By: M. Shamil Amit
All arrangements have been finalized to conduct the annual Col. Henry Olcott Steele Olcott Memorial cricket tournament contested by eight of the leading Buddhists Schools in the island from December 8 to 10 at the Asgiriya Stadium.
This is the 22nd in the series conducted by the Col. Henry Steele Olcott Sports Foundation which is being hosted by the Dharmaraja College Cricket Foundation with eight teams established by Col. Henry Olcott namely Ananda College, Nalanda College, Mahinda College Galle, Dharmapala MV Pannipitiya, Maliyadeva College Kurunegala, Dharmasoka MV Ambalangoda, Rahula College Matara and host Dharmaraja College.
Three of the leading companies in Sri Lanka namely Fondre Fat Spread by Pyramid Wilmar Pvt, Nippon Paint Sri Lanka and JN Interiors Pvt Ltd have come forward to support as the sponsors of the tournament.
The tournament in the past have seen most of the top notch national players and first class players and this time too with the eight teams having confirmed their participation, the organizers are expecting former national players in the likes of Arjuna Ranatunga, Thilina Kandamby, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara and Sanjeewa Ranatunga of Ananda, Upul Chandana of Mahinda, Ranjith Madurasinghe and Jeewantha Kulatunga of Maliyadeva, Pramodaya Wickramasinghe of Rahula to be in the fray who all have played the game at the highest level at school, domestic and international levels.
The tournament is played in two segments for present boys and past old boys of the eight schools. The schools tournament will be a six a side tournament which will be played on day one including the final while the old boys segment will be a eight over tournament. The semi finals and final of this tournament will be played on the third day.
The tournament is conducted in honour of Col. Henry Steele Olcott, the founder of the eight Buddhist educational institutions began with the first being played in the year 1999 hosted by Nalanda and pioneered by Sri Lanka’s first Test captain the late Bandula Warnapura.
From the 21 editions played so far Mahinda Galle leads the winning tally of having won the title on seven occasions with Dharmasoka MV Ambalangoda winning five who also were joint champions three times, Ananda and Maliyadeva Kurunegala three times, Dharmapala MV Pannipitiya two while Dharmaraja and Nalanda have won one each.
Last year the tournament hosted by Rahula Matara at Matara saw Mahinda Galle and Dharmasoka MV Ambalangoda emerge joint champions in the U19 segment while Nalanda clinched the main tournament. (Pix: Nimalsiri Edirisinghe)
The officials at the handing over of sponsorship Nemantha Abeysinghe, General Manager, Nippon Paint, Dhammika Dabare, Sales Manager, JN Interiors Pvt Ltd, Jovinus Fernando, Chairman JVT Interiors Pvt Ltd, Nadeesha Chandrasekera, Head of Marketing, Pyramid Wilmar Pvt Ltd and Hiranth Fernando, Head of Marketing and Sales Pyramid Wilmar Pvt Ltd flsnked in the back row by Ajith Palihakkara, Secretary Dharmaraja Cricket Foundation, Thanuja Godewatte, President Dharmaraja Cricket Foundation, Rohan Somawansa, President Col. Henry Steele Olcott Sports Foundation and Upali Jayasekera, Secretary Col. Henry Steele Olcott Sports Foundation.