Dushanth Lewke – a top class ruggerite and coach-by Althaf Nawaz
It is very rare to find a son following the footsteps of his father especially in the field of sports, Both reached great heights, finally ending up representing the country. Dushanth Lewke is no stranger to this as there is a famous saying “like father like son” He is the son of Nimal Lewke who was a flamboyant sportsman engaging in several sporting disciplines while being a top Policeman retiring as a Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police after serving in various capacities.
Dushanth who is in late thirties is the eldest in the family with Anuska being the younger sister who is a lawyer by profession. His mother is Chrishanthi who is the Principal of Visakha Nursery. He was living in the vicinity of Police Park since his father was serving in the Sri Lanka Police. He was mingling with other children whose parents too were in the Police and living in the flats there. During his childhood at the age of ten years, after school hours they got together and engaged in various sports.
But Dushanth had a liking for handling the oval shaped ball with some other friends. While his father was coaching Kandy Sports Club since 1994 it really motivated him to get into action and he joined the Royal College, Colombo under-13 team under the watchful eyes of Niroshan Jayasinghe. He then established a permanent place in the team in all the age categories and represented the school from under-13 to the first XV side. He was a member of the champion college under-15 and 17 teams which won the All Island Championship. He played in the under-19 team from 2000 to 2002 where they remained undefeated champions in school rugby. He also was in the invincible Royal College team of 2002 which held the record for the highest ‘Bradby’ Shield aggregate of 83- 0 winning both matches by 39-0 and 44-0 against Trinity and the highest Gunaratne trophy victory margin of 39 – 3 against the Thomians He was awarded the Royal College Crown during his illustrious school rugby career. He has the rare distinction of being the only Royalist to have won both Bradby Shield and Gunaratne trophy by record margins twice, once as a player (2002) and once as a coach (2015). He was a member of the first and only Sri Lankan under-19 team to play at a Junior Rugby World Cup in 2001 at Santiago, Chile. He also played at the under-19 Junior Rugby Asiad in 2000 held in Sri Lanka followed by a similar competition in 2001 held in Japan.
Soon after his school career he went on to gain club experience by joining Colombo Hockey and Football Club (CH and FC) under-21 team in 2003 leading them to remain unbeaten champions. Even though he led them in 2003, he also locked horns for them from 2000, during which time they won several championships in that age category. He was a member of the CH and FC under-24 team in 2004 which emerged joint champions.
His distinguished ‘A’ division club rugby career started with CH and FC in 2003 in which they were Caltex League and Caltex K/O runner-up. He went on to play the next season 2004. Then he crossed over to play for Kandy Sports Club from 2005 to 2007, during which they remained undisputed Champions in all three seasons winning every trophy on offer while remaining unbeaten in 2006 and 2007 seasons.
Then he opted to move to a Colombo club and donned the Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club (CR and FC) jersey from 2008 to 2011 and in 2014. (They were runner up from 2008 to 2010). While gaining the much needed experience in club rugby and transforming as a matured player, the Longdon Place club entrusted him with the captaincy of the side from 2010 and 2011 seasons. during which they emerged Caltex League runner-up in 2010 and was the only CR team to have beaten Kandy Sports Club to date. In between he played a single season for Police Sports Club in 2012 but later rejoined CR and went on to play the 2013/2014 season.
He made his National appearance for Sri Lanka 15-a-side rugby team from 2003 to 2014. In 2005 they went on to beat Kazakhstan and Singapore at home. He was appointed as the captain of the Sri Lanka team in 2008 and was a member of the Sri Lanka Rugby team which won the Division-1 Asian Five Nations Rugby Championship for the first time in Singapore in 2010. Played in the first ever Sri Lanka team to beat Chinese Taipei in an away match and beat Singapore in Singapore in the same year. He is also one of the highest capped players in Sri Lankan Rugby and represented Sri Lanka in the Asian Five Nations top five Tournament in 2014. Apart from his involvement in the 15-a-side format, he also represented the clubs, Mercantile sector and the country in the sevens rugby arena while playing in New Zealand in their domestic club tournaments on several occasions.
Apart from his playing skills he has gained a lot of experience attending and observing ITM cup training with Canterbury rugby for two weeks in 2015 and went on to gain invaluable knowledge in the field of rugby coaching under several former top world renowned coaches like George Simpkin, Aaron Jones, Tulaga Tavita, Normal Laker, Dawie Snyman, David Gray, Bruce Robertson, John Carrington, Rob Yule, Yohan Taylor and Grant Dwyer.
He took over coaching in 2013 as an overall Assistant coach and forwards coach of Royal College Rugby under-19 team from 2013-2017. Then he was promoted as Head Coach of Royal Rugby from 2018 to 2021. He went on to take over the Sri Lanka under-19 team as Head Coach in 2018. At present he is the Head Coach of CR and FC . He was also the Strength and Conditioning Coach of Royal College under-20 rugby team from 2014 to 2017, He coached John Keells Group Sevens team as head coach from 2015 to 2017.
He has successfully rehabilitated many national level players after injuries enabling them to get back to playing . He is a World Rugby Level 3 Certified Coach World Rugby Level 2 Sevens Coach, World Rugby Level 2 Strength and Conditioning Coach, Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Level-1 coach, He has a Certificate in High performance Sports Psychology from Barcelona Football Academy, He is currently studying exercise science (specialized S and C coach Certification)
He has a degree in Business Management from Edith Cowan University Perth Western Australia. He would like to extend his sincere gratitude to Tavita Tulagaese, his coach at Royal and, CR, Yohan Taylor coach at Kandy SC and late George Simpkin the former National coach . Melisa is his wife and he has two sons Seth and Joshua . At present Dushanth is fully concentrating on his coaching career.