ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday June 01, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 53

Sun shines for Embilipitiya rugby kids


By Harry Jayachandra

Ravi Perera

If any one doubts that miracles happen in this day and age let him or her think again. Last year The Sunday Times spotlighted the plight of Embilipitiya MMV’s rugby players. Their under 18 team in a David versus Goliath like battle beat Thurstan’s under 20 in an invitational sevens tournament.

Ravi Perera has lived in Southern California in the United States of America (USA) for over 20 years. He is the Head Coach of the California U19 Girls Select Side team. There are only 8 unions in the USA, and each union has a select side (all star) team consisting of the best players from the many teams within that union. He is also the Director and Founder of the Fullerton Youth Rugby Foundation, one of the leading Rugby clubs in the USA. In addition he started high school girl’s rugby in Southern California.

He said: “After reading the article about the Embilipitiya School last year in The Sunday Times. I decided that I wanted to help these players who lack the basic essentials to play rugby. I put the word out to the Board of Fullerton Youth Rugby, who thought that it would be a fantastic idea to help the young rugby players of Embilipitiya.”

He added; “The parents, coaches, and players got together, and within one week collected rugby boots, balls, first aid kits, mouth guards, cones, scrum caps, knee braces, arm braces, rugby shorts, rugby socks, jerseys, and rucking pads. In the USA, it is mandatory for all U19 and younger players to wear mouth guards. So, our parents packed enough mouth guards to go around!".

"I have seen first hand, how mouth guards have protected young players and prevented major injury, when players have been hit in the mouth. Due to the weight of the two boxes of donated items, the only way to get it across to Sri Lanka was by ship. Trico Forwarding USA, kindly agreed to ship the boxes free of charge.”

Perera also conducted a training program for women ruggerites. He said in conclusion; “I was very impressed with the talent and skill level. From tomorrow I will be travelling. I want to go to Embilipitiya and also see if we can help any other needy schools.”

Rugby equipment for the Southern lads on store.
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