Ajith Abeyratne a proud product of Trinity-By Hafiz Marikar

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Ajith Abeyratne

Source:Dailynews

Ajith Abeyratne was a top class sportsman produced by Trinity College, in the mid 1960s

He played rugby for the school at the age of 15, and besides playing rugby, he performed with distinction in cricket, basketball, tennis and athletics. During his time his name was a household one in sports in Kandy and he holds the record for the fastest century between Trinity and Royal College –100 in 69 minutes off 62 balls in 1968 at Asgiriya.

He led the Trinity College rugby teams in 1967 and 1968 and won colours and the coveted Lion in rugby as well as the Ryde Gold Medal awarded to the best all-round student in 1968. He was also the president of the Student Christian Movement.

In 1967 in his first year of captaincy in rugby, Ajith Abeyratne’s side beat the star-studded St. Peter’s College led by Rodney Patternott. In that year Trinity were unbeaten rugby champions under the coaching of late Gen Denzil Kobbekaduwa and the team also had players like Shafi Jainudeen, Iswan Omar, Gamini Udugama, Alex Lazarus, Stephen Paul, Anil Siriwardena, Dudley Dissanayake, Mahendra Talwatte, M. Affif, Errol Warne, Mohan Balasuriya, Jadi Dissanayake, Gogi Tillekaratne, B. Shanthi Kumar. N.T.B Dassanayake, Ranjan Nadarajah, Rafi Ismail, Mark Sundaralingam and Prince Nayagam. The team also won both legs of the Bradby 17-3 and 16-3 when a try accounted for three points at that time.

At cricket Abeyratne was an all-rounder and the ‘Bowling Prize’ was awarded to him in1968.

His team mates were Chandra Amunugama, DN Dissanayke, Nihal Marambe, J.L Weersinghe, H. Herat, P.M.R Perera, Cuda Wadugodapitya and P.H.B Marambe to name a few. He also played for the Colombo Cricket Club (CCC).

A gentleman to his fingertips Ajith Abeyratne played club rugby for CR and FC as a Number Eight and it did not take him long for him to don the Sri Lanka jersey. As a coach Ajith Abeyratne also took the Sri Lanka team to the World Rugby Sevens in Sydney in 1987. In rugby administration Abeyratne was the national head selector and director coaching in the 1990s and a Consultant of CR & FC for nearly 20 years. He was the holder of coaching certificates from Wales (1986), New Zealand (Level 1), Australia (1987), England (1991) and the International Rugby Board Level 3 (1997). He was on the Sri Lanka National Coaching Panel plus the Disciplinary Committee in 2004. In addition, Ajith was a fine rugby commentator.

As Coach of CR & FC (1977-78), they were Clifford Cup Finalists and while officiating as the National Coach (1985-87), Ajith toured Wales, Australia, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. He also coached St. Peter’s College in 1995, beating Trinity and Isipathana twice in one season ‘. Ajith was the Assistant National Coach between 1996-2000 and CR in 2001 and 2006.

He was also a high quality Sri Lanka coach and with the national side made tours of Wales, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore. He also coached St. Peter’s College in 1995 the year in which the Peterites became League champions

As Sri Lanka coach from 1985 to 1988 the side were runners up in 1986 and 1987 at the Hong Kong Sevens with players like the incomparable Hisham Abdeen, Priyantha Ekanayake, Asanga Seneviratne, Ronald Rodrigo, Hemantha Yatawara, Saman Kotalawela, Ajantha Samarakoon and Anura Bowela.



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