By Namal Rajapaksa –
Those who know me and my two brothers know well how deeply we love the sport of rugby.
Having begun playing around the age of six, we played during school, during college, captained university teams and finally represented Sri Lanka internationally. In addition to enjoying the game, in recent years, we also tried to do whatever we could to elevate the sport in Sri Lanka for younger generations that will follow us in the years to come. In this effort, we brought down internationally-acclaimed rugby players to Sri Lanka and worked to get access for our players to obtain playing experience abroad.
In all honesty, we simply enjoyed playing the game. And as we began to reach the final stages of our sports careers, we felt like we should try to give back to a sport that had given us all so much. I think and hope that these efforts would have made at least a small contribution to the development of the game.
Today, we’re incredibly saddened to see that the bitter, vengeful politics that took over this country after elections earlier this month, have even made its way to the sports sector. Just a few days ago, my brothers – Rohitha and Yoshitha – were both informed, by telephone, not to attend rugby practice. No reasons were given. They were just asked not to come.
Not wanting to tarnish the sport through any potential conflict, we took a decision to simply respect the request and not question the decision regardless of how unjust it seems. Though deeply hurtful, we felt this would be the best decision we could make at this time.
For some, rugby was also a part of politics. But for the three of us, it was the sport we loved.
On behalf of both of my brothers and myself, I want express our deepest gratitude to all those who supported us during our rugby careers. I think you all know how sincerely we loved the game. And if given the opportunity, we will never hesitate for a moment to contribute to the development of the sport in any way that we can.
*Namal Rajapaksa MP is the eldest son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. His writings can be found at http://www.namalrajapaksablog.com