Kandy lacks grounds for sports activities | Daily News


Kandy lacks grounds for sports activities

Kandy could reign in sports only with another well-equipped ground. A playground is badly needed for the youth in one of the country’s most neglected cities. Sports is so popular in Kandy that today there is a necessity for grounds, especially for sports like school cricket, rugger, football and hockey. Thanks, to the Municipal Council, for leasing a plot of land in 1940’s for Kandy Sports Club that they have turned it into a rugby ground at Nittawela. Bogambara Stadium, which helped in most of the sports earlier, when it was under the Municipal Council, is now under the sports ministry is at present closed due to repairs. Today most of the schools especially at rugby and cricket are finding it difficult to play their matches due to lack of a ground and the ground charges are sky high.

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, Superintendent of Police CP at that time, late Dr. C. D. L. Fernando, late A. M. I. N. Marikar, late Shelton Ranaraja and late M. E. Marikar and there was full backing from E. W. Balasuriya who gave big money to make it a stadium and did their best to put up terraces round the venue. There were also many more donors the names of whom were put up in front of the pavilion, but today all of them are erased.

Most of the schools and clubs are heavily depended on this Bogambara grounds for their sports almost every day and the owners of the grounds the Municipal Council gave off its best. Till 1998 for a term of one hundred years the Kandy Municipal Council was the owners. In 1998 the government in power took it over for re-development and had plans to have the Independence Day celebrations at the stadium and promised to return it. But failed to do so and the sportsmen are suffering today especially the footballers, ruggerites, hockey players, athletes and fitness runners. In the early days before Asgiriya came into cricket this game was played at Bogambara.

The Asgiriya Stadium owned by Trinity College helped cricket and all the international matches at one time were played there and they also gave it to the schools for their big matches and helped clubs when there are no school activities for a fee. The Antonian 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 where they play their cricket matches there. Kingswood College converted their pint size grounds at Randles Hill to a big one, but still matches are not played.

Vidyartha College owns a plot 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 without grass; they have their practices and play matches elsewhere. Sri Rahula hold their sports in their grounds at Katugastota. Sri Sumangala has no grounds, but excels in sports. Madena Central, Madawela has a ground.

The University of Peradeniya has separate grounds for hockey, athletics, cricket, rugger, football and tennis. At one time the Peradeniya turf wicket was classed among the best in the country. In the early days they helped most of the schools and clubs to play cricket and if not for their help today, hockey would have been a forgotten sport. The Police Grounds at one time was hired for all sports, but now first preference is given for cricket, it is a matting wicket, and a little bit of hockey is played. Earlier except for Trinity and St. Anthony’s all the cricket big matches were played on this grounds. Today school cricket not like in the early days needs a turf wicket. The schools that have no turf facility go out of Kandy for matches.

Following the lack of suitable grounds, the standards of these sports at club level have their limitation. Kandy has cricket clubs with products from 9 cricket playing schools. The clubs are finding it difficult to practice and play matches. There are many 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.

A few years back Kandy Hockey Association were to get funds from their controlling body to put up an Astro turf but there was no proper place in Kandy. They are trying to lay the turf at Pallekelle, but it is too far for school children. Today the standard of schools hockey is high. They do all their practices in their school compound and win championships. A few days back the KDHA had the league tournament thanks to the Campus grounds, all matches were played there.

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