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Vale Ranjith Samarasekera

Antonian dynamo sadly missed

Former St Anthony’s College, Katugastota, sportsman and a stalwart of Colombo Colts Cricket Club Ranjith Samarasekera passed away in 2017 in Colombo following a brief illness at the age of 76.

Ranjith Samarasekera was an outstanding sportsman, excelling at athletics and cricket. He was one time Public Schools javelin champion and the first recipient of the Double Eagle award (athletics and cricket), the highest prize presented by the school for sports.

At cricket, Samarasekera was an all-rounder. He bowled left-arm leg-spin and was an excellent close-in fielder in addition to his batting.  He was a contemporary of ACM Lafir, the former All-Ceylon cricketer and opening bat and represented his school First XI teams from 1955-58. Since leaving school he was an active member of St Anthony’s College OBA, main branch in Kandy and in the Colombo Branch. He has been in the forefront of College & SACKOBA activities whilst helping his alma mater in various capacities and also supporting OBA activities and the members with dedication and passion.

Samarasekera was a stalwart at Colombo Colts CC and was a livewire at all the club’s activities. He was coach, president and patron of the club. He was also a national cricket selector and during his period three former Antonian cricketers played for Sri Lanka in Test cricket – Muttiah Muralitharan, Piyal Wijetunge and Ruwan Kalpage.

Samarasekera is best remembered for the role he played in the Saints Quadrangular, the flagship event of the Old Boys of the four premier Catholic schools in Sri Lanka – St Anthony’s College Katugastota, St Benedict’s College Kotahena, St Joseph’s College Colombo and St Peter’s College Bambalapitiya.

Samarasekera, a pioneer member of the inaugural organising committee in 1963, was a pillar of strength to the Saints Quadrangular convincing the OBUs of the four schools after the inaugural event to make it an annual event. He was present at every organising committee since then.

At the 47th Saints Quadrangular in 2014, Samarasekera was honoured when a trophy named Ranjith Samarasekera Challenge Trophy was donated by the Old Peterites Sports Club to be awarded to the winners of the Rugby Sevens in recognition of his commitment and excellent service rendered by him towards the success of the tournament. Ranjith will be sorely missed not only amongst the Antonian fraternity but among the Saints Quadrangular Schools fraternity as the joint committee sets their plans in organising the 50th event this year at St Anthony’s College, Katugastota, during August.

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