“Our approach is to show friendliness towards our opponents and we do not harbour any grudge towards anyone. Our school has excelled in sports and we will continue to do so in the future too and we will do it in a fair way and we will not resort to unfair practices which will bring disrepute to our alma mater. This year we could not do it and in case we win the schools rugby championship next season, we are prepared to hand over the championship trophy to Isipathana College as a gesture of our good will,” said the General Secretary of the Vidyartha College Rugby Development Group and Senior Lecturer of the Peradeniya University Baratha Dodankotuwa.
He made these observations at a meeting convened by the Rugby Group to explain their position on a complaint made by Isipathana College that Vidyartha College had fielded three ineligible players in their tournament game which ended in a draw. This media conference was held at Vidyartha College.
Bharatha Dodankotuwa said that it had taken over two months for Isipathana College to make this complaint which could not be treated as a protest as it is time barred and that the tournament rules stipulate that the protest must be made within three days after completion of the match and protest deposit of the sum stipulated by the Schools Rugby Football Association must be deposited.
“It is not known whether Isipathana College had abided by this rule as otherwise it is not valid and not binding. So far no one has contacted us on this matter and all what we know is what has been published in the media and the matter has received wide publicity. The League season is over and the champions have been decided and we do not know what objective Isipathana College is trying to achieve.
He rebuked the theory that they had fielded three ineligible players in the Vidyartha College rugby team. “We challenge them to prove their allegation. We have all the documents to prove that our team for the entire season comprised registered players and they are in school. We can prove this beyond doubt.”
He said last week, “We played St. Peter’s College and beat them for the first time in our rugby history. The Peterites never trotted out excuses and they were full of praise the way we played. That’s sportsmanship and graceful in defeat. Likewise we should be humble in our triumph.”
“Over the years Vidyartha College has served the national team with players like Chanaka Chandimal, Sumedha Malawana, T.B. Wijesinghe, Sunil Munasinghe, H.G. Ariyaratne, Nimal Malagamuwa, Sunil Serasinghe, and many others. At the recently concluded Carlton Super Sevens two members of our present team Jason Dissanayake and Dhanushka Talwatte performed well against international rugby players and won the admiration of all.”
Bharatha Dodankotuwa said, “Defeat is nothing new to us and we are used to it. We are the first Buddhist School to play rugby and third school in the Central Province. We have excelled not only in rugby but also in chess, table tennis, boxing, cadetting and many other sports. So we are not going tarnish our image by resorting to illegal ways.”
“We are grateful to Trinity College for helping us in a big way to cut our teeth at rugby. The efforts of gentlemen like Bertie Dias, K. Muttiah, S. Wanigasekera and the then Principal Orloff cannot be easily forgotten,” he said.
By U J Jezeem