Jurangpathy - versatile sportsman and administrator

By: Premasara Epasinghe
Daily News 27/02/2006

Mr. Premasara Epasinghe

There are certain names that are synonymous with their respective schools. Mahinda College, Galle and Amendras are inseparable. So are the Wettimunys and Ranatungas of Ananda and Narangodas and Nalanda. S. Thomas' and Saravanamuttus go hand-in-hand.

Gunasekeras and Royal are the same. When you trace the history of cricket at Wesley College, Dissanayakes, Fuards, Jurangpathys are one, not two. These three names are linked to Wesley College.

Today I feature a 'top cop' a versatile sportsman who rose from the rank of Sub-Inspector to Deputy Inspector General of Police at the time he retired. He is a Wesleyite.

He is none other than B. M. N. Jurangpathy, the retired DIG. He was an ornament to Police. A man of honesty and integrity - gentleman par excellence and a fine human being.

Tracing the history of Jurangpathy is as interesting as his sports achievements. To begin with, he was the 9th in a family of 13, of 7 boys. Five of them attended Wesley College, a great seat of learning in Sri Lanka.

These five Jurangpathys attended Wesley College at 
the tail end of World War II. At that time Wesley was housed at Kitiyakkara, opposite All Saints Church.
The Imperial Army occupied the College building at Karlshrue Gardens, later handed back to Wesley which moved to its present premises along with Campbell Park being vested.

Jurangpathy, started his school career at Wesley from the lower kindergarten up to HSC. The principal then was that great educationist Rev. James Cartman.
He was a lover of cricket and the President of the Schools Cricket Association. Cricket was a passion at Wesley under the guidance of Rev. Cartman. Under the coach Vanburen and A. V. Fernando, Master-in-charge junior cricket, Wesley cricket prowess moved from strength to strength.

Not like the present day, cricket enthusiasm was great at that time. At Wesley, the entire hostel, students, staff, parents, old boys would assemble in thousands to cheer their team. Matches then were of two days duration, commencing at 12 noon.
It was the pride for the cricketers on a Friday morning, when the team was announced at the College Assembly and to walk adorning the 'Dark blue Light Blue' College blazers.

The college song was sung followed by the famous war cry Zam, Zam, Zake. Such was the interest shown for cricket at Wesley College.

Schoolboy Jurangpathy grew up at Wesley in this environment. He played in the under-14 side captained by Brian Classen. He was coached by late A. V. Fernando. Under the captaincy of Lou Adhihetty, he played in the under-16 cricket team.

Jurangpathy represented the Wesley first XI from 1952 to 1955. His team-mates were captain Brian Classen, vice captain Ansar Fuard, Abu Fuard, Patrick Shockman, Vincey Adhihetty, Lou Adihetty, Neil Galahar, M. N. Samsudeen, Hermon Classen and Chapman.

Out of his team-mates Brian Classen and Abu Fuard represented Ceylon. "Cricket was part and parcel of our school life at Wesley and there was so much of interest generated. There were many lessons that we learned in the playing field. Discipline, fair-play, justice, team spirit, honesty. To respect our teachers, elders - umpires.

It was here our character was moulded to face the challenges of the future. The lessons that we learned in the cricket field can be considered as a transfer of training in our lives," said Jurangpathy.
Greek meeting a Greek

"One of my most memorable incidents was the inter-school cricket match against St. Anthony's College, Katugastota. Antonians were then an unbeaten side. They were captained by A. C. M. Lafir, who was also a member of the national side.

This match was like 'Greek meeting a Greek' at Campbell Park. We beat the Antonians by an innings. Their star batsman Lafir was caught under the bat by me, off that great off-spinner Abu Fuard in both innings. Ronnie Stevens, Saliya and Ranjith Doranegama, Tom Deen were some of the Antonian players that I can remember," stated Jurangpathy.
Jurangpathy was a versatile sportsman. He was a soccerite, athlete and a hockey player.

He captained the Wesley College Football team. Under his captaincy, Wesley beat Ananda, Zahira and S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia.
He was also the vice-captain of the hockey team and also a college athlete.
In all three sports disciplines, he excelled and brought credit and honour to the college.

On leaving school, he joined the Police as a Sub-Inspector. At the Police Training School, he took up to Rugby Football and played in the 7-a-side rugby tournament and at the 25th anniversary of the seven-a-side Layards Rugby Tournament played at Bogambara grounds, Kandy.

"Bogambara grounds, have happy memories for me. It was here that I met my life's partner, which was love at first sight," and blossomed out to three cricketers and a daughter who went out to represent University of Mysore at tennis.

The Malays of Sri Lanka have long been an integral and important part of Sri Lankan family. Their loyalty and dedication to promote the political, economic, social, cultural and sports development of Sri Lanka was enormous. The members of Colombo Malay Cricket Club was founded in 1872.

Jurangpathy played a keyrole in promoting the Sri Lanka Malay Association and Colombo Malay Cricket Club. He was instrumental in embarking on a project to develop the Padang complex which comprises the playing field, club house and association headquarters.

It was in 1872, that a band of Sri Lankan Malays drawn from the Ceylon Rifle Regiment and other walks of like, among whom were the descendants of Royal exiles, founded the Colombo Malay Cricket Club. At that time there were no other Ceylonese sports clubs in existence.

Therefore, the Malays could justifiable pride claim to have the oldest Sri Lankan sports institution in the island.

Jurangpathy was an outstanding cricketer at the Central Province cricket tournaments, which had cricketers of the calibre of S. L. Silva, Lee Vedamuttu, Ronnie Paul, Carlyle Dias, Harold Gunawardene, Hema Weerasinghe and Herby Jayasuriya.

Two years in succession, he won the J. R. Jayawardene Trophy. He captained the Police 'B' team that won the Government Services championship.

"In 1952, as a schoolboy, I was coached by late Senior B. H. Bahar, at the Zahira College indoor nets and I played for the Colombo Malay Cricket Club in the Daily News trophy matches being the premier tournament at that time. Further, in 1972, I captained the centenary side of the Colombo Malay Cricket Club," stated Jurangpathy.

Sons kept the tradition going
His three sons too excelled in sports. They are Shan, Rohan and Roshan. Shan represented Wesley first XI. Rohan and Roshan represented Royal College. Roshan excelled both as a batsman and a bowler and won the Schoolboy Cricket of the Year award.
Roshan had the proud distinction of captaining Royal and at 16, he was the youngest to represent Sri Lanka at Test level. He played against India at Asgiriya, and again at Hyderabad.

Jurangpathy had a highly distinguished career as a police officer. He won a Commonwealth Scholarship to Scotland Yard to follow a Senior Investigation Course. At the Interpol Police, he followed a course in International Crime and Drug Trafficking.
Whilst in the CID, on a warrant issued by late J. R. Jayawardene, along with General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, conducted terrorist operation from Jaffna - 1979-1983 and later at Batticaloa of the Cobra Movement terrorists.

He was a good cricket administrator - Vice President of the Colombo District Cricket Association for 9 years. During the late Gamini Dissanayake's golden era of cricket in Sri Lanka, he joined the Sri Lanka cricket administration.

Jurangpathy served Sri Lanka Cricket Board for 8 years, the Disciplinary Committee and also elected to the Executive Committee and served cricket with commitment. It is a pity that this type of honest, dedicated, committed cricket administrator, who played cricket at the highest level are not in the cricket administration today.

produced by Sdr. Geoffery Meedin
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