Dinesh Kumara the dazzling winger | Daily News

Dinesh Kumara the dazzling winger

Some sportsmen who had an illustrious sporting career started from under privileged schools. Due to their natural capabilities, they managed to secure a place with a school in the top tier to mature in their respective sporting discipline on par with the academic studies. Dinesh Kumara faced similar circumstances starting with a school closer to his residence and later enrolled in a prominent school to emerge as a quality rugby player ending up donning the National jersey.

Dinesh Kumara was born in 1983 in Maradana and his father was late Sunil Welikage a businessman and mother Asuntha Nirmali was a housewife. He had three other siblings with two elder brothers Irantha played Rugby for CH and FC and Kasun is a businessman. Imanka, his younger sister, is a housewife. Dinesh started his schooling with Sangaraja Maha Vidyalaya in Maradana from 1991 to 1997. He then moved to Isipathana College, Colombo to pursue higher studies from 1998 to 2002. He was initially known for his performance in cricket. However, he started playing rugby because of his brother (Irantha). At the time he represented CH and FC, he used to play touch rugby with his brothers and friends. One of his close friends Harim Peiris was instrumental in teaching him the basics of rugby. While witnessing him playing, another close friend, Achalanga Ayagama, took him to school inter house rugby practices in 1999. This was the beginning of his journey in his rugby career. At college with the guidance of Maxi Dias he got selected to the school to represent the under-17 rugby team in 1999 coached by Sudath Sampath which won the league championship and became runner-up in the All Island tournament. He made his debut for Isipathana first XV team against Wesley College in his pet position of winger. He played 2001season for Isipathana team and that team became the school’s knockout champions under Ranga Perera coached by Bimal Perera’. by beating the Peterites in the final He was a member of the school’s team which won the ‘Prime Ministers Trophy Championship’ in 2002 under Sanath Martis coaching. They also were runner-up in the Inter school sevens championship under the same coach. He played for Isipathana at the International Sevens held in Sri Lanka under the same coach in the same year. He finally represented the Junior National rugby team on the tour of Japan. In 2000, Isipathana became the Plate Champions in the 10-a-side ‘B’ team under coach Tony Amit.

Soon after his school rugby career he joined CH and FC rugby team in 2003 under the captaincy of Milinda Jayasinghe. He was a part of the CH team that beat Kandy SC on their home ground. Both teams had equal points at the end of the league points table but Kandy won the championship with a bonus point making CH runners up. He emerged as the highest try scorer for CH with his dazzling runs on the wing. He was another player who shifted clubs due to various reasons. He represented CH and FC from 2002 to 2005 coached by Graham Raux. Represented CR and FC from 2005 to 2009 under the coaching of Grant Dwyer, Laga and John Carrington. Represented Kandy in the 2010 season which emerged the League and Knock out champions in 2010 and 2011 coached by John Carrington. Finally concluded his club career with Havelocks who emerged Club League Champions in 2012 coached by Laga.

In 2002, he went to see the Sri Lanka National sevens selection trials with his friends to CR and FC grounds. He was seated near the fence with them watching the trials and Sri Lanka national coach at the time was Asanga Seneviratne. He asked him why he is not practicing. When he told him that he had just come there to witness the trials, Asanga responded saying he was selected to the squad and to come soon with his practice kit. Dinesh was a bit nervous but walked to the ground and saw the cream of

National players like Sajith Mallikarachchi, Radhika Hettiarachchi, Sumedha Jayasinghe, Lakala Perera, Leonard de Zilwa and Indrajith Bandaranayake were present. Eventually, he never thought he would get the privilege to play with these top players. He finally went for practices with the confidence placed in him. He managed to score around seven tries by the end of the trials. After a few days, he was included in the National rugby squad where his National rugby journey kick started in 2002.

He turned out to be a regular member of Sri Lanka XV-a-side rugby team from 2002 to 2009 coached byr late George Simpkin, Laga, Bob Yule, John Carrington and Phil Greening. He was also a member of Sri Lanka sevens rugby team from 2002 to 2008 coached by Asanga Seneviratne, Imthi Marrikar, Chandrishan Perera, Ben Collins and Hisham Abdeen. He was a member of the MAS Holdings rugby team from 2006 to 2014, where he captained the first ever cup winning team for MAS in 2010 at the Mercantile Rugby Sevens.

After he hung up his boots he was the conditioning and assistant coach of CH and FC in the 2020/21 season. He also served as the Strength and Conditioning coach of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, who emerged Milo Knockout Champions in 2017 for the first time in their college history. Served as assistant coach of the 15-a side Rugby team of CH and FC from 2018 to 2019. Coach of the CH and FC Rugby team who emerged overall champions of the Inter-Club Sevens in 2019. Served as Strength and Conditioning Coach of several schools, clubs, Mercantile Organizations and the National teams in various age groups bringing in immense success commencing from 2016.

He has been in the Personal Training (land training) business for the past three years where he specializes mainly in injury prevention. He was the Strength and Conditioning Coach and Backs Coach of the Sri Lanka Police Rugby team in 2014. He was the strength and conditioning coach of the Nalanda College, Colombo swimming team who emerged all island champions in 2009 His wife is Madhavi Samaraweera and two children are Dulane and Thisavi Welikala.