Ex-Sri Lanka Rugby star Hadji Omar dies
It was with deep sorrow and shock that we came to know about the sudden demise of a Rugby colossus of Sri Lanka Nizar Hadji Omar on Monday evening. It was hard to believe that Hadji is no more as, he was a charming figure full of life with a permanent smile on his face.
Hadji began his rugby career at St. Peter`s and on leaving school was an automatic choice for CR and FC.
For nearly two decades Hadji played as a prop forward for CR combining with Bumpy Jayasekera as hooker and Dushyantha Samarasekera as co-prop forward. This was a match winning combination of a team that was studded with some of the outstanding names in rugby like Sari and Raji de Sylva, Eric Roles, Mohan Sahayam, Tony Sirimanne, Tony Rankine, Mohamed Azain, Reginald Bartholomeusz, Didacus de Almeida, Kamal Ratnapala, Shiraz Fernando, Ajith Abeyratne - few names that come to mind.
Hadji captained CR in 1970 and also captained Sri Lanka in 1969 against Bosuns RFC of England and at the Rugby Asiad in Bangkok in the same year.
We still recall those days of the sixties and seventies where rugby was a crowd puller and seeing such players in action was more than a dream. He was elected President of CR and FC in 1981 and remained a loyal member of the Longden Place Club until his sad demise.
He was also the President of SLRFU in 1983/84. He played for Sri Lanka with distinction from 1966 to 1974.
Hadji was a fearless front row forward with his characteristic white head band who gave a terrific time to his opponents but was a respected player who never lost his cool with his charming smile.
After retiring from the rugby field he served the Rugby Committee and was also a life member of the club and served the Rugby Board with distinction for many years.
Hadji was a regular at the CR grounds early morning with his customary greetings and never missed a club match.
He was one of the few from his generation who continued his links and was much at ease with the younger members. Rugby apart Hadji was a charming personality who gave much to the game of rugby and CR and FC and will be sadly missed by all those who knew him.