Rajakaruna - excellent ruggerite, athlete and boxer | Daily News


Rajakaruna - excellent ruggerite, athlete and boxer

Sriyantha Rajakaruna
Sriyantha Rajakaruna

Sriyantha Rajakaruna was another fine player produced by Isipathana College, Colombo who excelled in many sports for College, Club and at International arena bringing fame and honour to the school and country.

Sriyantha is from Moragalla, Beruwala and was only child of late Dr. Hubert Rajakaruna and Tilaka Abeygunawardana. He completed his Primary and Secondary Education at Isipathana College, Colombo.

He was well known as an all-round sportsman in school and had a pet name ‘Raja’, by which most people call him in the Rugby fraternity. During his younger days he started Playing Rugby at Bambalapitiya Grounds adjoining the flats and one of his friends late Ray de Silva, who Played Rugby and Cricket for Royal persuaded him to play rugby for Isipathana College, through his Father late H.T. de Silva who was the Vice Principal of Isipathana at that time. Sriyantha was coached by Ken de Joodt, Mike Davies, Frankie David in school while Harry Gunathilaka and Eddie Buell in the Air Force Summa Navaratnam Mahesh Rodrigo, Ajith Abeyratne at CR and FC. and Late Denzil Kobbekaduwa coached him He has the highest regard for his former Sri Lanka Rugby Captain Indrajith Coomaraswamy under whom he played as a wing three

quarter representing the national team against Japan in 1974. In 1975 he played against the visiting Indonesian National rugby team. From 1971 to 1980 also represented Presidents XV team against visiting foreign teams and was an automatic choice for the National pool

He launched his illustrious rugby career in 1967 under Gunasena Wijeratne as Captain where he went on to play just three Games. Next year he managed to secure a permanent place in the first line up under Juraghan Savanghan and had a very successful season. The turning point of his career was when he donned the jersey under Thajone Savanghan leadership in 1969, where

Isipathana remained unbeaten in their ten outings scoring a total of 164 points with an average of 16.4 per game. They defeated St. Marys, Dehiwala, St. Peters, S. Thomas, Mount Lavinia, Ananda, , Zahira, St. Joseph’s, St. Benedicts, , St. Anthonys, Katugastota, Thurstan,, Vidyartha, Kandy where only Royal and Trinity refused to play them due to unknown reasons . In 1970 under Hafi Abdeen Isipathana had a memorable season losing to St. Peters 11-9.

As an all round sportsman in School he was appointed as captain of the College Rugby team in 1971. This team also remained unbeaten and went on to overcome both Royal and St.Thomas by 11-3, drew with St.Peters five all, beat Zahira 14-8, beat St. Josephs 27-0, beat Thurstan 14-5, beat St. Mary’s 20-0, beat St Benedicts, Ananda and St. Anthony’s, Kandy which led them to

become the unbeaten unofficial School Champions. That team comprised late Jagath Dharmasiri, Late Hiran Fernando, Kumar Jayaratne(Tomba), Late Manilal de Silva, Nalin de Silva, Nimal Karunatilaka, Gamini Chandrasekera, Sarath Wijesuriya, Upali Vidanage, Latif Mantara, Rezano Rajap, Upali Wettewa, Faiz Ismail, Sriyantha Rajakaruna and Mahinda Jayawardena He

represented Colombo Schools and Ceylon Schools Rugby teams respectively. This enabled him to grab the College Colours for Rugby and Athletics. He was a very active member of the College Old Boys Union and served as a member of the College Rugby Development Committee on an invitation of Hassan Sinhawansa’ in 2012 and 2013.

He captained the College Athletic Team in1969 and was a member of the College relay team, which won the ‘Jefferson Cup’ relays at Public Schools meet competing with some prominent athletes such as Faiz Ismail, Gunalan and Sarath Salgado. While being in school he was invited to represent Havelock’s Sports Club ‘A’ division Rugby team for a limited period.

After leaving school he joined the Air Force. He stole the limelight in the Rugby Circle in 1970’s. With Air Force defence Services, he was complimented with the Rugby colours in his first year

which is a rare achievement which he continued until he left them. He went on to represent Air Force, , Presidents Fifteen, Defence Services , and Sri Lanka in Rugby where most of the

matches were against Foreign Teams which toured here . Finally, he Captained the Air Force and Combined Services Rugby Teams. He also boxed as a part timer and won the Inter Unit Novices Boxing Championships in Welter Weight.

After leaving the Air Force he joined John Keells limited and was a member of the John Keells Seven-A-Side Rugby Team which won the Championship several times at Mercantile Sevens Tournament. He also represented Havelocks while in School and Played for CR and FC in “A” Division in 1978 and 1979

When playing for Air Force his first Captain was Late Charles Wijewardena. Other Players were Viper Gunaratne(Senior),Late Lofty Perera, Tikiri Marambe, T.A. Omerdeen, Hazari Dole,Tissa Nanayakkara, S.U.Mendis,Kumar and Dr.Sunanda Jayaratne, Athula Wickramasinghe, Ronald Rodrigo,Late Hiran Fernando, Mohan Balasuriya,Late Senaka Bowala,Late Channa Gunaratne,Late D.S.Wickramasinghe and Nalin De Silva

At CR and FC he had the honour of playing with Indrajith Coomaraswamy Dr. Maiya Gunasekara, Dr.Tony de Sylva, Late Haji Omar, Late Didacas de Almeida, Malik Samarawickrama, Late Shiraz Fernando, C.P. Abeygunawardena, Iqbal Musafer,Michael Muller, John Rudra, Roy Balasuriya, Dushantha Samarasekara, and Sukumar

While in College he was a Member of Junior and Senior Cadet Platoons and Member of the Tug-of-War Team which won the All Island Championship. His wife is Kamanie de Silva who is a JPUM – Attorney – At- Law and Notary Public.