RANJIT WIJEYESEKERE : AN ODE TO A GAZELLE

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RANJIT WIJEYESEKERE : AN ODE TO A GAZELLE

Posted on 24 July 2021 by admin

Published 1 month ago on 2021/06/20

BY MERRIL GUNARATNE (SENIOR DIG POLICE – RETIRED)

We go back in time over 50 years to remember the feats of an outstanding athlete who dominated track events in national and school athletics. Ranjit Wijeyesekere of St.Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya, by outclassing formidable rivals in the most glamorous events in the sport, 400 metres, 200 metres and 100 metres, developed an aura of invincibility in the 1950’s and 60’s. Unfortunately, he left Sri Lanka for greener pastures at a relatively young age. He was thus lost to athletics prematurely. He is presently domiciled in Ontario, Canada.

They were times when honour and respect for high standards characterized the conduct of those excelling in sports. They competed partly to earn personal milestones, but mainly to bring credit and glory to their schools and the country. Ranjit was one of such ilk. There were countless others in numerous games. They had to sacrifice time spent on studies in order to labour at sports practices; and the only reward they earned for their efforts was recognition. This contrasts sharply with the culture today where sport is a profession, with lucre and lucrative offers baiting performance. Not that today’s stars are to be faulted, but they were fortunate when compared with those of Ranjit’s day who competed only for recognition. But where money mixes with sports, disagreeable influences could also follow, giving rise to a different culture to what it was in those halcyon days. In this context, Ranjit and others in the 50’s and 60’s epitomized pristine values.

RANJIT’S STYLE OF RUNNING

Sports aficionadoBob Harvie, commentating at a national meet, described Ranjit’s style of blazing the track as the best he had seen. This was not an exaggeration. Accumulation of places and records in any game has to be admired, but what leaves indelible impressions in the observer is the elegance that accompanies performance. Taking cricket to prov

e the point, David Gower’s poise and silken grace had a telling impact on crowds. We had our own wristy stylists: Stanley Jayasinghe, Michael Tissera, Aravinda de Silva, Madugalle, Tennakoon and Roy Dias. There were many others in diverse games.

The style of Ranjit Wijeyesekere in the most glamorous events of athletics, the 400,200 and 100 metres, was unique and incomparable. Ranjit stood tall, 6 ft. 2 inches and lanky, but was well developed in the shoulders and legs. He had exceptionally long legs. To have seen those long strides with shoulders and legs generating rhythm and speed, was an awesome sight. There was a feline grace about him. He dazzled crowds. His run was a melody in motion. He was the glamour ‘boy’ of athletics in the 1950’s. Ranjit was a synonym for grace and rhythm, a gazelle in full throttle, and a connoisseur’s delight. I could stand testimony, having seen many of his triumphs. These are impressions frozen in time. It was a pity that modern technology was not available at the time to capture his elegance for posterity.

The Public Schools Meet of 1957 at the Colombo Oval and Ranjit’s feats are yet etched in my mind. At that time, at virtually every meet they competed together, JC Fernando of Royal College and Ranjit Wijeyesekere of St Peter’s College had to be at their best to attempt outdo the other. It was amidst such fierce competition that Ranjit Wijeyesekere won the 440 yds and 220 yds events. It was possibly because of the formidable challenge of JC Fernando that Ranjit ran the race of his life to win and break the Public Schools record in the 440 yds event. He was the acme of elegance as well as a superlative achiever. This unique combination made him the darling of crowds. It was therefore not a matter for surprise that Bob Harvie was inspired to pay him the highest accolades. As a person, Ranjit was unspoilt by achievement and reputation, modest, unassuming, friendly, softspoken, honourable, and disciplined. He was a gentle giant. St. Peter’s College had ample reason to have been proud of their superstar.

SOME OF HIS ACHIEVEMENTS

The triumphs of Wijeyesekere in the 50’s and 60’s were legion. I succeeded in obtaining a few of his achievements from various sources, despite the passage of over 50 years from the time he blazed the track. The following table captures some of his outstanding performances:

Ranjit Wijeyesekere joined Air Ceylon from school and thereafter migrated overseas. Constant travel and irregular working hours would have restricted attention to the sport he so adored. We can only infer how he would have adorned the national stage if he had remained longer in Sri Lanka and pursued a career which did not hinder opportunities to train and compete. Besides, the kind of patronage and material support now enjoyed by sport stars were not benefits at that time. The quest for employment and a secure future were far more wise and pragmatic options then, than achieving mere recognition. Overall, Ranjit’s loss was also the nation’s loss.

It may be apt to name the galaxy of outstanding runners of the 50’s: J.C. Fernando, O.K Hemachandra, Denzil Fernando, C.S. Fernando, Yohan and D.W. Rajaratnam, W.W. Tambimuttu, Ivan Boteju, R.A.F. Perera, Nimal Fernando, Lakshman De Alwis, Senaka Wijenaike, Lorenz Pereira, R.J Reid and Darrel Lieversz. I must surely have overlooked many others, my memory after so long being hazy. St Peter’s College which was captained by Ranjith Wijeyesekere in 1957 alone boasted many stars: W.W. Tambimuttu, Nissanka Dharmatillake, Anton Perera, Errol de Silva, Vandort, Ranjith Weerasena Roger Wright, Neville Salvador, Chesley Jayasinghe and Ranjith Perera. They emerged champions at the Public Schools Meet in 1957.

FELICITATION OF FORMER HEROES

It is an axiom of life that achievements and reputations in any field or sphere are extremely ephemeral. We remember and admire sportsmen so long as they entertain. We may speak of them with nostalgia for sometime after their retirement, but it is not in our nature to admire them with the same enthusiasm after lapses of time. There is an inconstant or fickle nature in humans. But should we push superstars like Ranjit into total oblivion? Have we not consigned them to the distant limbo of history? They in their prime had, making many sacrifices, toiled to bring fame to the country and their schools. It is arguable that they should later be felicitated, recognized and appreciated for their unique feats and fame, a reminder that we will remember them with gratitude.

It may be appropriate to consider the arrangement of elaborate felicitation ceremonies for at least former national champions as a demonstration of gratitude. The focal point for such arrangement may be the school, for they can manage limited numbers unlike national sports bodies which may have to cater to much larger numbers. But if schools are to evolve a system to plan and hold such functions to felicitate their former national stars on a systematic and regular basis, they should establish archives to store data so that some deserving will not be overlooked. Archives may be necessary for any organization or organized activity. They provide flesh to history and heritage which in turn become fundamental props or prerequisites to enable those in the present to emulate the past and inspire the future. Any organization could exploit it’s heritage as an impetus to improve standards. Archives therefore link the past to the present and the future.

In a mail sent to me last month, Ranjit, referring to his participation at a meet in India, had stated that he represented “BELOVED Sri Lanka”. His intense patriotism yet for a country he left 50 years ago is amply evident in this expression. One can only imagine the patriotic feelings that would have gone through his mind when, 50 to 60 years ago, he constantly mounted the rostrum to receive trophies for his triumphs. I think a conscious effort to show these former national stars in the sunset of their lives that we owe them a deep debt of gratitude through felicitation ceremonies is the least that could be done to demonstrate that we have not forgetten them.

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WINSTON TAMBIMUTTU - ONE OF THREE PETERITE ATHLETES FROM THE FIFTIES WHO WON NATIONAL HONOURS

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WINSTON TAMBIMUTTU – ONE OF THREE PETERITE ATHLETES FROM THE FIFTIES WHO WON NATIONAL HONOURS

Posted on 24 July 2021 by admin

Passion for Excellence!

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, Josephian-Peterite NEWS NETWORK

St. Peter’s College has produced numerous star athletes since the early 1930s, a few who later emerged as national champions. As ‘St. Joseph’s College South’, the school by the Wellawatta Canal was established in 1922. The school was re-branded and named St. Peter’s College in 1927. The name change was documented on April 8, 1927, vide Gazette Notification No.7575. Ninety-nine years later, we pay homage to Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc, Rector of St. Joseph’s College for his foresight and vision in establishing this great seat of learning. Rev. Fr. Nicholas Perera was consequently appointed Rector of St. Peter’s College in 1927, and due to his inspired leadership sports was introduced. Athletics commenced in earnest at St. Peter’s after the expansion of the picturesque College grounds, which was opened on 13th September 1930. Subsequently in 1934, St Peter’s college under the captaincy of Shirley de S. Illesinghe and ably coached by Mr. Herbert Wittahachchi won the Tarbat Trophy and Jefferson cups at the Public Schools Athletic Meet.

This write up is to recognize an extraordinary athlete who had his baptism to track and field at his alma mater – St. Peter’s College in the mid-fifties. Winston W. Tambimuttu stood 6’ 1” in height andwas blessed with a super physique suited for any sport. Tall and lanky, Winston had the necessary attributes to go in any direction of sport – be it basketball, cricket, or athletics. He represented college in Basketball, went for practice as a pace bowler who played 2nd eleven cricket with a possibility of securing a place in the first eleven team. But in hindsight, he picked Athletics and came under the tutelage of one of the best in the coaching business in schools at the time – Jackie Van Twest. It must be said that St. Peter’s College was endowed with a coterie of top-notch athletes when Van Twest took over coaching assisted by Terry Louis, another spirited member of the coaching team. Mr. Van Twest’s tenure as Athletics Coach at St. Peter’s College ranged from 1954-1966.

1957 – BANNER YEAR FOR PETERITE ATHLETICS

Affixed herein is the SPC Athletics Team of 1957. This was the golden era of resurgence of Peterite athletics. With due respects to Peterite athletic teams in the last six decades, the 1957 Athletic team was perhaps the best team ever produced by St. Peter’s College in its 99-year history – both Seniors & Juniors. This may be a profound statement, but I confidently stand by it. Kudos to Jackie Van Twest and Terry Louis for making this happen. They turned ordinary athletes into extraordinary ones – with a few tipping the scales to clinch the national crown and/or create Ceylon records. Three athletes in this dynamic team later became ‘National Champs’ in their respective events. Winston Tambimuttu was one – in the 400M Hurdles. The other two were Ranjit Weerasena (Discus) and Ranjit Wijeyesekere (400M). St. Peter’s Juniors were led by versatile sportsman Anton Perera who dominated the ‘throws’ and excelled while the Seniors led by Ranjit Wijeyesekere came close to winning the coveted John Tarbat Trophy. A blunder by the officiating referee in the Javelin throw, deprived St. Peter’s of winning the trophy. The Peterite Relay team in the 4 x 400M was dynamic and comprised of Ranjit Wijeyesekere, Winston Tambimuttu, Nissanka Dharmatileka and Neville Salvador. The 4 x 100M Relay team comprising Ranjit Wijeyesekere, Winston Tambimuttu, David Van Dort and a 4th member competed well at Group/Public Schools Meets.

Winston Tambimuttu trained hard with a passion for excellence under the expert guidance of Jackie Van Twest. He took his height, stature, and long strides into good effect to become a formidable athlete. His events were 400M, 110M Hurdles, Triple Jump, High Jump and the two relays – 4 x 100M & 4x400M. He was a star and well regarded in athletic circles. After an intense career in Athletics, Basketball and bit of cricket, Winston left school in September 1959. Six decades may have lapsed since but the name of W.W. Tambimuttu deserves recognition as history of Peterite Athletics is lost in time. Winston had a brother Stafford Tambimuttu who was also an athlete and member of the SPC Fife & Drum Band. His sister Kerina Tambimuttu continued the family tradition in athletics at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya. Winston’s stepbrother Nihal Gunewardene was a popular sportsman representing college in cricket (1967 – under Tony Opatha), rugger (1966 under Hamzee Hameed and 1967 under Rodney Paternott). Nihal did the triple jump in athletics and qualified for the Group Meet at Police Park. Incidentally, Nihal’s late father Villers Gunewardene is also a Peterite having secured colours in 4 sports – Rugby, Cricket, Athletics and Soccer, which he captained.

A bit of trivia about the 1957 team members.

Nihal Fonseka was a specialist in the Pole Vault – better known as the international tenor with a world-class voice. Errol de Silva won the Public Schools Championships in the Javelin throw. Ranjit Wijeyesekere specialized in the 400M and 200M. Nihal, Errol and Ranjit are retired from their respective jobs and have made Canada their adopted home since the late 60s or early 70s. All three live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Anton Perera was a household name in the late 50s as a cricketer, athlete, and tennis player. He was considered one of the fastest schoolboy bowlers at the time.  Anton lived in San Fernando Valley, Southern California for almost 50 years. Rontjen Perera is also retired and lives in Los Angeles, California. Nissanka Dharmatileka joined the Ceylon Police, not sure where he is today. Winston Tambimuttu migrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1973. Sadly, Ranjit Weerasena, Anton Perera, Linus Jayawardena, Desmond Moraes, are no more. May they rest in peace! 

Winston’s sporting career after leaving school

Sixty-three years ago on March 4, 1958, seven track and field visionaries – Carlton Seneviratne, Jackie Van Twest, Harry Jayawardena, Terry Louis, Lazarus Jayasekera, KLF Wijedasa and schoolboy Vijitha Wijeysekara set out to form the “Ceylonese Track and Field Club” a.k.a CT&FC, with a logo of a gazelle in flight.   Athletics is complex and wonderfully varied, but it also embodies passion, hard work and self-improvement. Athletics is education and entertainment, respect for the rules and self-expression. Athletics is also like life itself, with challenges and obstacles, triumphs, and defeats. Many champion athletes have emulated the courage, commitment, and joy inherent in the sport.

Behind every great athlete is a masterful coach that inspires athletes to evolve into the strongest performer they can become. The intensive coaching Winston received from Jackie Van Twest prepared him for bigger and better things later in life. Winston joined the new club soon after he left college. This was the turning point of his athletic career that led him to break the Ceylon record in the 400M hurdles. His level of endurance and easy style in the shorter hurdles prompted Winston to train for the arduous 400M hurdles event under the watchful eye of Jackie Van Twest and Harry Jayawardena. This event was not included at Public Schools level. In 1964, Winston broke the Ceylon Record for the 400M hurdles event. In addition, he was a member of the CT&FC Relay Team that broke the Ceylon record in the 4 x 400M event that included Winston, E.L. (Leslie) Lokubalasuriya, Senaka Wijayanayake and Nimal Fernando. Affixed herein are a few photographs that compliment Winston’s journey in athletics and basketball. Another image shows Winston skimming over the hurdles to create a Ceylon record in the 400M hurdles.

Employment at J.D. McLaren Co. Ltd.

After leaving school, Winston joined J.D. McLaren Co. Ltd., a reputed service provider for many international liner shipping companies frequenting the port of Colombo. He indulged in many sports while at McLarens, but it was Athletics that he shone. Winston took his athletics prowess to another level leading the team to win the All-Ceylon Mercantile Athletic Association Championships in 1967. He created Mercantile and Ceylon records in the 400 meters hurdles. He was a member of the strong McLarens team that became Mercantile Basketball Champions in 1967, in a team that had two players of national fame – Percy Perera and Sam Lovell.

Winston worked at McLarens for 10 years prior to leaving the shores of Ceylon in 1973, to migrate to Melbourne, Australia. He is retired now after working many years as a Senior Executive in the Shipping Industry and lives in Melbourne. Winston enjoys fishing on his boat in retirement. This writer lived at Bambalapitiya Flats during school days and knew Winston, his brothers Stafford and Nihal and only sister Kerina who lived at the Flats – J Block. Winston was my idol along with Ranjit Wijeyesekere at school. It is therefore a pleasure to put pen to paper to relive the journey taken by a simple, unassuming, dynamic athlete like Winston Tambimuttu who had the honour of holding on to two Ceylon records at a given period in the 400M Hurdles and 4 x 400M Relay. Winston has always been a proud Peterite!

Winston’s late father Walter W. Tambimuttu was a record-breaking Ceylon athlete

From father to son, the legacy goes on. Winston Tambimuttu’s story does not end here. It would be remiss if I overlook the outstanding legacy left behind by Winston’s late father, Walter W. Tambimuttu. He was a product of S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia during the time of the great Warden W.A. Stone. Judging by his athletic history given below it is safe to conclude that Walter Tambimuttu would most likely be a contender to be the most outstanding athlete of the 1930s in Ceylon. This honour belonged unreservedly to Ceylon’s Olympian Duncan White in the 1940s.

The achievements of Walter Tambimuttu are listed below:

  1. Member of the Ceylon team at the 1934 Western Asiatic Games in Delhi
  2. 1st in High Jump
  3. 3rd in Pole Vault
  • Member of the Ceylon team at the 1938 Empire Games in Sydney. Other members of the Ceylon team wereH.A. Perera, A.C. Dep, Duncan White, W.A. Henricus and P.C. de Niese. Manager was W.H.D. Perera.

Some of his other Achievements were:

  • At the Nationals, he won the Pole Vault in 1932, 1933, and 1934 with Ceylon Records in 1933 and 1934,
  • At the Nationals, he won the Long Jump with Ceylon Records in 1937 and 1938 and
  • At the Nationals, he won the Triple Jump in 1936 & 1937 with Ceylon Record in 1936

Walter Tambimuttu’s Long Jump record set in July 1938 stood for 18 years (one of the longest records on the books) when P. Don Victor broke the record in June 1956.

-END-

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SPC-100-YEARS-LOGO-1

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ST. PETER’S COLLEGE COLOMBO CELEBRATES ITS CENTENARY NEXT YEAR

Posted on 09 June 2021 by admin

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, Josephian-Peterite NEWS NETWORK (JPNN)

Schools are the lifeblood of any community! Education is the bedrock of our contentment as a society, as an economy and as a people. It has often been stated that our greatest resource is our people. We have nurtured that resource and enriched its potential by the professionalism, dedication, and generosity of generations of teachers in all levels of our educational system. The British colonial period lasted from 1796 to 1948 and shaped the development of education in Sri Lanka. But it was only after the British took over that formal primary and secondary education was actualized with the establishment of schools by British missionaries.

The Northern Province were the early beneficiaries of the hard work done by foreign missionaries in setting up schools in Ceylon. History tells us that Jaffna Central College (JCC) was the first school established in the island. It was founded in 1816 by Rev. James Lynch, the leader of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionaries who arrived in the country in June 1814 and journeyed to Jaffna two months later in August 1814. His mission in Jaffna was to establish English schools on a directive by the 3rd British Governor, Sir Robert Brownrigg. Union College in Tellippalai was founded in 1816. St. John’s College was established in 1823. Jaffna College in Vaddukoddai was established in 1823. Uduvil Girls’ College was established in 1824. Vembadi Girls’ High School was founded in 1834. Hartley College was founded in 1838. Holy Family Convent, Jaffna was founded in 1845.

A standard system of government schools was established by the British based on the recommendations of the Colebrooke-Cameron Commission in 1833. This is regarded as the beginning of the government’s schooling system in the island. It started with the establishment of the Royal College in Colombo (formerly the Colombo Academy) in 1835. St. Anthony’s College Kandy was founded in 1854, same year as St. Sebastian’s College Moratuwa. Other schools to be established in the 19th Century are St. Benedict’s College Kotahena in 1865, St. Joseph’s College Trincomalee in 1867, St. Anne’s College Kurunegala in 1867, Richmond College Galle in 1876.

Given this scenario, the write-up moves to the city where we have on record that St. Joseph’s College Colombo was founded in 1896 by a visionary group of French Missionaries led by Rev. Christophe-Etienne Bonjean. In 1914 Rev. Fr. Maurice James Le Goc, a French Missionary arrived in Sri Lanka. He was appointed to St Joseph’s College and was made the head of the school’s Science Department. In 1919 Fr. Le Goc was appointed the Rector of St. Joseph’s College. St. Joseph’s recently celebrated its Quasquicentennial or 125th Anniversary.

Fr. Le Goc envisioned an overflow of students and decided to set up a second educational institution in the south of the city (Colombo). This gave way to St. Joseph’s College South that was established in January 1922 on the land side of Galle Road, Bambalapitiya bordering the Wellawatta canal. The inauguration took place on Wednesday 18 January 1922 as 204 students were admitted on that day and by the end of the year the number had risen to 268. Fr. Le Goc overlooked the administration of the school until 1927. This school was re-branded and named St. Peter’s College in 1927. The name change was documented on April 8, 1927, vide Gazette Notification No.7575. Rev. Fr. D.J. Nicholas Perera was appointed the first Rector of the newly established school in 1927, a role he performed with distinction until 1943 for 16 years.

This writer joined St. Peter’s College thirty-four years later in 1956, in the 6th Standard that was called Prelim A. My first school was St. Anne’s College Kurunegala from Kindergarten to 5th Standard in the Primary School. The transition from my hometown to Colombo was smooth and I was housed at my aunt’s at Bambalapitiya Flats. Rev. Fr. Arthur Fernando was appointed the 3rd Rector of the school having taken over from Rev. Fr. Basil Wiratunga (1943-1956). Mr. Primson Jayasekara, a calm and collected individual was my class master. He had two celebrated musical sons – Perrin & Gerrinus who performed as the famous “Jay Brothers”.  The duo, quite popular at the time had passed out as doctors from the Colombo Medical College. Sunil Liyanage from Negombo, Chandra Fernando from Matara and Ranjit Wijesinghe from Galle joined me from outstation towns who joined St. Peter’s in 1956.

St. Peter’s College, Colombo, is one of the largest Catholic schools in the country will celebrate 100 years on January 18, 2022. It will mark an important milestone in the College calendar, as the boys in blue, white and gold cherish and celebrate the completion of the century of their alma mater. Today the College has proven itself to become one of the largest Catholic schools in the country with almost 4,500 students on roll while seven priests, 215 teachers and 100 clerical and support staff serve the College. Producing a fully-fledged individual has always been the vision and mission of the College, reiterated the current Rector – Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo while stressing, “Every Peterite has to strive to become a versatile person and upon leaving College be able to excel in any field he chooses to pursue.”

The Motto of the school is Virtus Et Veritas (Latin). The sister school is Holy Family Convent. St. Peter’s College is centrally located on the landside of Galle Road. Commuting to the school is easy by bus or train. The cross section of students who walk through the hallowed hallways of the school comes from Bambalapitiya, Kollupitiya, Thimbirigasyaya, Nugegoda, Kirillapona, Pamankada, Wellawatta, Dehiwala and Mt. Lavinia. Neighbouring schools’ in Bambalapitiya are St. Paul’s Milagiriya, Holy Family Convent, Visakha Vidyalaya, and Hindu College Colombo. To the south in Wellawatta, there are two girls’ schools – St. Clare’s College and St. Lawrence’s Convent.

The ninety-nine-year period of St. Peters’ College, beginning 1922, could conveniently be divided into six distinct eras. Firstly, The beginnings dominated by Very Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc; Secondly the era of the First Rector, Very Rev. Fr. D. J. Nicholas Perera (1922 to 1943) who laid a solid foundation, a period which saw St. Peter’s making a big impact on the local educational scene in double quick time; Thirdly, the aftermath of World War II and the Rectorship of Very Rev. Fr. Basil A. Wiratunga O.M.I. from 1943 to 1955; Fourthly, an era spanning 21 years which take in the Rectorships of five Rectors all of whom had to grapple with financial constraints brought about by the daring and bold decision not to be vested with the State, but to function as a ‘Non fee levying private school’ – Rev. Fr. Arthur Nicholas Fernando (1956 to 1963), Rev. Fr. Mervyn Weerakkody (1963 to 1971), Rev. Fr. Theodore E. Peiris O.M.I. (1971 to 1975), Rev. Fr. Claver Perera (1975 to 1976), and Rev. Fr. Francis Madiwela (1976 to 1977); Fifthly, the enlightening and brilliant Rectorship of Rev. Fr. Joe E. Wickramasinghe (1978 to 1994) an era which could well be called ‘The Renaissance in Peterite History’; this was followed by the eleven year old Rectorship of Rev. Fr. Felician Perera (1994-2005) on whose young shoulders fell the responsibility of guiding St. Peter’s into the early 21st Century, bringing us up to the 21st Century – the era of Fr. Travis Gabriel (2005-2014), the 10th Rector of St. Peter’s College. Then came the builder of the century and the 11th Rector, Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin (2014-2019). His tenure in office was marked with infrastructure development projects. This was the beginning of a chain of buildings and innovations to St. Peter’s College. As he started the office renovations, he dreamt of having a suitable hall that could accommodate three hundred people. Fr. Trevor got the architects and engineers for a meeting and changed the whole foundation and came up with a plan for a three-storied building, finding space for a computer section on the first floor.

Rev. Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo, A proud old boy of St. Peter’s College, has been appointed as the 12th Rector of St. Peter’s College. He served earlier as the Principal of the Primary School at St. Peter’s and later as the Rector of St. Jude’s College Negombo.  Under his guidance our alma mater will reach new heights.

The quality of education one receives at. St. Peter’s College is exceptional. For science students the laboratories are well equipped. The school hires first-class teachers’ who impart their knowledge to the students with ease and clarity. Sports has always been its forte going back in time to the early 30s when the cricket, rugby football and athletic teams excelled at inter-school championships. Clive Inman is perhaps the most decorated cricketer produced by the school. His innings of 204 (retired hurt) at the Josephian-Peterite big match in 1954 remains the highest individual score of the 86-year-old history of the series that began in 1933. Inman represented All-Ceylon in cricket and emigrated to England where he played for Leicestershire County Cricket Club, one of the first-class clubs in the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. Rohan Buultjens (St. Peter’s) remains the only cricketer in the series to score two centuries in the big match in 1979.

Other notable cricketers who earned their national caps are Dr. H.I.K. Fernando, P.A.T. Kelly, Tony Opatha, David Heyn, Rohan Buultjens, Roy Dias, Rumesh Ratnayake, Vinothen John, Amal Silva, Russel Arnold, Kaushal Lokuarachci, Malinda Warnapura, and Angelo Perera. Santhush Gunathilake, 2018 Peterite skipper is part of the current squad and is likely to represent Sri Lanka shortly. Gunathilake holds the record for the highest score by a Peterite ever when he scored 252 runs against Ananda College in 2019. Gunathilaka’s awesome score of 252 runs surpassed the previous record held by Angelo Perera – 239-runs in 2009 against Nalanda College. The other double-century scores on record for the Peterites are that of 1963 skipper Tyrone Le Mercier’s unbeaten 235 against St. Anthony’s College Kandy in 1962.

St. Peter’s also excelled in Rugby Football, Athletics, Basketball besides cricket. Due to lack of space, details of these sports will be covered in a sequel to this write-up. All said and done, this writer is proud to have had his high-school education at St. Peter’s College.  A great school that prepares you well for your adult life.

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2021 Cricket Schedule - St. Peter's College

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2021 Cricket Schedule – St. Peter’s College

Posted on 11 March 2021 by admin

COURTESY: SUJITH SILVA – QUADRANGLE

Quadrangle is at St Peter’s College, Colombo.

St. Peter’s College will commence their 1st XI Cricket season this weekend with their traditional Fixtures against St. Sebastian’s College.

Wishing all the best to Nipunaka Fonseka and his team! Here’s your guide to follow Peterite Cricket in 2021.

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St. Joseph's College Colombo 125th Anniversary

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St. Joseph’s College Colombo 125th Anniversary

Posted on 07 March 2021 by admin

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE COLOMBO (1896-2021)
‘FRUITS OF VIRTUE AND KNOWLEDGE’

St. Joseph’s College Colombo has reached a milestone as it celebrates its Quasquicentennial or 125th Anniversary on 2nd March 2021. St. Joseph’s College Colombo was founded as a seat of learning on 2nd March 1896.On the 12th December 1894 the foundation stone was laid by the papal delegate for Asia Rev. Msgr. Zalesbbi. On the 2nd March 1896, St. Joseph’s College Colombo was declared open with 211 students in the school proper and 96 students in the preparatory school with Very Rev. Fr. Charles Collin as the First Rector.The Josephian-Peterite NEWS NETWORK (JPNN) wishes a Happy Anniversary to Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, Rector, his dedicated teaching staff and all students who walked through the hallowed hallways of St. Joseph’s College Colombo.

St. Joseph’s College Colombo is celebrating a milestone. A seat of learning since 1896, the renowned educational institution at Darley Road, Colombo 10, will be 125 years on 02 March 2021.

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A Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc....

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A Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc….

Posted on 02 March 2021 by admin

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS FORTHCOMING FOR BOTH SCHOOLS IN 2021 AND 2022:
  • SJC founded in 1896 celebrates its Quasquicentennial or 125th Anniversary in 2021 – history was made when a visionary group of French Missionaries led by Rev. Christophe-Etienne Bonjean established St. Joseph’s College Colombo – a proudly Roman Catholic educational institution in 1896.
  • SPC founded in 1922 celebrates its Centenary or 100th Anniversary in 2022 – St. Peter’s College was established in 1922. Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc was Rector, St. Joseph’s College when he scouted for land to build a second educational institution in Colombo South which he named St. Joseph’s College South. This school was re-branded and named St. Peter’s College in 1927. The name change was documented on April 8, 1927, vide Gazette Notification No.7575.

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SJC & SPC CRICKET CAPTAINS - 2021

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SJC & SPC CRICKET CAPTAINS – 2021

Posted on 26 February 2021 by admin

PHOTO CREDIT: JPNN
Good News – Big Match dates
May 15, 2021 – Josephian-Peterite Limited Overs Encounter – SSC Grounds
May 28th & 29th, 2021 – Josephian-Peterite 87th Encounter (“Battle of the Saints”) – SSC Grounds

CRICKET CAPTAINS APPOINTED FOR 2021

St. Peter’s College

We have learned that Nipunaka Fonseka, has been appointed captain of the Peterite cricket team for the 2021 season. He was vice captain for the two previous seasons (2018/19 and 2019/20).We offer Nipunaka our heartiest Congratulations and our best wishes to him and the team.Given the COVID-19 pandemic, unlike in the past the cricket season will not straddle two years but will be for the year 2021 and even the format of the game is rumoured to be changed for reasons of health. Whether matches will be played sans spectators is also a question. Let’s hope for the best and may the boys enjoy the cricket.

St. Joseph’s College

Dunith Wellalage of St. Joseph’s College Colombo came up with an excellent all-round performance in the Under-19 Division One inter School Cricket (Two day) tournament 2019/20 season conducted by Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association. He has been appointed Captain of the SJC Cricket XI for 2021 season.

Left hand middle order batsman Dunith Wellalage scored 726 runs with a century and five half centuries. His best batting performance was 196 runs against Isipathana College Colombo. He maintained a 45.38 average in the season. He made half centuries against St. Aloysius Galle (70), Wesley Colombo (72*), Trinity Kandy (51), Ananda Colombo (70) and St. Anne’s Kurunegala (52).

Left arm leg-spinner Dunith captured 51 wickets with 3 five wicket hauls and one ten wicket haul in the season of 2019/20. His best bowling performance in an innings was 7 for 53 runs against St. Anthony’s College Katugastota. His best bowling performance in a match was 11 for 72 against the same team.He claimed 5 wicket hauls against Zahira Colombo (5/54), Wesley Colombo (5/45) and St. Anthony’s Katugastota (7/53). His best all-round performance was against Isipathana College Colombo. He scored 196 runs and took 5 wickets for 64 in the match.

Dunith Nethmika Wellalage was born on January 9 2003. He attended St. Sebastian’s College Moartuwa the well known Catholic school in Moratuwa. He commenced his school cricket career at Cricket academy of St. Sebastian’s College Moratuwa in 2012 under first coach Sanjeewa Silva at the age of nine years at the request of his father. Dunith represented the school under 13 ‘C’ team in 2013 under coach Mohan Liyanage. He was promoted to the under 13 ‘A’ team in the next year. He represented the under 13 ‘A’ team under the guidance of Junior head coach Rashan Pieris. Dunith was a member of the Champion team in 2014. He claimed 57 wickets and helped them to win the championship. He was adjudged the best bowler of the tournament, best all-rounder of the tournament and man of the final.

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SPC & SJC - Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc.

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SPC & SJC – Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc.

Posted on 28 December 2020 by admin


A Rich History in Education, Sports, Discipline, etc….

Anniversary celebrations forthcoming for both schools in 2021 and 2022:

  • SJC founded in 1896 celebrates its quasquicentennial or 125th Anniversary in 2021

  • SPC founded in 1922 celebrates its centenary or 100th anniversary in 2022.

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EARLY CRICKET HISTORY - ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE COLOMBO

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EARLY CRICKET HISTORY – ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE COLOMBO

Posted on 21 December 2020 by admin

CRICKET HISTORY AT ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, JPNN

Cricket was introduced to Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) in the first quarter of the 19th century, following colonization of the island by the British in 1796. The legend of Cricket in the island nation of Ceylon is fascinating. The British planted wickets and introduced the game in every nook and corner they went in the island.

The first cricket club formed was the Colombo Cricket Club, which was founded in 1832. Nonetheless, unlike its progress in England, cricket remained more an exception than the rule and it was not until about three decades later that the game formally took root in Ceylon.

Interestingly, in 1900, six ball overs were introduced in place of the previous five ball version. The earliest known match was recorded in 1832 and the earliest first-class one in 1926. The national team has played Test cricket from 1982. The evolution of the game has been phenomenal in that Sri Lanka won the coveted World Cup in the shorter format of 50-over game in 1996. Sri Lanka beat England, Australia and neighbouring India to become undisputed champions of the cricket world in One-day Internationals (ODI) format. A tremendous achievement.

Against this backdrop, history was made when a visionary group of French Missionaries led by Rev. Christophe-Etienne Bonjean established St. Joseph's College Colombo – a proudly Roman Catholic educational institution in 1896. It is equally fascinating that two years later St. Joseph's College had structured and coached a cricket team of 11 players who made their foray into school cricket by playing its inaugural match against Royal College in June 1898. Royal College were seasoned veterans at the time having had a cricket team since 1838.

Henry A. de Silva earned the right to be the first Captain of St. Joseph's College Cricket team. What a monumental honour for this gentleman who captained the Joes for the first two years in 1898 and 1899.

The same season in 1898, the Josephians played against St. Benedict's College, Kotahena (Founded in 1865). The Bens' started cricket in the 1890s and and played their first ever Cricket match against Wesley College. The school by the seas – S. Thomas' College Mt Lavinia started cricket in 1879. Trinity College Kandy was the other school that had a cricket team in 1893.

With the advent of the 19th Century, St. Joseph's College had started cricket seriously and played against St. Anthony's College Kandy, Kingswood College Kandy, Ananda College, Wesley College, Zahira College and Richmond College Galle.

Period of 1900-1932

After Henry A. de Silva, the Josephians were captained by William Fernando, Andrew de Silva, Peter Fernando, Victor Mendis, Tiny de Silva, Pius Fernando, Bertie Kelaart, J. Abeywickreme, L.R. Jayamanne, W.P. Ranasinghe, O.A. Wright, John Perera, JP de Fonseka, V. de Alwis, Bernard Jayasuriya, Albert Peiris, Leonard Jayawardena, Edwin Silva, Sam T. Abeysekara, Henry Halahackone, Peter Halahackone, William Abeysekara, Bill Devanayagam, John Pulle, Robert Fernando during the period 1900-1932.

"Battle of the Saints" in 1933

1933 was a banner year for cricket at St. Joseph's College Colombo. The "Battle of the Saints" a.k.a. Josephian-Peterite Cricket Series made its entry into school cricket annals. The inaugural "Big Match" was played at the picturesque St. Peter's College grounds at Bambalapitiya on February 23rd & 24th. Robert Fernando had the honour of leading the Josephians while George Jayaweera led the Peterite team. The Josephians blazed their way to an innings win to register 1-0 in the new series.

SJC – 225 All Out (Robert Fernando, 31, D. Moreira, 26, KC Pathmanathan, 31, T. Le Mercier, 32, Claude Wijesinghe, 10, Peter Peries, 36, H. Swaris, 19, SJC Cruze, 18) – Bowling: Cyril Dias 9 wickets for 64 runs off 19 overs.

SPC – 50 All Out (K. de Silva 17): Bowling: Claude Wijesinghe 4/8; P. Peiris 2/16 and 70 All Out (K. de Silva, 15, D. Pereira, 11, P.S. Anthoniz, 11) – Bowling: D. Moreira 3/20; P. Peiris 3/17; Calude Wijesinghe 2/11; KC Pathmanathan 2/4

Result: St. Joseph's College won by an innings and 105 runs

Man of the Match: Cyril Dias (SPC) for his awesome spin and googly bowling capturing 9 Josephian wickets for 64 runs.

TEAMS

  • St. Joseph's College – Robert Fernando (Capt), Douglas Moreira, KC Pathmanathan, T. Le Mercier, Claude Wijesinghe, V. Albert, JP Maloney, Peter Peiris, H. Swaris, WLA Karunaratne, SJC Cruze.
  • St. Peter's College – Kenneth de Silva, D. Pereira, E. Bartholomeusz, P.S. Anthoniz, G. Walles, George Jayaweera (Capt), J. Abeysekara, Shirley Illesinghe, T. Herat, Cyril Dias, W. Pietersz.

TRIVIA – 1933 Inaugural "Battle of the Saints"

  • Tommy Le Mercier who played for St. Joseph's College is the father of Tyrone Le Mercier who captained St. Peter's College in 1963 and Desmond Le Mercier who played for SPC in 1963/64;

  • Douglas Moreira who played for SJC is the father of Christopher Moreira who captained SJC in1965;

  • George Jayaweera, captain of St. Peter's College had two sons play for St. Peter's College – Tissa Jayaweera & Shanthi Jayaweera and one son Ruwan Jayaweera who captained SPC in 1974;

  • Claude Wijesinghe who played for SJC is the granduncle of Brian Obeyesekere who captained SJC in 1969;

P.S. Claude Wijesinghe is the writer's granduncle too. My paternal grandmother's brother.

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Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin - Tribute to a beloved rector

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Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin – Tribute to a beloved rector

Posted on 08 December 2020 by admin

Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin

Tribute to a beloved rector

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – Daily News.

Rev. Fr. Trevor Gerald Martin was appointed to St. Peter’s College five years ago. I knew him at All Saints Church as an Assistant Parish Priest. From there, he was appointed Parish Priest of Koralawella, Moratuwa. He later joined the staff of St. Joseph’s College, where I was the Vice-Rector.

I noticed in him the characteristics of a good administrator as he was looking after the Middle School. He came and asked me how to go about the discipline of the students and I advised him to punish one boy at the beginning of the year; that it would keep the rest of the boys well-disciplined right through the year. Whatever way we punish, we should do it out of love for the students.

Start of his career

I was transferred from St. Joseph’s College and appointed Rector of the Aquinas College of Higher Studies in Colombo 8, where I spent seventeen long years. Then again, Rev. Fr. Trevor G. Martin came for further studies to Aquinas College and completed his studies to obtain a B.A. degree from the Peradeniya University. Thereafter, I suggested him to get permission for Higher Studies in London from the then Archbishop and we worked out the process. He was successful in gaining admission to the University of London, where he did a Master’s Degree in Education.On completion of his studies in London, he returned to the island and was appointed Rector of St. Loyola College, Negombo. Over there, he proved himself to be a progressive Educationist and a great builder by raising the standards of studies and putting up the necessary infrastructure for a conducive environment for the integral formation and education of students.

I would say that he mobilised all his friends at St. Joseph’s College to lend him a hand to put up several impressive buildings and a well-equipped swimming pool. After fourteen years of yeoman service, he was transferred to St. Peter’s College. At Loyola College, he could be considered as a catalyst of wealth distribution to the periphery.

At St. Peter’s College

Before his arrival at St. Peter’s College, his impressive image and profile as a strict disciplinarian and administrator had already reached St. Peter’s College. The incoming Rector was the subject of discussion mostly among the teachers. From day one, he was seen in front of the chapel to observe the flow of students and teachers to school in the morning.

This made the students and the teachers to be punctual. He went round the classes and barge in wherever there was no teacher. This conveyed the idea that the present rector was more a moving outgoing Rector than an office rector. His observations, as he went around, fired him with a few ideas as to the improvement of the infrastructure of the college.Rev. Fr. Trevor started by giving a facelift to his office, as well as those of the priests and the clerks. This was the beginning of a chain of buildings and innovations to St. Peter’s College. As he started the office renovations, he dreamt of having a suitable hall that could accommodate three hundred people. So he got the architects and engineers for a meeting and changed the whole foundation and came up with a plan for a three-storeyed building, finding space for a computer section in the first floor.

He realised his dream while working day and night. We could see him in the night, seated on a chair in the site and sleeping and probably dreaming of the next building. Before this building came up, all staff meetings and parents’ meetings were held in the Chapel. A hall of this nature was essential for St. Peter’s College. The Computer Section, too, needed modernisation with Interactive Smart Boards. Accordingly, with the support of the Old Boys, he brought about an improvement so as to keep in line with modern day demands.

Renovation projects

The second project was the refurbishing and modernisation the laboratories. The chemicals and apparatus were old and irrelevant and had to be discarded. This project was mostly funded by an Old Boy in the UK and a past batch of Old Boys in Sri Lanka. The stock of chemicals and apparatus were shipped by one of our loyal old Boys, Themiya de Mel, in whose presence the labs were opened.

The third project was the establishment of a fully-equipped medical centre by dismantling the then existing medical center and relocating it in a more conducive and convenient place. During these projects; there were, I would say; other secondary projects that were going on. The refurbishing of the male and female staff rooms, as well as the provision of new cupboards and furniture, were also carried out, expressing the Rector’s concern for the teachers. He installed air-conditioners for all the staff rooms, both in the College section and the Primary section.The Rector planned out a pavilion project. He also gave two other priests to plan out another chapel. We had with us these two plans and it was a question of which should be the first. After discussing with the priests and some Old Boys, a decision was made to go ahead with the pavilion. It was a massive project and it was only a man like Rev. Fr. Trevor who could take up the challenge. He spent days and nights at the site, encouraging the workers, engineers, and architects to make sure that it would be ready for the opening by Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

The other project was the Chapel Project; to put up a spacious Chapel at the centre of the buildings where the portico exists. Last week, when I was having a chat with the Rev. Fr., he told me that if he had one more year, he would have seen to the completion of that project, too. He had been dreaming as to how he could make St. Peter’s College a unique Institution. The latest dream was to have a solar power system so that we could cut down the electricity bill.

In spite of all the building activities, Rev. Fr. Trevor focused on providing an integral education to the students. Thus, we had regular meetings to plan out the academic training of students. Sometimes, he fished for good teachers elsewhere and had the courage to replace some teachers who were inefficient. He followed up the teachers to see how ‘many real good class hours a teacher was putting in so as to cover the syllabus. He did not fail to pull up teachers who were not teaching properly.

Rev. Fr. Trevor and sports

Rev. Fr. Trevor often talks about him playing hockey and some cricket at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena. He also enhanced his sportsmanship by being the Prefect of Games at St. Joseph’s College. All these experiences contributed to his commitment and dedication to sports at St. Peter’s College. He would encourage the coaches and the students to do their best in sports. He had committees appointed to oversee the progress of each sport and never failed to take necessary action when targets were not attained. He never missed any matches of any sport. He was a lover of sports and wanted to see the college doing well in every sport. Under his leadership, the college achieved great heights in almost every sport. Peterites should appreciate the encouragement and motivation that he gave.

When Rev. Fr. Trevor is bitten by a project bug, he never fails to rest until he has turned every stone to realise that project. Thus, he would also reach out to the Old Boys for help and motivate the parents to lend a hand, whatever way possible to realise his dream. His PR is such that many Old Boys would respond positively to his requests. He also made it a point to reach out to the Old Boy Peterite Unions across the globe to muster their support, which, I think, no other Rector has done in this manner.

Rev. Fr. Trevor: a priest and friend

Whatever we do, if we fail to project our priestly image, we are failures. As priests, we are not without shortcomings. Jesus himself knew our weak human nature and that is why he said that we should be ready to forgive our brothers who do wrong to us; not only seven times, but seventy times seven. We are also called upon to wipe the feet of our subjects and be of humble service to them. To do all these, it is important for us to be animated and encouraged by the life of Christ. Christ is the vine and we are the branches. So, if we are to produce results according to the mind of Christ, we have to be united with him.

Rev. Fr. Trevor believed in this and he often expressed his gratitude to God and Mother Mary in all the assemblies and tried to inculcate this kind of spiritual attitude even among the students. For him, the Eucharist was quite central to his life and it was what pushed him to dedicate himself to the service of St. Peter’s College.I noticed Rev. Fr. Trevor as a friend in need and a friend indeed. During my acquaintance with him, I found him to be always obliging and generous. For the fiftieth jubilee of my priestly ordination, he showed great concern to do it in an impressive manner and, going out of his way, he made it a special occasion for me. But it was not only for me; all the birthdays of priests in the community were celebrated by getting other priests to join the celebrations. In various ways, he tried to build a happy community and to see to the comfort and convenience of the priests.

Let me express our deepest gratitude for what you have been to the Priestly Community. I thank God for the gift of Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin to St. Peter’s College and the church. Our wish for him is that wherever God places him, let him always be true to his priesthood, and to the service of God’s people.

Ad Multos Annos in an ambience of Virtus et Veritas.

Rev. Dr. W.D.G. Chrispin Leo
Emeritus Rector,
Aquinas College of Higher Studies

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