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Iswan and Harris Omar the only father and son who led Kandy Sports Club-By Hafiz Marikar

Kandy Sports Club


In the history of Kandy Sports Club rugby, late Iswan Omar and Harris Omar are the only father and son duo who led the Nittawela club at rugby. Both hail from a sporting family. Iswans father A.H.K. Omar was a fine cricketer and led St. Anthonys College in 1928 and later played for Kandy Sports Club and Central Province. He was a fine all-rounder, a medium pace bowler and a hard-hitting batsman. He was also a superb cover point fielder. Iswan started his rugby at Trinity College under the guidance of Hilary Abeyratne and first played for the under 15 side as a prop forward and as a second-row forward for the under 17. He then played till 1969 for the senior team. For the senior side he started off as a ˜prop and later played as a third-row forward.

Some of his team mates were Ajith Abeyratne, Shafie Jainudeen, J.K. Furlong, Irwin Howie, Gamini Udugama, Mohan Balasuriya, Anura S.B. Madawela, Mohan Samarakoon, Tikiri Marambe, Y.S. Ping, Seevali Samarasekara, B. Shanhi Kumar, N.T.B. Dissanayake, and H. Afeef.

Iswan was awarded colours in 1967 and the Lion in 1969. As a schoolboy in 1969 along with Shafie Jainudeen and Fredrick Prins, Iswan was invited to play for the Kandy Sports Club in the Clifford Cup knock-out that year. The Kandy club entered the final after 25 years led by late Gen. Denzil Kobbekkduwa where they lost to CR and FC6 -12. Iswan also played for the Outstation Schools and Combined Schools team. From Kandy SC after making a name he crossed over to Kandy Lake Club where late E.W. Balasuriya gave him the fullest backing and later played and led Kandy RFC . In 1974 when Kandy Lake Club and Kandy RFC amalgamated with Kandy Sports Club he got the break to led the Kandy SC side in 1975 during the Presidency of late E.W. Balasuriya.

These two father and son were first to captain Kandy SC. In 1975 Iswan got the break to lead Kandy SC, the year the club entered the Clifford Cup semi-finals and lost to Air Force SC during extra-time. Some of the players in the squad, were Sunil Munasinghe, H.G. Ariyaratne, D.H. Rajaguru, Nimal Malagamuwa, Jadi Dissanayake, Christoper Anderson, Ashad Dole, Irwin Howie, Seevali Samarasekara, Bola Gunaratne, Hafiz Marikar, Sunil Serasinghe. Iswan was a fine player and a good leader. He was in the 1974 Sri Lanka pool but had to pull out due to his long standing knee-injury that put a halt to his rugby at national level. From Kandy Sports Club he took to planting and played for Uva Gymkhana Club, Dimbula ACC and Dickoya MCC and Up Country team.

Once again after chucking up planting, he returned to Kandy Sports Club and became a committee member, Secretary and was the chief organizer of the Singer-SriLankan Airlines International Rugby Sevens for ten years. He also became Secretary of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.

His son Harris Omar, like his father played for Trinity College He started as a scrum-half in the under 17 side under the guidance of Janaka Kiridena and Lohan Rawatte. While playing for the under 17, he was invited to play for the senior team as a third-row forward and ended up as ˜Number eight and led the side in his last year winning the Bradby Shield He had the rare privilege of leading the Sri Lanka under 19 team and later the under 21 team. While at school, he played for Kandy Sports Club and was one of the finest third-row forwards.

He led the Kandy Sports Club team in 1999. It was under his leadership and Priyantha Ekanayakes coaching that they won the Inter-Club Sevens for the first time. beating CR and FC 12-5 in the final and Clifford Cup edging out CR and FC 21 -18 in the final at Nittawela Harris also led the Sri Lanka team at the Asiad. After he led the Sri Lanka team, he hung up his boots and pursued higher studies. He served on the executive committee of the SLRFU.

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