Sunil Munasinghe one of the finest sportsmen produced by Vidyartha College | Daily News

Sunil Munasinghe one of the finest sportsmen produced by Vidyartha College

Sunil Munasinghe was one of the finest sportsmen to come out of Vidyartha College.

where he excelled in cricket,rugby, hockey, table tennis, boxing and athletics. Later he played for Kandy,Up-Country, State Services and Sri Lanka and served in the Sports Ministry as a sports officer for 37 years.

Muna,as he is known among the sporting fraternity, was a player, coach and promoter.At cricket he was a fine hard-hitting opening bat and wicket keeper and his best years were when he played for the senior side from 1965 to 1970. He captained the team in 1969 and was the best outstation schools batsman in 1970.

He played for the Central Province schools under-18 and 20 teams in the inter-zonal matches along with CK Gajanayake, RM Lafir, Nimal Malagamuwa, H.Gamage Ariyaratne and SR Ramanayake.

During his days Vidyartha did not have a proper place to conduct their practices and played their matches at Police ground while in rugby they practiced at Nittawela. Some of the players I can remember who practiced at Nittawela for Vidyartha College were TB Wijesinghe, George Jayasena, Edwin (Viper) Gunaratne, Sunil Serasinghe, Charles Wijewardena ,RM Lafir, Lakshman Samarajeewa, DG Dayaratne, G Chandra , Anil Jayasinghe,Athula Manchanayake, Lakshman Dullewa, George Samaraweera, Nimal Malagamuwa and many more.

After leaving school, Muna played for Kandy CC from 1970-1971 and helped them win the Donovan Andree Trophy. After joining the Sports Ministry he played cricket for the institution and also toured Maldives in 1982 and 1984.

Muna was responsible in helping the Sports Ministry cricket team to win the Public Services Cricket tournament for the first time and was a regular in the State Services cricket team as an opening bat and wicket keeper and also played for Old Trinitiains. His first coach was TMA Cooray.

It was in the field of rugby that Muna earned a name as a top class player, a hooker who won the ball, unlike today when the hooker had to fight for the ball in the scrum and his first coach was Ajwad Mohamed.

He was a member of the inaugural Vidyartha-Ananda encounter for the William Gopallawa Shield and some of his school mates at rugby were RM Lafir H.Gamage Ariyaratne and Nimal Malagamuwa,

After leaving school Muna played for Kandy Sports Club for the first time in 1970 in the front row with YC Chang and Gavin Stevens as props.

In 1978 under Irwin Howie he played in the Cup final against Havelock Sports Club along with Bola Gunaratne, DH Rajaguru, Iftikar Uvais, H. Gamage Ariyaratne, Lakshman Dullewe, Tilak Jayasundara, Sen U Suan, Nimal Malagamuwa, Sam Samarasekara,Chan Lee Ching, Jerome Grey, Sunil Serasinghe and the writer.

He played for Kandy Sports Club from 1970 to 1980 and led the side in 1977.

He also led the up-country side in the same year and played for them from 1970 to1980 and had the opportunity of leading the Sri Lanka Colts XV against the visiting Dulwich College.

His best moment in rugby was in 1978 when he was picked to play for Sri Lanka under Irwin Howie in the Rugby Asiad and continued to play for the Sri Lanka team until 1980.

While at school he was an all-rounder and was the head Prefect and later became the secretary of the Vidyartha College OBA and served in the Kandy District Cricket Association’s Committee.

While playing rugby for Kandy SC he was invited to join the Police as a Sub-Inspector and the Sports Ministry as a Sports Officer, but he preferred the sports ministry where he did yeoman service for them.

Muna is professionally qualified and holds a Diploma in Physical Education and Nutrition (USA). In 1972 he underwent training on recruiting new sports officers and was appointed as a Sports Specialist in the Sports Complex of King Khalid in Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 1983.

He holds a referees and trainers certificate issued by the Sri Lanka Weightlifting Federation and is also a qualified football and rugby referee.

He has also followed sports administrator’s courses conducted by the NOC and was in the organising committee of the sixth South Asian Games in 1995 in Madras,India and the eighth South Asian Games in Kathmandu in 1999.

He is the author of a book on Sports Nutrition and Physical Fitness.