The Cricketer Athletes of Ceylon: 1940 and Thereabouts

Michael Roberts

The Janashakthi Book of Sri Lanka Cricket 1832-1996, edited by SS Perera for the Janashakthi organisation of the Schaffter family (Colombo, 1999) has an invaluable photograph within page 206 of the Athletes who represented Ceylon in “what was then an annual contest” (p. 205). This shot has been ‘rekindled’ for digital presentation by David Sansoni of Sydney.





It is an invaluable memento. One aspect of the ‘gathering’ is the display of the allround talents represented by these athletic men: several of them were good cricketers …. even outstanding cricketers in some cases; while some were ruggerites. Perhaps the most unusual one in this select band was C. Njuki, a Ugandan attending Richmond College in Galle – a young man who captained Richmond’s athletic and cricket teams and was still at school when chosen to represent Ceylon in the competition with India.

RH Aldons of Royal College & BRC …

RGS de S Illesinghe of St. Peter’s College & Panadura Sports Club

US Gooneratne of St. John’s Panadura and the Panadura Sports Club

HA Perera of Maris Stella and Kalutara Sport s Club

AR Ratnayake of S. Thomas college & Colts CC

RR Scott of St. Johns’ Jaffna & Police

AD White of Trinity College, Kandy and

RB Wijesinghe of S. Thomas College and SSC.

Well, then!! The last-named is none other than Bertie Wijesinghe the allrounder who went on to represent Ceylon at cricket at the international level vs Australia, the West Indies and the Madras Cricket Association; …; while AD White refers to none other than Duncan White who

  • Was one of those who carried the relay baton as a representative of the Burgher community in the four-man multi-ethnic squad at the first Independence Day celebrations on 4th February 1948 …. & ….


  • Secured second place in the 400 metre hurdles race in a remarkable performance at the 1948 Olympics held in London in July-August 1948 (having travelled to London by ship).



Rear Admiral Dr. Shemal Fernando: “Duncan White’s Stellar Performance ta the 1948 Olympics,” 5 May 2020,

KLF Wijedasa: “Duncan White: Trinitian Hurdler and Trailblazer for Ceylon,” 9 July 2021,

Michael Roberts: “Celebrating Duncan White in Pictures and Words,” 23 August 2022,

KLF Wijedasa: “A Symbolic Moment of Ethnic Otherness at Independence Day, 4 February 1948,” 4 February 2021,

Trinity College: “Duncan White: The First Athlete to win an Olympic Medal for Ceylon,” October 2019,

George Braine: “Duncan White and the returned Trinity Lion,” 6 October 2022,

Bertie Wijesinghe: An Appreciation in 2015

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