Balasuriya rendered yeoman service for Kandy sports | Sunday Observer

Balasuriya rendered yeoman service for Kandy sports

E.W. Balasuriya
E.W. Balasuriya

E.W. Balasuriya was a great rugby promoter. Many are the instances in his illustrious career and public life where he displayed his integrity and honesty. He died at the age of 92, and was the husband of late Jaya, and father of Asoka, Lakshman, Rohan, Mahendra, Lakshmi and Gayathri, father-in-law of Manel, Janine, Dhanu, Damayanthi, Kumari and Madan. He was known as Bala to some and some called him EW. He was popular by both names. He was a great lover of sports and he did his best for sports.

Bala had his early education at Dharmaraja College and later shifted to Ananda College, where he excelled at cricket as a top class opening batsman. During his playing days he was rated as a steady and stylish opening batsman and fine close in fielder.

After his schooling he came to Kandy and played cricket for Kandy United Cricket Club and Central Province. He was a well-known figure in Kandy and in the country. He was there to always help sport, social work and education. Some knew only one side of his life - as a keen sports promoter and donor helping lesser known sportsmen to hit the top. Only those who moved with this great gentleman knew about his social activities in which he was deeply involved. There was hardly any sporting event in Kandy in which he was not involved in. His pet sports were rugby and cricket.

The encouragement he gave to players and clubs by way of financial assistance, advice and guidance is well known to many. As a donor he was unique and, unlike most others, he was freely available to all sportsmen at any time.

He was one-time Secretary of the Central Province Cricket Association and later he organized the first official Test match in Kandy at the Asgiriya Stadium.

He was also in the Executive Committee of the Cricket Board when late Gamini Dissanayake was the President. Bala had the ability to make people raise their spirit by expressing support using the words “don’t worry, I am there backing you.”

E.W. Balasuirya was the founder of the Kandy Lake Club in 1962 and Kandy Rugby Football Club, which produced top ruggerites, cricketers, and Iron Sportsmen. Through this club he gave his best for sports in Kandy. He helped several lesser known sportsmen, by inviting them to come and play for his club and also found them jobs. This Club was one of the finest sports organizations in the country. The first sport he introduced through his club was cricket.

Rugby was introduced to Lake Club, in 1963 and they started playing in the inter club ‘B’ division. Some who backed him to start rugger were Col. Stanley Ratwatte, Noel Paranagama, Dr.C.D.L.Fernando and Sidney Ratwatte. EW, turned the team into a champion outfit, in 1966, under Farook Dole.

In the very first year in the ‘A’ division in 1967, they opened the season with the game against defending champion Havelock SC at Havelock Park and the game ended in a 3-all draw.

In 1973 on a suggestion made by former Ceylon Rugby Football Union president Dr.K.B. Sangakkara. E.W. Balasuriya honoring the request amalgamated it with Kandy Sports Club in 1974 in that year Royalist Jeremy Perera led the side.

Iswan Omar became the first from the Kandy Lake Club to lead Kandy Sports Club Nittawala that is the year. EW also became the president Nitawela Club and took the club up to the Clifford Cup Semifinals. Again he was elected as president in 1986.

Although EW or Bala, is no more but his memory will remain forever. He will not be forgotten by the sports loving public of Kandy.

 

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