Number Eight Bimal Perera shone for CH and Sri Lanka-by Althaf Nawaz

Number Eight Bimal Perera shone for CH and Sri Lanka-by Althaf Nawaz

Bimal Perera


It is rare to find some sportsmen who plays in multiple positions as a utility player in a team sport. He should maintain a good physique to remain in the competition in that particular sport.Number Eight Bimal Perera was one of them who had a flamboyant start in the game of rugby from the younger age at the grassroot level finally ending up donning the National jersey.

Bimal Perera was born in 1970 in Dehiwala and his father late M.L. Perera was an Ex Naval Officer who was attached to the Royal Navy in Trincomalee. Beatrice was his mother who is a housewife. He has two siblings Shamalee De Silva (Sister) and Sharman (Brother). Bimal initially joined Arethusa College in Wellawatte where he studied up to grade 5 after being enrolled as a primary student. But his parents opted to move him to a better school to offer him a sound education and managed to find a vacancy at Isipathana College.

He continued his studies there till he completed his higher studies. He engaged in rugby while he was at school by playing for Petersons Sports Club coached by Cicero Fonseka. With a height of over six feet and a playing weight of 90 kilograms, Bimals sporting activities at Isipathana was initially influenced by one of his teachers Mahath Sir, who made him play in the Football and Athletic teams. Subsequently, a senior rugby player at school Sudesh Abeysinghe had met him and invited him to join the college first XV rugby team in 1988, where Sudesh led the team. His coaches were OWR Perera and Maxwell Dias along with Sanath Martis, who contributed immensely to his success at that level. He continued his tenure under Chanka Jayaweera in 1989 with M.P.F. Sallay as the Head Coach. He started as a Prop forward binding in the front row and occupied the second row, flanker and no 8. Positions in the Pack becoming the leader there playing a key role winning line out jumps.

While he was competing in 1989 as a number eight Isipathana were crowned as the Champions of the All Island Schools Rugby Sevens Tournament organised by the SLSRFU. They also came into the R. Premadasa Schools Knockout Tournament final in 1988 and 1989 but lost to Royal in 1988 (0-13) and S. Thomas in 1989 (3-15) respectively.

These teams comprised of some highly skilful players like Ruwan Dananjaya, Viraj Prashantha, Miyuru Yuganthara, Chanka Jayaweera, Piyum Prashantha, Champika Nishantha, Kimal Mustapha, Rizwi Haneefa, Sudath Sampath, Chaminda Dissanayake Hyacinth Kumara, Sujeeva Panapitiya, Kelum Gunaratne, Parakrama Rathnayake, Sandun Lugoda, Mohamed Hameed, Hisham Mohamed and Keerthi Weerasinghe are some of them. In 1989 they won the inaugural under-20 ‘Ziyan Saheed’ Trophy organised by Gymkhana Club also known as CH and FC. After his brief spell in school rugby, He was invited by Kishin Butani to represent CH in the Inter Club Rugby Tournament along with few other school mates likes of Chanka Jayaweera, Ruwan Danajaya, Kimal Mustapha, Rizwie Haniffa, Parakrama Ratnayake. Butani Exports extended a helping hand for Isipathana Rugby by getting on board as their sponsor in the year 1989 and 1990 seasons. He was fully supported by some of their old boys including Hassan Sinhawansa and Old Zahirian Faiz Hamdoon with some others with Tony Amit remaining as their head coach. He represented Sri Lanka under-19 team under the captaincy of Rizvi Suhayb which toured Thailand. from January7 to 14 1990 After his school career he joined CH and FC in 1989, he was associated with some of the legendary players of the game like Imran Salih, Rohan Abeykoon, Hisham Abdeen, Chandrishan Perera, Apsi Nagata, Nishantha Dias, Sudesh Abeysinghe, Asitha Boteju, Ali Sabri, Saman Jayasinghe, Bharatha Hegoda,

Anil Dassanayake few to be named. CH won the R. Premadasa Knockout Tournament on five occasions from 1990 to 1994. They also won the Triple Crown four times during his career from 1989 to 1994 and went onto captain them in 1997. In the meantime, he joined the Hatton National Bank in

1990, where he played for them in Mercantile Sevens and led them to many Mercantile Championships. Bimal played for CH till the year 2003 where he hung his boots from the sport as a player after a phenomenal 13-year rugby career, not only was a valuable player for the club but was also called to don the Sri Lanka jersey in both the XV’s and Sevens format. He toured Malaysia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Sicily 7’s, Italy. The most notable accomplishment for Bimal was winning the ‘Bowl Championship’ in Fiji under the captaincy of Rohan Abeykoon.

After his retirement as a player, he used his knowledge of the sport and started an excellent rugby coaching career. He started with Kotelawala Defence Academy, and then moved to coach his‘Alma Mater’ in 2007 where Isipathana won four Sevens tournaments, Schools League Runners up and Schools Knockout Runners up led by Damith Udayanga including some of the players of the class of Riza Mubarack, Sajith Saranga, Srinath Sooriyabandara, Kasun Gamage, Niroshan Fernando, Dinusha Chaturanga and Uthpala Seneviratne few to be named. After coaching there, he went to coach his former club CH and moved to coach the Sri Lanka’s Air force Rugby Team.

He also had an excellent spell with Science College, Zahira College, S. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia and Ananda Colleges. Bimal holds a Level-1 and Level-2 IRB Certificate in coaching. He wishes to extend his sincere gratitude to all his coaches from school to club to National Level starting up with OWR Perera, Maxwell Dias, MPF Sallay, Sanath Martis, at Club levelTony Amit, Faiz Hamdoon, Anton Benedict, MD Ifthikar, Imthi Marikar, Ana Saranapala, at National level Tony Amit, Ajith Abeyratne, CPP Abeygunawardena, Nimal Lewke, Ana Saranapala, Chandrishan Perera and Hisham Abdeen respectively. He also likes to recall some of his team mates at the club where he had an unforgettable tenure including Jude Pillai, Azad Junkeer, Ajith Upawansa, Nazeem Mohamed, Pradeep de Alwis, Sanjaya Amunugama, Berty Jayasekara, Shashika Cooray, Milinda Jayasinghe and Duminda de Silva

At present he has a Vanilla cultivation in Rambukkana and Gampola. His wife Jayarani who works for HNB, and son Dineth Perera played rugby for S.Thomas College, Mount Lavinia.

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