Monday, July 30, 2007

Home is where trhe heart is

By Rangi Akbar - Daily Mirror Mon July 30 2007

Ever wondered what happened to sports stars of the past such as Dhanasiri Weerasinghe, ‘Brute’ Mahendran, Maxim Flamer Caldera, Geoff Weinman, Dr. Larry Foenander etc.
Dhanasiri Weerasinghe led Ananda and later played for Bloomfield and Ceylon. He was Chairman of Selectors for Ceylon Cricket when Michael Tissera led the team. He now owns a 100 - acre farm in the Melbourne hills.

‘Brute’ Mahendran, an Old Trinitian and an Old Royalist, was the national champion in shot-put and was also the national heavyweight boxing champion. ‘Brute’ also represented the country in rugby-football.

It is said that in one day at 2.30 P.M. he won the national championship in shot-put and at 4.30 P.M represented the CR&FC to win the Clifford Cup final. Later in the evening at 8.00 P.M, he won the national heavy weight crown in boxing. A rare achievement for a sportsman!
‘Brute’, is nicknamed thus due to his size and sheer strength. He used to carry several opponents, who were trying to bring him down, on his back to score tries against opponents. He captained Police rugby during the sixties. He retired as Deputy Inspector General of Police prematurely and migrated to Australia with his doctor wife and children. In Australia he passed out as a lawyer and worked for the Government. He is now happily living in retirement.
Former Police rugby skipper S. Sivendran, who brought the Police rugby team to the A Division and the coveted Clifford Cup in the sixties was in Australia recently on the invitation of his eldest sister Padma Thangarajah, who lives in Sydney with her husband N. Thangarajah and their three daughters. They have two sons who are engineers and accountants. Padma is a retired graduate teacher who had her education at Methodist Girls High School, Point Pedro where she.excelled in athletics and netball. Her husband is a retired Superintendent of Surveys.
In Melbourne Sivendran had met Dhanasiri Weerasinghe, who had been his batch and roommate when he joined the Police Force as a Sub Inspector.

“Dhanasiri owns a hundred-acre farm in the hills. He took us there and we spent a day at the Farm House”, said Siva.

Another outstanding sportsman Siva had met in Melbourne is Micheal Schockman, a former Trinity College boxer, cricketer and rugby player and his wife Margo. Schokman played and captained Police rugby and Sivendran had played alongside him for several years.
“Schokman is actively involved in umpiring cricket matches for Victoria State. He is a qualified umpire, ” said Siva,

Sivendran had also witnessed Australia play England in a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds which had been packed to capacity.

Another outstanding rugby player whom Siva had met in Australia is Maxim Flamer Caldera. Maxim manned the wing for S.Thomas College, Mount Lavinia at rugby, Havelocks Sports Club and Ceylon before migrating to Australia. He is a successful businessman Down Under. Maxim’s late father, Alan Namer Caldera was a Superintendent of Police in Sri Lanka before migrating to Australia. His sister Jilska Flamer Caldera was the national 110 metres hurdling champion in the sixties. She too is married and settled down in Sydney.Geof Weinman, the former Royal College, CR&FC and Ceylon wing forward is now living in Sydney. He coached the Police rugby team in 1964.

Alan Henricus,a former Lieutenant in the Navy was another Royal College and Navy Fly Half who lives in Sydney .

Alan Henricus too hails from a family of sportsmen. His eldest brother Barney Henricus, passed away recently in America. Barney was a Chief Inspector of Police and was the first to win a Gold Medal for Ceylon at the Empire Games. His other brother Basil Henricus, another Royalist athlete and rugby player, was a Major in the Army. Basil was a national sprinter and turned out for Havelocks and Ceylon at rugby-football. The other brothers Captain George and Derrick too were good sportsmen.

Sivendran had also met Dr Larry Foenander , the Army ruggerite and coach. “I was also happy to speak to Eustace Rulach, an old Trinitian who was a great rugby scribe during my playing days and his wife Jean. ”, Sivendran recalled that the Rulachs stayed down Peterson Lane, Wellawatte where he too stayed during his school days at St. Peter’s Bambalapitiya.

Siva had also been in touch with Dr Larry Foenander, the former Royal College, Havelocks SC and Army rugby player and coach

In Melbourne, Siva had visited the Dandenong Hills with his cousins and a friend. On their way back they had the opportunity to have lunch at a Ceylonese Restaurant and found that it was owned by Chou de Kauve, who had played rugby and boxed for the Air Force. “Chou recognised me promptly as a rugby player as he had watched me playing and later as a referee,”said Siva. “Chou was so hospitable that he had refused to give us the bill.” The lunch was his way of showing his appreciation at meeting some people from way back home.

Sivendran had been glad to meet former Deputy Inspector General of Police V. Vamadevan, who lives in Sydney with his wife Charmine. This couple had taken them on a sight seeing tour to the Blue Mountains and later they had visited the Blow Hole in Kiama. Siva had also spent four days with former Deputy Inspector General Douglas Ranmuthugala and his wife Janaki in Canberra where they had taken them to Parliament House and the War Memorial .Siva and his party had also met Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Mr. Kusum Balapatabendi whilst in Canberra.

Even though Siva had been able to contact Leslie Ephraums, a former Police and Havelocks rugger player and his brother Conrad and Maurice de Silva, both Havelocks and Ceylon rugby players living in Brisbane, he had been unable to visit them due to a crowded schedule.
According to Sivendran all those who had migrated to Australia are living happily and their children too are prospering. But their thoughts are always with Sri Lanka, the land of their birth. Their dearest wish is to see peace return to the Paradise Isle.

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