By Harsha Amarasinghe
A majority of the ‘A’ Division clubs have been left fuming following a bizarre selection for individual awards of the Inter-Club 7’s concluded at the Race Course on Sunday.
CH and FC who finished fourth and second in the two legs, emerged as the overall champions, but CR and FC who only participated in the second leg bagged two of the most significant individual awards as number eight Omalka Gunarathne was named ‘Dialog Impact Player of the Tournament’ while club captain Kavindu Perera was handed the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award.
The Red shirts went on to claim the second leg, having opted to pull out of the first leg, and the individual awards were supposed to have been given based on the performance of both the legs.
The Dailymirror learns that Tanesh Dias, Rugby Secretary, CH and FC and Dhammika Medagedara, Team Manager, CH and FC, made verbal complaints over this ‘unfair’ selection to Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) only to see them passing the ball.
“We are very upset as a club that none of our players were given any individual award despite being champions and playing some attractive rugby. We would like to congratulate CR and FC on winning the second leg, and two of their players for winning the awards. We have no problem with them, but we don’t understand the criteria used to select these individual award winners. We contacted SLR and he says the selection of award winners was carried out by the national selectors,” the CH management told the Dailymirror.
The Dailymirror can confirm that Michael Jayasekara, Chairman, National Selection Committee is out of the country and hence was not involved in the matter.
CH and FC scrum-half Sudam Parinda lit up the tournament with some dazzling tries while his Sri Lanka teammate Naveen Henakankanamge on his first club season scored 16 tries over the two legs for the Maitland Crescent Club.
“We sent two teams to the tournament and have spent millions on our players because we believe in order to develop the country’s rugby we have to have tournaments like this and players must take part in them. So after all that to be treated like this, is very disappointing,” CH expressed their disappointment.
Meanwhile, one of the top officials of SLR questioned as to ‘why CH were not able to win a single leg if their players were that good,’ when contacted by the Dailymirror.
However, if it was about winning a certain leg, then only god will know why not a single Kandy player was handed an individual award despite truly dominating the first leg. Danushka Ranjan and Danush Dayan in particular had a phenomenal first leg.
The Kandy management when contacted by the Dailymirror alaughed off the selections while confirming that none of their players were given awards.
While certain winning teams were invited to the stage to receive their medals, few other teams were asked to only send the captain to the stage to collect a bag of medals.
“That was disrespectful towards the players. May be they have not won the cup, but show some respect, they won something and why not invite all the players and collect them,” a source close to the Navy Sports Club claimed.