Can Royal College survive the Thomian onslaught?

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The oldest schools’ regatta in the island, the Royal-Thomian is due to take place this Saturday, 22nd October, at the Colombo Rowing Club.

Royal College will be heading into the regatta with a big booster mentally, as they won the regatta quite comprehensively in 2015. They won all the trophies except the ‘B Pair’, winning the overall regatta 48-04, after a three year long wait.

The fleet from Royal College will be led by Kaveen Rajapakse, the 8th year campaigner who has been rowing in close competition with his opposite camp captain, Kemil Peter. Rajapakse coxed his first Boat Race in 2012 and also coxed 2015’s winning Boat Race crew. He has been part of the losing crews up to 2014 and will be looking to sum up his campaign registering the Crew’s second consecutive victory.

Rajapakse will be backed by Vice-Captain, Praveen Hapugalle. Hapugalle has been part of the winning 2014 ‘B four’ crew and the 2015 Boat Race crew. Hapugalle was also the Most Promising Oarsman along with Saajid Ajmal in 2015.

Reid Avenue also boasts about the best junior sculler in Sri Lanka, Hashen Hettigoda. Hettigoda too has had a continuous rivalry with the Thomian Vice-Captain Saliya Gunasekara. Hettigoda lost to Gunasekara in the ‘B scull’ in 2014 but managed to beat him in 2015, in the ‘A Scull’ race.

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This year’s Royal outfit comprises of 10 coloursmen. Prathap Perera, Lasaru Kudaligama, Thimesha Amarasena, Avishka Jayaweera, Kavinda Matthew, and the twins Hashen and Praveen Weerakkody will be the most experienced oarsmen for Royal College. Lasindu Gamage, Charin Wijethilake, Jatukarana Rockwood, Ishira Rambukwella, Pasindu Alwis, Revata Karunasundera are the others to look out for.

Head Coach for Royal College will be Mr. Mohamed Rifath. Taking over from last year’s assistant coach position, Mr. Rifath has seen both sides of the regatta, winning and losing.

Speaking to ThePapare.com, skipper Rajapakse said, “this year’s crew has been moulded well into the crew it is now and we are ready for the 22nd of October”. He also mentioned that “the coaching staff have worked extremely hard in bringing the juniors and seniors up to Roy-Tho standards.”

Make your way down to the Colombo Rowing Club on the 22nd, this month to witness a spectacular display of traditional Royal-Thomian rivalry. Races are due to start at 1 pm.