Pradeep Wilson excelled in rugby only after joining the Police | Daily News

Pradeep Wilson excelled in rugby only after joining the Police

Sri Lanka Police has played a pivotal role in bringing to prominence several school leavers and transformed them as top sportsmen in various sporting disciplines. Rugby at Police is the cynosure of all eyes and has a special place in their annual sporting calendar. Pradeep Wilson was one of their finest products who had a limited knowledge handling the oval shaped ball at the time of enrolling in the Police later turned out to be a highly skilled player in rugby finally representing the country.

Pradeep was born in 1976 in Polgolla in the outskirts of Kandy District. His father was Widanagama Wilson a former army officer while Seelawathi Manike is his mother a housewife from Polgolla. He started his school career with a school in his home town called Uyanwatta Vidyalaya in 1982, where he completed his GCE Ordinary Level Examination in 1992. To continue his higher studies, he was compelled to join a prominent school which had the necessary facilities to cater to his requirements. He finally managed to secure a place in Vidyartha College, Kandy from 1992 to 1995,Until then he did not take part in in any sport Since he was living close to Nittawela ground, he used to witness the rugby matches played there with his friends living close by from 1988 to 1990. Apart from that, another top rugby coach Ananda Kasthuriarachchi was living in his home town. He used to join them and play tap rugby encouraging the young schoolboys there. This motivated Pradeep to join the college second XV rugby team in the 1994/95 season, which was the only opportunity he managed to gain some exposure of the game during his school career. Along with this he had an opportunity to play some leisure rugby during the Sinhala New Year time among the boys in his area in 1992, teams tagged under Polgolla RFC.

After his school career, in 1997, he joined the Police Department as a Sub Inspector. There he started playing in the inter division tournament while he was placed in Vavuniya. One of his father’s friends by the name of

Naseem introduced him to Nizam Jamaldeen, another player who was representing Police rugby. This meeting helped him to get into the Police ‘B’ division team while he was housed at Police flats in 1998. It was IP Damith Jayawardena the 1998 Police skipper who took care of him and played a key role in converting him into a fully-fledged rugby player. In 1999 late W.T. Tillekeratne the Police skipper promoted him to the ‘A’ division pool and surged ahead until 2012 occupying the second row position. His memorable seasons were under the captaincy of present SP Lalith Leelaratne in 2001 followed by the 2002 season under IP Anura Fernando’s captaincy which later toured India to play at the All India Tournament in 2003. During his tenure with Police, he had the rare distinction of leading them in two consecutive seasons in 2006 and 2007. During his tenure saw them winning several championships.

His presence with the National team was from 2003 where he made his debut under Pradeep Basnayake’s captaincy. He played under Dushanth Lewke in 2008 and Pavithra Fernando in 2009 for the Sri Lanka team in several tournaments. In 2003 he represented the Sri Lanka team at the XV-a-side Asian IRB qualifying tournament against Japan in Colombo. Represented the National team at the Five Nations Asian Championship in Chinese Taipei under Dushanth Lewke and played in the same tournament in Dubai in 2009 under Pavithra Fernando’s captaincy. His school coaches were Kosgolla and Sunil Munasingha while retired senior DIG Nimal Lewke, late DIG Daya Jayasundara, retired DIG Hafees Marso, retired DIG Norman Silva and SP Lalith Leelaratne were his coaches who assisted him immensely at Police. While S.W. Chang and later George Simpkin too also assisted him in his rugby career. He served as a member of the Referees Society committee as a level- two referee. He was well supported by Vimal Perera, Nizam Jamaldeen and Dilroy Fernando and Anil Jayasinghe during his tenure as a rugby referee. He likes to extend his gratitude to the Police Rugby Chairmen and Secretaries. He also wants to say a big thank you to Kapila at Vidyartha and Amila Ratnayake and Chief Inspectors Krishanthan, and Nilame Samarakoon of Police for helping him

At present is working as a Chief Inspector of Police with an uninterrupted 24-years’ service and thanks SLR President Rizly Illyas who managed the National team in 2003. His wife is Nalika Jayasinghe a nurse working at Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Borella. He has two sons Bipul Dinsara (10) and Minul Minsara (8) who are students of Royal College, Colombo.