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Dennis De Rosayro. The Colossus and Messiah of Sri Lanka hockey
Dennis De Rosayro. The Colossus and Messiah of Sri Lanka hockey

By Bruce Maurice
To describe Dennis De Rosayro as the ultimate sportsman produced by his Alma Mater, St. Benedict’s College, would be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Not being endowed with an imposing physical structure, Dennis did not confine himself to just one or two sports but went onto represent his school in seven strenuous sports. He captained the college at hockey, basketball and table tennis, while also doing duty for the college in athletics, football, badminton and cricket.

This versatile sportsman made up for his lack of extraordinary physical dimensions, with loads of stamina, determination and perseverance to become a sporting legend produced by St. Benedict’s, where he was the recipient of the award for the Best All-round Sportsman in 1954.

Representing St. Benedict’s in 1954 and playing against a star studded BRC team in a hockey match the schoolboys confounded all enthusiasts by holding them to a four all draw. The fact that BRC had in their ranks seven players with international experience, including the mercurial custodian Freddy White at goal, did not have any bearing on the crack centre half Dennis De Rosayro.

He laid out a hockey banquet fit to lay before an audience of Emperors to bang in three of the goals scored by his team.

Dennis had arrived and was about to begin his climb to stardom. Having got a taste of his enormous talent and skill with the curved stick, the authorities at the BRC were not going to let him hide his light under a bush and had no hesitation in welcoming him into their fold.

Dennis was to pay them back not a hundred, but a thousand fold in the years to come. Dennis did the BRC yeoman service by representing them in all ‘A’ division hockey tournaments between 1954 and 1978, captaining the side on numerous occasions.

Dennis was also a regular member of the formidable cricket team that played in the Donovan Andree Trophy tournament. However, it was to the call of hockey that Dennis responded to and to date has made a lifetime commitment to hockey in various capacities.

As a player, Dennis represented Ceylon as the country was then known at home and abroad against Madras, Mysore, Delhi, and the Indian and Pakistani national hockey teams from 1957 to 1961.

Dennis remembers that in the robust game of hockey Ceylon was very highly placed, being third in the Asian region and fifth among the elite world teams.

Once he hung up his stick, Dennis continued to guide Sri Lanka, BRC and the Mercantile Hockey Association in the capacity of coach, umpire, judge Chief-de-Mission, selector and administrator. He devoted his time to coaching the BRC for an unbroken period of 25 years and also coached the Mercantile Hockey Association from 1979 to 1994. In addition, Dennis was also an active umpire in ‘A’ division matches for a period of 35 long years and also served with distinction as an umpire in the Ceylon versus Delhi HA Test series in 1966. As a judge, Dennis represented the country at the International Invitation Tournament held in Singapore from August 19 to 24, 1990. He was Chef-de-Mission who accompanied the Sri Lanka hockey contingent for the fifth Men’s Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur in November 1999. He also served in the capacity of a selector of the SLHF. As an administer par excellence, Dennis’ achievements are both numerous and varied. Dennis was President of the Heath and Company Sports Club where he was a Senior Executive whilst also being the Hony. General Secretary of the BRC for 14 years before being elevated to the post of Vice President and Patron of the club in 2004. He is also the Vice Patron of the SLHF being Vice President of the association on numerous occasions. Then again he was Hony. Secretary and selector of Colombo HA from 1969 to 1973.

Dennis was also instrumental in drafting the present constitution of the SLHF along with the late Brigadier Russel Heyn and Walter Jayasooriya. The jewel in the crown of Dennis’ administration in undoubtedly his continuous stewardship of the Mercantile Hockey Association for an unbroken tenure of 30 long years, as its President. This is indeed a very rare achievement and one that would surely be the envy of all other sports administrators.

Literalily many reams of paper would be required to spotlight each and every achievement of Dennis De Rosayro, the living legend of hockey.

But suffice for the Daily Mirror to say it was a pleasure and privilege to have met at least one honest, efficient and hardworking sports official who has sacrificed his valuable time, energy and finances to upgrade the game that is closest to his heart: Hockey.

Courtsey: DailyMirro, 30th April 2007
 Posted by webmaster on April 30 2007 02:53:49 · 0 Comments · 3919 Reads Print
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