Popular trio rendered yeoman service to Kandy’s rugby

by Hafiz Marikar
ugby is today the number one glamour sport in Kandy and when ever Kandy Sports Club is involved the fans flock the venues in thousnads to enjoy the thrills and spills of the game. Rugby is also known as the king of the Kandy’s Sports Calendar and none can forget the services rendered to the sport by people like Malik Samarawickrema, Y. C. Chang and Kishin Bhutani.

Malik Samarawickrema

Malik Samarawickrema a product of Royal College Colombo played as a scrum from 1966 to 1968 along side with Jagath Fernando, H. C. P. Malwatte, A. J. Yusuf, B. Livera, C. R. de Silva, D. J. Perera, R. Thurairatnam, Brian Baptis and G. Mohamed to name a few.

After school, he joined the CR and FC and played for them, as a scrum half in a class of his own. He also played for the Low Country and Sri Lanka and hung up his boots in 1977.

He has given off his best for the game, and helped schools and clubs in many ways. Today Kandy Sports Club is on top mainly due to his efforts. Plans are afoot to name the Nittawela ground as the Malik Samarawickrema Rugby Stadium.

The Singer-SriLankan Airlines Sevens, now which is five years old, was a brainchild of Malik and it is well known in the rugby world.

He was also the Team Manager, Treasurer, Vice President and President of the SLRFU.

Y. C. Chang

Y. C. Chang - A product of Trinity only, started his rugby at Havelocks SC. He first donned the Havelocks jersey and in the very first year played in the Clifford cup final where they beat Dickoya MCC in a thrilling game. Later he took up to planting and played for Kandy Sports Club for eight years, and also was the regular prop forward of the Sri Lanka XV from the day he played for Kandy SC from 1964. But he never got the chance of captaining the Sri Lankan team while playing for Kandy SC. He was in the 1969 Kandy S.C. cup final team along with Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Mohan Balasuriya, Gavin Stevens, Gamini Udugama, Rohan Abeyasundara, Jayantissa Ratwatte, Chang Faa Ching and George Jayasena. In that cup final Shafie Jainudeen and Federick Prins played as schoolboys while Trinitian Iswan Omar was a stand bye.

He later was the Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President of Kandy SC.

In 1972 he gave up planting and crossed over to the CH and FC. where he got the opportunity of leading the country. He also played for Low Country and Up-Country. From the CH and FC he became the Vice President of the SLRFU and later its President and did a yeoman service for the sport. He subsequently became the President of the Asian Rugby Football Union.

Kishin Bhutani

Kishin Bhutani, the one time king pin of the CH and FC, had his education at Paynter Memorial School N’Eliya and St. Thomas Guruthalawa. He represented the school in tennis, squash, athletics, basketball, rugby and football. After school he played for Dimbulla A & CC. and later joined CH and FC and gave their rugby the much needed backing.

He was the CH’s live wire and was in charge and managed the CH and FC rugby from 1982 - 85. In 1987 he became the Chairman of the club and held the post till 1990. At one time, he gave Kurunegala RFC a big push, when the present Sports Minister was its President and this club won the "B" division title and were promoted to the "A" division. When Imthi Marikar captained Kandy SC he was with the club and together with his Sgt. Maj. Hassan Singhewansa gave the club a big hand.

As a promoter he has also helped schools like Isipatana, S. Thomas’ and St. Peters by sponsorship.

All three of them together with Dushantha Samarasekara gave a very big hand for rugby.

It were Y. C. Chang and Malik Samarawickrema who approached the late President R. Premadasa and came out with a fine rugby tournament for clubs and schools that was one of the best organized rugby tournaments in the country. But after the demise of R. Premadasa the tournament too wound us.