ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 36
Kandy Times

The Lewke quest

By Shamseer Jaleel

Nimal Lewke who took over as the President of the governing body Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) has a tough job in his hands. As soon as he was elected he spoke to The Sunday Times and said that his main aim is to get Sri Lanka rugby to the next stage and wanted Sri Lankan rugby at least at number three in Asia two years hence.

Lewke has two thinking caps to wear.

He becomes the first old boy from St Sylvester’s College to hold the hot seat of the SLRFU. Lewke was an outstanding boxer during his school days. He represented the national team against the Indian outfit in the fly weight category. He also made his mark in the Stubbs Shield Tournament representing the Kandy school.

Lewke who never played rugby during his school days learned the basics of rugby when the late Maurice Perera and the late General Denzil Kobbekaduwe taught him the finer points. Soon after leaving school Lewke joined the Kandy Sports Club in 1970 and represented them. He was under the watchful eye of the then Kandy skipper Y C Chang, another stalwart who did not play rugby whilst at school.

He joined the Police three years later and represented them in three sports namely Rugby Football, Cricket and Hockey. He played along with some top names like Daya Jayasundera, Upali Vithanage and Anton Benedict. His finest moment in rugby came when he represented the Cup winning Police outfit under Nizam Hajireen. Later Lewke led the Police outfit in 1980.

Later Lewke coached the Cops with lot of success and was also assigned to look after the Kandy Sports Club. He guided the Kandy SC to win the triple crown. Lewke before taking in to coaching was also an excellent referee and went on to be the President of the Sri Lanka Referees Society.

Speaking to The Sunday Times he said that the League Tournament will be conducted in a different format and also moving the Clifford Cup Tournament to Kandy where matches involving Kandy SC. He stressed the importance of local players getting the much-needed foreign exposure and he has already sent four of our national players to New Zealand for a short stint.

He further said that there should be more tournaments organized between countries such as Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore and our home country. He was also confident in bringing in a new coach from either Australia or New Zealand with the support of Dilip Kumar the former President of the Australian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and the present council member of the International Rugby Football Union (IRB). He ended by saying even the referees will be given ample exposure of training and other facilities and already some top personalities in the country had promised full support to take the Lankan rugby to the next level and to see the Sri Lanka outfit participating in the 2015 Rugby World Cup when Japan hosts same. Lewke did not forget the esteemed organization such as Caltex and Singer Sri Lanka for their continued support for the success of the game.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.