Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (on right) in conversation with President of Sri Lanka Rugby Lasitha Guneratne
Lasitha Guneratne the outgoing President of Sri Lanka Rugby(SLR) is to sign off on a high note by fulfilling the long standing requirement of owning a permanent ground, which he obtained at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Complex in Diyagama recently.
In his almost one-decade of service at the SLR in various capacities including two years as the President, Lasitha had a long standing dream of obtaining a permanent ground for SLR to conduct their events.
Initially former President Mahinda Rajapakse gave a ground in Diyagama for utilization of Rugby, which later was converted to a fully-fledged synthetic 400 metres’ athletic track, which was occupied by the Army Sports Club as their home ground. With the present government coming into power, under the leadership of Gotabaya Rajapaka , former sports minister
Dallas Alahapperuma granted another plot of land adjoining this track to be utilized for Rugby
This area which is now converted to a fully-fledged multi purpose sports academy named as “Mahinda Rajapasksa International Sports Complex” will consist of an indoor stadium, swimming pool, Archery, Rifle Shooting, Baseball, Cricket and serving all other sports under one roof, including dormitory facilities for the men and women if needed.
The SLR with a history of over 14 decades has never had its own grounds until this place was worked out by Lasitha Gunaratne. He had a clear vision of building a fully-fledged rugby stadium for them, which was disrupted due to various reasons including change of regimes politically. Now the rugby loving fraternity of Sri Lanka will be able to utilize this land to fullfil their requirements by executing a proper plan.
This will go into the record books as no other SLR President in the past was able to fulfil this long felt need . It has to be noted that Lasitha was instrumental in making a request to the Pakistan Government through Asia Rugby and Pakistan Rugby Union to include the men’s and women’s Rugby tournaments in SAG games in Pakistan, to which the Pakistan National Olympic Council has responded positively.
During his term he was able to change the format of introducing the “Plate Championship’ where the bottom four teams in the league tournament will have an opportunity to be in the fray for honours.
He hopes that his successor and his team will continue with the good work, which he has initiated within a short period, in order to raise the games standard while taking Lankan rugby to great heights.
“I am happy and delighted to get a plot of land for utilization for rugby before i sign off. I am thankful to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for granting us this land which was long overdue ” concluded Guneratne.