. DAANA has pledged its fullest support to this worthy cause and there are plans to launch several fund raisers in North America. We are very much confident that DAANA will be able to exploit the momentum gained from this event to realize at least some of these plans to support our beloved Alma Mater.

Rajans Rugby Team 2010 before a Game
(L to R) Geeth Uyanwatte, Sanka Tennakoon, Rohan Mudannayake, Kaushalya Siriwardena, Asanka Samaraweera, Dinal Gunaratne, Kamal Dorabawila, Adeesha Kotuwegoda, Udesha Wanigasundara, PK William, Ranil Banneyake, Sawan Wanigasundara, Nadeeka Rajintha (Not in Picture: Charith Senadeera, Subodha Perera)
 

Spectator's View -Thushara Diyabalanage

 
Samapriya Wanigasundara, a fomer Rajan Rugby player among spactators.

Last time when I watched a rugger match involving Dharmaraja was way back in mid 1980s. That’s was that infamous nail-biting encounter between the Rajans and Trinitians played at the Bogamabara stadium which eventually ended in fist fights and street fights. Never did I think that the next rugby match involving Rajans and Trinitian’s that I was going to witness, would be played in Washington DC.

 

Nevertheless, that morning I found myself in the same car with Sanka and Geeth, two team members of the Rajans team who were desperately trying to sneak into the grounds before the starting time. Of course, neither of them had played rugby at school and so were most of the others who wore the maroon and blue jerseys that day. However, what mattered was the spirited display that they demonstrated in the field, against three oppositions comprised of many individuals who had played the game at very competitive levels.

 

Indeed, during all three matches Rajan were out maneuvered, out-classed and clearly beaten by fitter and more agile oppositions even without being able to score at least once. Yet, it was a very honorable defeat considering the sheer courage, remarkable fighting spirit and commitment that they showed as a unit despite against all odds. This was even admired and acknowledged by their opponents. 

For the first time in the history we saw the Rajans flag fluttering high in the deep blue skies not too far away from the Nation’s capital. Perhaps that was something Colonel Olcott would not have imagined even in his wildest dreams.

 

Help Save a Life of a Young Rajan

Hasitha Sathruwan Peiris (Admission no-23262) is a 12 years old student of Dharmaraja College grade 8F and was detected with a Brain Cancer in 2001. He has undergone brain surgeries in May 2001, May 2004 and July 2010. He has been treated in India Apollo Specialty (cancer) Hospital and given special radiation and chemotherapy in Asiri surgical hospital in Colombo.


Mr.L.L.A.Peiris, father of Hasith, has sent Dharmaraja Alumni Association of North America a letter requesting financial assistance to treat his 13 year old son, hoping generous Rajans in USA, Canada and other North American countries would help saving the life of his son.


According to medical consultants, little Hasitha needs to be given chemotherapy and radiation treatment again in the near future in order to save his life. Unfortunately, his family is unable to bear such a huge expense. Therefore, Mr.L.L.A. Peiris has sent his bank account number and contact details for willing, generous readers of this newsletter to contribute towards this cause.

L.L.A. Peiris : No 17,  Hantana Housing Scheme, Hantana,  Kandy, Sri Lanka
Phone number: +94-77-758-5400 
Bank Account no:   0170-01610815-101, Seylan Bank, King’s Street, Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Dharmaraja Alumni Assoication of North America
OUR SPONSORS

 


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