Wesley College Sports Club – Celebrating 80 years


By M.H.Yakeem

The Wesley College Sports Club was started 80 years ago when the World War 11 was in full blast. A few of the ardent Old Boys got together and formed the Sports Club particularly to continue the great achievements of Athletes, Hockey players, and Cricketers.

We must remember some of the outstanding athletes who excelled for Sri Lanka. M. Mathias was one outstanding athlete who took part in the 100m and 200m at the Common Wealth Games in Australia. He was a Public Schools winner who brought lot of honour to Wesley running on grass tracks and poor quality spikes. M. Ahamed still holds the One Mile record for over 70 years. In the early 60’s, J. Winslow brought a lot of credit winning the Pole Vault event at the Public schools and at National level. His achievement was outstanding as he used a bamboo pole. We must admire Darrel Maye of Wilkin House winning the 1 mile, followed by Akmeemana of Hillard House. One other outstanding performers were Conrad Fernando who won the Half Mile at the Public Schools and Lal Fernando who won the Public Schools event. One of natural athletes who did extremely well to win in the 100m, 200m, and Long Jump was Reginald Bartholomeus. He captained the Sri Lanka Rugby team and captained the CR&FC team to lead it become champions. He also played Hockey and Cricket for Wesley. Both Regi and Shanti represented Ace Athletic Clubs visits to Bangalore, India. Shanti McLelland holds the 800m record and won the Mile event three times. At National Level Dr. Shanti McLelland won the Pentathlon and was Runner-up in the Decathlon events.

In the field of Hockey, A. Mylwaganam the star full back who played for Ceylon and captained the national team has to be remembered as an outstanding player. He was a National hockey umpire. T.M.N Mahamooth and Walter Jayasuriya spent a lot of time developing hockey in Sri Lanka. They traveled to India to learn and form the Associations in Sri Lanka. Walter managed the first Sri Lankan team to play in Malaysia, He was the king of Sri Lankan hockey. He took many Sri Lankan and Colombo hockey teams abroad and later made sure four International Umpires were appointed. Walter and Rohan Amarasinghe were two of them. Another Wesley hockey player who promoted the game was Mervyn Peiris who was President of the Colombo Hockey Association. D. S. Wijemanne played for the Old Wesleyites team and always helped and supported the hockey team

Dr. Lou Adihetty was selected to play for Sri Lanka at the Asian games 1962. Lou was an outstanding cricketer who captained the school team. He brought the Red Sox hockey team form Switzerland many times to play against the Wesley team. Rajah Jayasuriya, Rohan Amarasinghe, and Shanti McLelland was in the Asian games pool 1974. An outstanding goalie who gave up keeping goals for hockey to play Rugby was Bashudeen Musafer. He captained the CR&FC team and was a National player. He represented in soccer and cricket. Bill Deutrom has to be given credit for being selected to represent the Schools team as a goalie. He too played Rugby and Cricket for Wesley. C. T. Rodrigo was awarded a certificate for his outstanding performance at the National level. He took 9 wickets for 8 runs which is a record. He must be remembered for winning the National Championship as a Colombo H.A. player at Matale in 1973. Rajah Jayasuriya must be given lot of credit for helping young Wesleyites to play hockey and develop the hockey team for Wesley. His sister Nimal Jayasuriya was a Wesleyite and she excelled at the Women’s Association. Rajah’s son captained the many teams and was a outstanding goalie. The Sports Club was almost without activity in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Then Dr. Shanti McLelland with the support of Rohan Amarasinghe formed the Old Wesleyites Hockey Team. Tuan Camball assisted team and acted as the Chairman of the team. Mr. L. A. Fernando was a great supporter of the team and acted as the coach. His son Ravi Fernando also played for the team. This team won the Pioneer Shield and Bacon cup trophies. The team has to be remembered as they were unbeaten at the Colombo tournaments. Goalies were Guzzi Musafer who captained the school’s tam, M. P. Edema, M. C. A Cader, and A.L. George who represented Sri Lanka and was an Asian games player. Full Backs were outstanding player Rohan Amarasinghe who played for Sri Lanka and was elected as an International umpire. He had the privilege of umpiring the International match between Pakistan and India in Lahore. At the Asian Championships Later he was elected to be the Chairman of the National Umpires Committee.

Five players were selected to the National team. The other players were of the Old Wesleyites team were, Sridharan and Hariharan Jeganathan who represented the National team. Jayalal Jaysekara, Sandy Musafer, Hafeesz Musafer, Zubair Hassen, Wing Commander Kingsley Samaratunga, Jayantha and Parakrama Wijemanna, Neil and Christopher Harvie, Buster Harvie, Priyantha Perera, Adrian and Rohan Wickramaratne, Sunil Rodrigo, Claude de Silva, Kingston de Silva, Senaka Amaratunga, Regi Bartholomeus, A. George, and Donald de Silva. Donald was a great National Umpire and wonderful team mate. Later Rohan Amarasinghe represented the Mercantile team and the National team. Dr. Shanti McLelland captained the Colombo Hockey Association team to win the National Championships with an outstanding performance. He also played as a Sri Lankan player to win the Corera Cup with India. Shanti trained the Mercantile team to win the championships when their first team refused to represent at the Nationals. Shanti McLelland with Mr. A. Suppiah who was the master-in-charge of hockey promoted the Colombo Hockey team.

Four national level outstanding players did not play for the Old Wesleyites. They were, Clifford Rodrigo, M. T. Swangsa, Sarath Wickramaratne, and Buster Harvie. However, they all represented the country.

Cricket – Wesley had very good players. Darrel Maye was outstanding when he bowled the favourites Royal out to be selected the best national team under L.C.R WIjesinghe. The following year Milroy Muthuvelu kept the record to be an unbeaten team. Navin de Silva brought a lot of credit when he was selected to captain the national schools team to England. Furthermore, Amaresh Rajaratnam was selected as the Cricketer of the year with his captaincy of the champion team. Mahendra Dissanayake has to be celebrated as one of the outstanding players with his record centuries and his captaincy of an unbeaten team. Russel Harmer represented Sri Lanka along with three others. They were Sridharan Jeganathan, xxx and xxx.

Many national players highlighted the Badminton team’s performances. They were P. S. Rodrigo, Rev. Wijessinhe, Prasan Wijesinghe, Ajith Wijesinge, xxxx, xxxx, Rajaratnam brothers, Shan. Another sport which brought fame to Old Wesleyites Sports Club were. S. Chang captain of the YMBA Judo team. The YMCA team had Asoka Jayawardane as a black belt national champion. Asoka was also Wesley rugby captain. Also, Cassim Cader another Wesley Rugby, Athletics and hockey player won the national black belt championships.  Other Old Wesleyites who were members of the team: Ranjith McLelland, Agfar Mohideen, Sextus Taylor, S. Basnayake, and Vijith Kuruppu, Vijith was a Queen Scout and an excellent swimmer.

Two great swimmers brought fame to the Old Wesley Sports Club. They were the Vandenreizen brothers. Vandenreizen is now the master-in-charge of swimming and senior coach. Swimming was an active part of the Sports club, but not now. Boxing was a sport that Wesley participated in but gave up as it was considered dangerous. Mr. Nissanka was the master-in-charge. Volley Ball and Tennis were two games Old Wesley Sports Club stopped playing in the 60’s. Wrestling was represented for a short time. Kulasuriya was one who is remembered. But, now Table Tennis continues with lot of interest.

We have to remember those who kept the club going in the 60’s and 70’s with great difficulty and very little support. Prefect of Games Mr. Edmund Dissanayake was a strong promoter making sure the members met at least once a month. The other who attended without fail were Frank Samaraweera, J.L.W. Karunatillake, Cucka Fernando, Sam Silva, D. S. Wijemanne, Nihal wijetunga, Garrath Jayawardana, M. Muthuwelu, Sarath Wickramaratne, R.M & Rex de Silva, L.R. Goonatillake, Shelton Peiris, Mervyn Peiris, T.M. N. Mahamooth, Walter Jayasuriya, Lakshman Samaraweera, Afgar Mohideen, Koddituwakku brothers, Kenneth de Silva, Diyanesh Rajaratnam, Shanti McLelland, and a few others.

We must not forget to thank the President of the Methodist Church, Rev. W. P. Ebenezer Joseph for his gracious act to allow the Sports Club to kept open, despite the claims that it should be closed by a few who did not support its activities. This was done at the request of the Principal of Wesley College an Old Boy, Dr. Shanti McLelland.

Last but least, we have to thank the current President of the Old Wesleyites Sports Club, Maithri Withanage for his contribution to the club and Wesley. He did a lot of work to collect money for the luxury bus Wesley owns now. He organized events for organizations during Christmas. We wish the Old Wesleyites Sports Club as it celebrates 80 years of renewed energy and enthusiasm. Long live OWSC.

Dr. Shanti McLelland (1953-1968),Former Principal Wesley College 2009-2013.Compiled 28th October 2021