In the “Future Today’ segment we benched with Sachitha Jayatilake, an outstanding sportsman of S. Thomas’ College Mt Lavinia. At an age where competitive sport at school level is contested fiercely, it is a daunting if not impossible task for a sport person to be entrenched in more than one sport.
Jayathilake captained the XI in cricket, donned the # 8 jersey forRugby and dived into the waters of Sugathadasa as prop in the Water Polo team. He has played a major role in each of the respective Royal-Thomian encounters of the 3 sports and managed to win three out of the four.
He has won many awards such as the ‘Sportsman of the year 2015’, the most prestigious ‘Warden’s Gold Medal’ for representing the country in cricket at U19 level and the ‘Admiral H A Silva VSV Challenge Trophy’ for the Best All-round Student in Academics and Sports 2014 & 2015.
Sachitha Jayatilake started off his sporting career as a little boy back in 2005, as an eight year old with his first passion, cricket. “I was the youngest in the Stone House team for the House matches and that made me continue cricket.” Rugby, according to him commenced in 2005, after watching a Wallabies vs All Blacks game on his visit to Australia. His next love was Water polo. “I used to stay on for a bit after swimming practices and watch the big ‘Aiyas’ playing Water polo and that got me interested in the sport” reminisced Jayathilake.
He stated that he always had a dream of captaining the first XI cricket team of the College and worked hard in order to achieve his goal. He explained how he worked on his own research and analysis by watching cricket matches played in the College and on the television.
The most outstanding synopsis is how the triple coloursman managed all of this exceptionally well along with his studies. “My training schedule used to be tough as I had all three sports on certain days of the week. However I was determined to do well in everything that I do and I used to force myself to keep up with my studies in class”
He articulated how he had to face many obstacles and challenges along the way, but he stated “The coaches just wanted me to do my best in each sport and I did just that without trying to do anything out of the ordinary.
As for captaining the Big Match team he stated it was an unimaginable sense of pride. “ I personally do not take any pressure to heart and I didn’t want my team to feel pressurized as well. I just let the boys do their best for the team and for the College”
After losing the Big Match 2016 which Royal won by 4 wickets in fading light, Jayatilake mentioned he strived to win the rest of the Royal-Thomian encounters, the Mustangs trophy (ODI), Rugby and Water Polo. All of which he succeeded. “I just wanted everyone to know that I am not the sort to put my head down on losing and I was determined to do my best and take the teams to victory in the remaining encounters. For sure I was feeling very disappointed since that was a match we never should have lost. I was determined to win the rest of the encounters. I had several meetings with the team after the big match loss and told them this is the time to show the “Thomian grit “. The team did not let me down.”
On winning three of the four Royal-Thomian encounters, Jayatilake said that the feeling is out of this world and that he will always cherish the moments and memories. One of his happiest memories apart of the Big Match was when he took the Under 17 team to victory over St. Sebastians College after scoring 72 runs in the finals, winning the trophy for College after 20 years.
After the cricket, Jayatilake moved onto the Rugby season where he played a pivotal role in the Thomian team’s success as they emerged runners up in the Singer league tournament, losing only to Isipathana in the final. It was the first time since 2009 that the Thomian team came in contention of winning a league and Jayathilake and his team were determined to go down in history. However, a week before the big game, Jayatilake fractured his wrist which was indeed a big blow for the team. “I refused to do an important surgery that was due on my wrist in order to play the Isipathana match since it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the league finals and I didn’t want to let my team down in any way. I managed to score a try in the match but, unfortunately we were on the losing side at the end of an intense 80 minutes”
Jayatilake played a stupendous role as the vice-captain of the Water polo team at the Royal-Thomian played for the Dr. R.L Hayman Trophy. “It was my last year and Ashane Francis, my captain and I had won three encounters in a row and the biggest challenge was to win the fourth one, which was by no means an easy task. A lot was expected of me and I was happy to deliver” Jayathilake scored a record 9 goals of the total team aggregate score of 18 goals in both legs taking S Thomas’ to the fourth consecutive Hayman.
He has a very special mention about the Water polo team, he said “this year’s team had a special bond and anyone in the team would make an extra effort and do anything for another. We played the Royal-Thomian for each other and managed to win the trophy together as a team”.
All-in-all, this exceptional sportsman has had an amazing run in the sporting arena reaching the peak in all three sports. On this achievement he had this to say “Of course, I didn’t achieve all this alone. My parents influenced and supported me the most throughout the years, and also my uncle, Mr. Kanishka Wijesinghe has been with me through the toughest times” His father, Mr. Chamindra Jayatilake, or fondly known as ‘Uncle Chami’ has with no doubt been his number one fan. “my father has supported me a lot and so has my mother, in making all the tough decisions of ‘Country or College’ and in spending their hard-earned money on whatever I needed and I owe my success all to them.”
“In terms of regrets, I would have loved to win the Big Match, which is the biggest sporting event of both schools, and captaining the team in my last year is one of my greatest achievements. I want to continue cricket, since it is my first sport and I want to play for my country at the highest level”
‘Dreams only stretch your imagination. Goals are more specific and require plenty of hard work and focus, and therefore, goals stretch you to obtain results’ claimed Jayathilake in his parting sentence at the end of our talks.
It was indeed a privilege to have him on the Future Today segment of the ThePapare.com and we wish him all the very best for the future.