Kandy’s bane lack of grounds | Daily News

Kandy’s bane lack of grounds

Sports is so popular in Kandy today that there is a necessity for another ground, especially for sports like football, hockey and cricket. Thanks, to members of Kandy Sports Club that they have turned their rugby grounds at Nittawela to international standards. Today Nittawela can be rated as one of the best rugby grounds in the country which also helps schools and clubs to play the game. Bogambara Stadium, which helped in most of the sports earlier is at present closed to sports and most of the clubs are finding it difficult to play their matches due to high grounds charges. This ground is one of the oldest in the country, which was converted from a lake in 1897. During the early years it became a site for carnivals, games, circuses and gymkhanas during the colonial rule. Gradually, Kandy SC, a few football clubs — St. Anthony’s, Trinity, Sri Rahula, St. Paul’s, Dharmaraja and Kingswood made it their venue and played cricket, football, rugger, hockey and athletics. It was also used for national games like Elle, Bahu, Thattu, Gudu etc.

The Bogambara Grounds became a stadium in 1972 when the Municipal Commissioner together with sports promoters like the late E. L. Senanayake, Noel Wimalasena, late M. Shanmugam who was the Superintendent of Police CP at that time, late Dr. C. D. L. Fernando, late A. M. I. N. Marikar, Shelton Ranaraja and the late M. E. Marikar got the ‘Daily Mirror’ to sponsor it and with the fullest backing from E. W. Balasuriya who gave big money to make it a stadium. They did their best and put up terraces round the venue. There were also many more donors the names of whom were displayed in front of the pavilion, but today all those are erased.

This was done, as most of the schools and clubs heavily depended on this stadium for their sports almost every day and the owners of the grounds the Municipal Council gave them their fullest co-operation. Till 1998 for a term of one hundred years the Kandy Municipal Council were the owners.

In 1998 the government in power at that time took it over for re-development and had plans to have the Independence Day celebrations at the stadium and promised to return it back. But failed to do so and the sportsmen are suffering today especially the footballers, hockey players, athletes and the fitness runners. After the renovation the Sports Ministry took over. In the early days before Asgiriya came in cricket was played at Bogambara.

The Asgiriya Stadium owned by Trinity College helps cricket and at one time was an international cricket venue. They also helped schools to play their big matches. The St.Anthony’s College grounds at Katugastota is used for their school cricket matches and for other sports training. They also help the Old Antonians SC in their cricket.

The Lake View grounds owned by Dharmaraja College is used to play school cricket. Kingswood College converted their pint size grounds at Randles Hill to a big one. They are also hoping to play senior cricket, at present only junior games are played. Vidyartha College owns a pot of land at Nittawela where they play junior matches and also train. In the early days they suffered a lot without a proper place. St. Sylvester’s has a miniature ground at Asgiriya, they have their practices and play matches elsewhere. At this grounds there is no grass at all. Sri Rahula use their own grounds for sports at Katugastota. Sri Sumangala (St.Paul’s) has no grounds, but excel in sports. Madena Central, Madawela has a pint size ground and do it up for matches.

The Unversity of Peradeniya has a separate ground for hockey, athletics, cricket, rugger, football and tennis. The Police grounds at one time was given for all sports, but now first preference is given for cricket and a little bit of hockey. In the early days it was home grounds for St.Sylvester’s, Vidyartha, Kingswood, Dharmaraja and Sri Sumangala (St.Paul’s).

Following the lack of suitable grounds for cricket, hockey and football, the standards of these sports at club level have their limitation. Kandy had two Division I clubs with products from 9 cricket playing schools. But both the clubs are not in the scene, they are finding it difficult to practice and play matches. There were over 10 clubs playing in the Division III but the same story lies with them too. However, they get the support of Asgiriya, Katugastota, Police grounds and Peradeniya to play matches.

At present, Kandy is badly in need of grounds for club cricket, football and hockey. Kandy Hockey Association has got funds from their controlling body to put up an Astro turf but there is no space in Kandy. They are trying to lay the turf at Pallekelle, but it is too far for the school children. Today the standard of girls school hockey in high. They do all their practices in their school compound and win championships.

Poor weightlifters and body builders have no proper place for their training. Several gyms though available don’t have the necessary material for professionals. There are no proper volleyball, netball courts, basketball court for the poor sportsmen and women. The Ministry of Sports should look into it and help the poor sportsmen and women.


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