Sri Lanka Men’s 7s team to come under OAC flag
The 19th Asian Game’s Rugby Sevens Men’s tournament is scheduled to take place in Hangzhou China from September 23 to 27. Going through many challenges, the Sri Lanka Men’s Rugby 7s Team, ‘the Tuskers’ will now compete with 13 Asian rugby teams under the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) flag, in Pool ‘B’ initially to play against Chinese Taipei and South Korea under the captaincy of Kandy Sports Club’s dynamic fly half and star place kicker Tarinda Ratwatte. To add more strength to the 7s team Adam Gauder, a Sri Lankan, who is now domiciled in Australia playing for a top club in Queensland, has also joined the Tuskers, to form a well balanced team with high individual and team skills, speed and endurance where they could strike at the correct moment.
With an aim of winning a medal at the Asian Games which is Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) is very optimistic, the 7s team has been under intensive training from July, firstly on Virtual High Performance Training under the guidance of Phil Greening, a renowned international coach from the UK with the assistance of Sri Lanka Rugby High Performance Manager Kamal Jayathilaka and currently under national 7s Head Coach Dushanth Lewke, who is doing a wonderful job.
The Administrative Staff headed by the Executive Director Hassan Sinhawansa of SLR made all necessary preliminary arrangements especially considering the situation of the potential rugby players from provinces and clubs, who have been eagerly waiting to represent the national team at an event of this magnitude, for the last three years after the pandemic.
“SLR was constantly in communication with all relevant authorities especially with the Minister of Sports Roshan Ranasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Sports K Mahesan, the newly appointed Director General of Sports Rear Admiral Dr. Shemal Fernando, the President of NOC Sri Lanka Suresh Subramaniam and the Secretary General of NOC Sri Lanka Maxwell de Silva, the Sports Medicine Unit of the Ministry of Sports, Dr. Maiya Gunasekara of NSC, General Shavendra Silva, the Chairmam of National Sports Selection Committee, Arjuna Ranatunga, the Chairman National Sports Council, Arjun Fernando, the Secretary of NSC, the representatives of World Rugby and Asia Rugby and SLR somehow managed to obtain approval from the World Rugby for the Sri Lanka 7s team to participate at the 19th Asian Games under the OCA flag. The hard work by Suresh Subramaniam and Maxwell de Silva of the NOC Sri Lanka is very well appreciated,” Nalin de Silva, the spokesman for SLR stated.
“In this regard, SLR is so grateful to the Secretary of the Ministry of Sports and the Director General of Sports Rear Admiral Dr. Shemal Fernando for granting permission to provide accommodation facilities at the Ministry premises, food, medical facilities, air tickets, and insurance for the tour, playing attire and many more required facilities. All these arrangements were very well coordinated by the officially appointed manager for the team Commodore Sanath Pitigala,” de Silva added.
Additionally SLR has made plans to implement and develop its player welfare programme in a more sustainable manner, through sponsorships generated. SLR has already developed strong relationships with its sponsors Nippon Paint, WebexPay, Ceylon Agro Industries, Kottu Mee and Signature of Hameedias, who have come forward to assist SLR and NOC in its venture to field the men’s 7s rugby team at the 19th Asian Games.