Student athletes of Isipathana College-Colombo are synonymous for their prowess in Sri Lanka’s school rugby turf.
Despite a few draw backs both on and off season, Isipatha Rugby has left an indelible mark in the hearts of rugby aficionados throughout the nation.
However Isipathana’s rugby legacy is a ‘bitter-sweet’ symphony, stacked against considerable odds.
Chief among them is the absence of a school ground.
Although several measures were taken during the former regime to vest the Henri Pedris grounds with Isipathana under the stewardship of Fmr. Sports Minister Harin Fernando, the college is yet to receive custodianship of the ground.
Ramesh Rushantha Silva an alumnus of Isipatha College-Colombo who overlooks operations at the Isipathana College Online Information Center said that he is unable to fathom the status-quo of Isipathana having being deprived of a school ground.
“Honestly, I cannot precisely say what the catch is. We are unable to point a finger at a specific official or person. However we thank Fmr. Sports Minister Harin Fernando for auctioning off his rugby jersey and donating its proceedings to the school fund. But we regret the fact that the college has still not been vested with the Henri Pedris ground for practices.
Silva further said “Isipathana is a sovereign sign of rugby in Sri Lanka. Isipathana has produced the most number of rugby athletes for Sri Lanka’s National Pool. Our college has clinched the most number of championships. Our secret to success has been persistant dedication and an unwavering mind set. Isipathana does not have a fancy gym as opposed many affluent schools in Colombo. Even the school swimming pool was constructed very recently. The backbone of Isipathana consists of dedicated students both past and present, as well as parents who are willing to walk the whole nine yards with us”
He further said that if the college was able to showcase its raw talent devoid of a proper school playground, had it been in possession of one, Isipathana would have undoubtedly been able to outperform itself.
The custodianship of the Henry Pedris Grounds currently lies with Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) . Silva hopes that the Ministry of Sports, as well as the CMC would strike a chord to make things work for his alma mater.
“The incumbent Minister of sports Namal Rajapaksa is a rugby player with a passion for the sport. I’m somewhat confident that he–as the country’s Sports Minister, would serve in the capacity of an understanding public servant, irrespective of the difference of his alma mater. I only expect the Henri Pedris grounds for Isipathana. I also hope that he would uplift the country’s sporting field” Silva added.