The sport of rugby in Kandy has a long and proud history. A person who has contributed to this rich history at the Nittawela club is none other than Malik Samarawickrema. What’s so important about the relationship between Kandy SC and Samarawickrema at this juncture is that 2016 marks the 25th year after the latter set foot in the club with the motive of serving rugby in Kandy. He has played the role of promoter at Kandy SC during good and challenging times. He is also a capable administrator. This writer proposes that the authorities at Kandy SC name the Nittawela ground as “Malik Samarawickrema Rugby Stadium”.
Samarawickrema is always willing to help anyone and lend an ear during troubled times. He has also been the mentor of so many rugby players.
Samarawickrema’s contribution to rugby must be weighed in gold. Other sports in Kandy like football, hockey and club cricket have suffered a lot without philanthropists like Samarawickrema.
He has had a vision for Kandy SC rugby. This veteran administrator has often underscored an old saying which is, “it is difficult to reach the top, but it is more difficult to stay on top”.
Kandy Sports Club is the only club out of Colombo that has remained at the top for a decade.
Going down memory lane one can remember the times when Samarawickrema was SLRFU President. He has also accompanied the national rugby team as its manager. He also played an administrative role at CR&FC when it came to rugby activities.
Samarawickrema started his rugby at Royal College as a scrum half and played alongside the famous Jagath Fernando, H.C.P. Malwatte, A.J. Yusuf, B. Livera, C.R. 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 played as scrum half.
When he joined Kandy Sports Club, which has a long history in the game, it had not won a single championship. They had only entered the cup finals in 1954. It was Samarawickrema who brought Kandy Sports Club to its present standard through his knowledge and experience.
We must also remember how Samarawickrema master-minded the Singer/SriLankan Airlines International Sevens. He helped the organizers to conduct the tournament for 10 long years. His contribution to rugby is invaluable.