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Graceful In Appearance, But Harboring Ugliness Within


April 29, Colombo (LNW): Hosting an international-level rugby tournament in Sri Lanka after an extended period is truly a cause for joy and excitement. It is also wonderful to include an eco-friendly creative event. Accordingly, for every try scored by a player in the tournament, a rare plant will be planted in his name and arrangements are also made to provide the opportunity for the world to know through the Internet.

However, there are problems concerning these matters within the realm of Sri Lanka Rugby. This is an extension of the administration that was in place after the president had to step down after being angered by the Asia President.

The President of Asia collaborated with Namal Rajapaksa, who held political authority over sports in the country beyond Rugby administration, to incorporate individuals supportive of him into the Sri Lanka Rugby community. This resulted in the Asian administration exerting undue influence on the identity and autonomy of Rugby administration in Sri Lanka. This influence was evident in actions such as inviting domestic sponsors to Asian tournaments in conjunction with the sports minister. Sri Lanka was in principled disagreement with the Asian administration due to not being given due respect.

As a result, Sri Lanka was frequently oppressed, and the former president directly condemned the intervention of the Asia President to overstep his bounds and use power to the Sri Lanka Rugby. Based on that decision, all members of this administration stood firm in advocating for the freedom and independence of Sri Lanka Rugby.

In the end, there was an agreement in the administration of Rugby to make an international presentation for the innocence of the former president, and the Asia President tried not to allow Sri Lanka to play outside the Asian Games and the Olympic Council of Asia. At that time, the Asian Olympic Committee had to inform that it has the power to remove even the rugby from the tournament. After that, Sri Lanka had to play rugby under a different flag.

On this situation, the former president resigned from his position, thinking that the team that was together with him, even without him, would intervene to correct the wrong done to Sri Lanka Rugby. But what is happening now is the suspicion that they are taking off their clothes and bowing before Asia. That is why we asked about it at the media conference of the tournament in which four international teams are participating.

What we really want to know is the ulterior motives of the people who have now changed the position and sent the reputation of Sri Lanka.

Rugby to the bottom of the Asian Games, helping to bring Sri Lanka Rugby down from the Asia Rugby President’s country and protesting what Asia has done to Sri Lanka. It’s been reported that former senior Air Force officer Naleen de Silva has taken the initiative to participate in this tournament.

It was clear as the answer that Nalin does not have the idea that there was such an injustice in principle.

He did not come forward to say that Sri Lanka’s conflict with Asia Rugby and was fair he praised them the blessings received from the Asian President, Asian Administration and World Rugby.

Even though the conflict and discord should still exist due to unfair banning and pressure, Nalin de Silva feels that he has felt the weight that was accidentally loaded on his back from being the second to the third under the boss. He was the secretary who remained tolerant silent during Asanga Senaviratne’s presidency, even when foreign players were compelled to play improperly and faced fines totaling £50,000.

Having worked from the back like that, he behaved as if he was winning a competition to win the honor of using the microphone the most, even in this press conference when he was now in control. Therefore, the sports leaders from the participating countries were not introduced during the press conference. Sponsorship checks that had been collected were not showcased, and no press release had been prepared. Moreover, throughout the entire press conference, the president also wielded the microphone to interject into conversations among others.

Returning to the initial topic of this discussion, as enthusiasts of rugby, we are delighted that an Asian-level tournament is scheduled to take place in our country. But it is not important to sell the bride’s patrimony and waving the flag at the wedding.

Sri Lanka Rugby should issue a statement about the conflict with the Asian administration, the issues that led to it, etc. The determination to pursue international action in response to the injustices of the Asian administration against the president of Sri Lanka and rugby players seems to have waned under the influence of the elevated position attained by the current acting president. Has the once firm opposition transformed into unwavering “Yes Sir” support for the Asia president?

Has Sri Lanka Rugby surrendered to the influence of Asia Rugby and removed the policy mismatch with Asia Rugby, or has Asia Rugby accepted in front of Sri Lanka that their decisions were wrong? From these two matters, the country should be informed of the decision made by Sri Lanka Rugby regarding the current relationship between Asia Rugby and Sri Lanka Rugby.

Because of all this, we have to say, and we see that it is a beauty to hold a tournament in Sri Lanka where four teams from Asia come together in one place, as well as to use rugby for environmental friendliness. However, if the underlying ugliness taints this beauty, we are unable to fully revel in the joy it brings. The country should erase that ugliness and fight with the fighting world from the decision made in principle.

In the accompanying picture is the trophy present to the winners. It is completely handcrafted in the shape of the Rugby World Cup by a local carver at kandy.

While those efforts may seem commendable at first glance, ultimately, if the resistance to external pressures for independence culminates in merely acquiring a prestigious position, it represents the epitome of ugliness in the pride of rugby within the country. We also pray that Sri Lanka Rugby fans will have the opportunity to refrain from attending the ground of the unsightly tournament and instead watching some good competitive tournament.

*Adpated from original article, “පිටට පේන හැඩ සහ ඇතුළෙ තියෙන කැත” by Nishman Ranasinghe, published on 29.04.2024.

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