Norman Silva the athlete turned ruggerite | Daily News

Norman Silva the athlete turned ruggerite

Norman Silva
Norman Silva

A man renowned for good human qualities and sportsmanship, who ultimately ended up as one of the finest rugby players Sri Lanka has ever produced, who had never handled the oval shaped ball in his school career was Norman Silva.

Born to a family in Nittambuwa, where his father Francis Silva, was a renowned businessman. While being the youngest member amongst his nine siblings including one sister, he hung up his Police uniform as a Deputy Inspector General after serving 38 years, from the time he joined as a Sub Inspector way back in 1982. Norman joined St. Anthony’s College, Wattala which was a prominent Christian school, where the game of Rugby was not very well established at that time. His elder brother Jerard Silva who was a leading athlete held the National record in discus throw which influenced Norman to step into sports, especially athletics. He had a liking to maintain his physique and opted to take part in Athletics. He enrolled himself in the college athletics team and the volleyball team, which was one of the popular sports in that era. In athletics, his main events were Put Shot and Discus Throw.

He went on to establish several records at school in both the events. While being engaged there he was also a regular member of the school relay team. He gradually became prominent in these sports and took part in the inter provincial sports festivals. He surged ahead to establish a Sri Lanka record in both events in 1979 in Matara followed by the event held in 1980 in Badulla district respectively.

While excelling there he applied to join the Sri Lanka Police Department in April, 1982 as a Sub Inspector. He was sent to Jaffna for further training along with other members. Former Police and Sri Lanka skipper M.A.Majeed spotted his talents and invited him to take up rugby and join the Police Rugby team. He performed exceptionally well in the inter division matches and finally called onto join the Police Rugby team in 1983, where Anton Benedict and later Daya Jayasundara were the coaches.

After one year, he became a regular member of the Police first XV team, which was filled with star players. He went on to play as a prop forward in that team and in 1992 he was entrusted to lead the Police side as captain.

From there he donned the Police jersey for a marathon period of one decade, before he retired from the Police Rugby Team in 2002. He coached the Police team in 2004. He was also a member of the Police athletic team and captained them in 1990. He created a record with Police in Putt Shot and Discus Throw in 1990 which was broken in 2012.

He stepped into the National rugby arena to represent the Sri Lanka President’s XV team, which toured Chinese Taipei in 1985 once again as a prop forward. He secured a permanent place in the National side and locked horns for Sri Lanka Rugby team from 1986 to 1998. He had to face an unfortunate incident when he was appointed as the skipper of the Sri Lankan Rugby team in . 1995. where the tour by Malaysia team was cancelled due to the Bomb attack near Taj Samudra Hotel . He also represented Sri Lanka 7’s Rugby team at the Dubai 7’s in 1992. The unforgettable memory in his rugby career was winning the Quadrangular tournament in Thailand under Priyantha Ekanyakes captaincy where Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka competed in a 15 a side tournament.

His colleagues at Police Rugby were Rohan Gunaratne, Hafees Marso, Leslie De Silva, Sunil Sahabandu, Ajantha Samarakoon, Palitha Siriwardana, Dassanayake, Mahesh Perera, M. Dharmakeerthi, Hector Gunathilake, Niranjan AbeywardEna, Asoka Jayasena, Roger Rodrigo,Nizam Jamaldeen, HemanthaYatawara, Kotelawala,K P Subasinghe, Sudath Sampath, Nazeem, Chandrapalan, Sarath Paladeniya, Vikum Perera, Ivan Ekanayake.

He was associated with Jude Dimitri, Ravi Wijenathan, Chaminda Rupasinghe, Priyantha Ekanayake, L.V. Ekanayake, Shiyam Siddik, Sudesh Abeysinghe, Imthi Marikkar, Shah Doole, J K Shanthi Kumar, Lasitha Gunaratne, B M Dharmapala, Hisham Abdeen, Nalin de Silva, Rex Anthony, Asanga Seneviratne and Aruna Udawalagedara during his career

He would like to extend his sincere gratitude to his coaches Anton Benedict, Late Daya Jayasundara, Nimal Lewke, R.M Lafir, Ajith Abeyratne Ana Saranapala.

His wife Deepa Perera was a tower of strength in his career in the Police as well as in sports. His daughter Shavindi Silva is a Senior Software engineer at a company in Colombo while son Shahen Silva is an undergraduate at Sri Jayawardenapura University in Management field. He studied at St.Joseph’s College, Colombo. Norman is relaxing and enjoying life from the time of his retirement in February this year.