Kandy boasts for its sporting excellence | Daily News

Kandy boasts for its sporting excellence

Over the years Kandy has established a proud record of having produced some of the top most sportsmen/sportswomen in the field of rugby, cricket, football, swimming, hockey, athletics, table tennis, iron sports, boxing, swimming, basketball, golf and recently baseball, which is a new sport that has been introduced. At present sports in Kandy is held up due to the Corona virus problem. Most of the sporting events have been halted.

The sporting fraternity of Kandy hopes that the Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, a sports lover who is keen to develop sports should help the young sportsmen and women by using his initiative to find solutions on how to provide better facilities for all sports in the district. He has to look into the Bogambara stadium which is under construction for over an year. Kandy’s urgent need is proper ground facilities for cricket, hockey and athletics. During the time when the Bogambara Stadium was under the Municipal Council, sports flourished in Kandy. The respective sports bodies were able to pocket out the ground fee, but today the ground fee is sky high, more than what it was under the MC. The sporting fraternity of Kandy has appeal to the new Sports Minister to give a helping hand.

Today the oval ball sport is undoubtedly the most popular in Kandy with one “A” division club Kandy Sports Club, who are with Kandy and Colombo school products are dominating as the league club champions. The knockout was not played this time . This has boosted the sport in every corner of the district with all schools taking up to the game. Trinity, Kingswood, St. Anthony's, Dharmaraja, St. Sylvester's, Sri Sumangala, Sri Rahula, and Vidyartha have done well in schools rugby. Most of the Kandy club players are Kandy and Colombo school products.

Football has been tagged the common man's game, at one time and was a powerhouse of Sri Lanka club football. But today it is in a forgotten state. When will the game of football regain its former glory in the historic city of Kandy? Today no one seems to care for football in the hill capital which has a history of nearly 100 years. The game is sadly neglected. For many years, tournaments and AGM’s have not been held on time in an organized manner. This has been a great setback to the sport. Sad to say in the last couple of years football has gone ‘off side’ and most of the players are losing interest as there is no recognition nor any support or encouragement to take this game forward. At club level it is dead. The schools are playing the game as usual but overall Kandy football is dead and virtually buried. Cricket - at school level continues to take pride of place, and once again club standards have raised. This year the Kandy DCA and Central PCA have brought in cricket promoters and they are doing their best. Hockey at both boys and girls school level is quite healthy and successful, especially girls’ schools dominating the game. KDHA affairs at club level have been successful.

Billiards and snooker have taken a nosedive with hardly any activity. It was a sport which was once dominated by Kandy clubs. Only Mahanuwara YMBA keeps the sport going, other clubs like Kandy Club, have forgotten to switch the table lights. Now it is a parlor game. Only during the AGM of the controlling body, the lights come on. Basketball has got back to its former glory. The schools are giving a big boost to restart the game in a better fashion. It was in 1964 that basketball was introduced. The first ever tournament in Kandy was held in1965 for men and women. In the early days Kandy YMCA gave a big hand. Table tennis was very popular. There is some hope as there are many schools and clubs who are capable of doing well. When late D.H de Silva was the Municipal Commissioner he gave good support. Swimming - Mahamaya Girls have dominated the sport by winning many meets. Trinity and Hillwood girls have also excelled in the water sport. Badminton there is somewhat a lack of interest in this sport. Something must be done to uplift the game. In badminton Kandy has produced national level champions and continues to do so. Boxing - remains popular among the schools. One time king makers of the sport were Trinity College later St. Sylvester's College followed by Peradeniya MMV and Sarasavi Uyana. Of late schools like Vidyartha, Kingswsood and Dharmaraja, have taken to the sport and are doing well. In the good old days Kandy YMCA gave a big hand for boxing and helped the sport.

Wrestling - was at its best at club level especially Kandy YMCA that promoted it. It is good to see Walala A Ratnayake Central doing well. They won the Junior Nationals recently. Iron Sport - Kandy YMCA and Mahanuwara YMBA gave a big hand for iron sport (body building and weightlifting) and helped several iron sportsmen to do well and bring honor to the country, today schools give a big hand for the sport. Baseball - This sport is catching up fast, and some of the schools are keen to promote it thanks to the efforts of the promoters. The governing body say they are to give the best. Golf - a sport which is popular mainly due to the promotion given by the Golf Club in Digana. They have tournaments that are well supported by sponsorships. Volleyball- The sport is over 100 years old in the country and 80 years old in Kandy. It is the national sport, and at a certain time volleyball was a popular game. Today the much needed support is not there for the game.

Netball - schools in Kandy are doing well in this sport and have taken part in most of the tournaments organized by the governing body. It was Kandy Girls High School who started the sport first followed by Hillwood College.

Today most of the schools are in the game but with poor backing from the governing body. Athletics - all schools in Kandy have athletics in their curriculum and are doing very well. Sylvestrians produced a top athlete who represented the country in hurdles. Walala A. Ratnayake Central won several meets. In the first three months of the year it is sports meet of all schools which is the most looked forward to sporting event where old boys and girls gather in camaraderie. Cycling - has been popular in Kandy and there have been races on many occasions. For it to be competitive there has to be sponsorship which is lacking. Chess- has been popular at schools for quite a long period. Last year Trinity became All-Island champions. Dharmaraja, Kingswood, Vidyartha, Sri Sumangala, St. Sylvester's, Chandrananda and St. Anthony's did their best among the boy's schools. Mahamaya, Hillwood, High School, Pushpadana, Swarnamali, Hemamali and Seetha Devi did well in the girls tournaments. Carrom – is a popular sport in Kandy, mostly played by the government departments. This is a re-creation sport. Kandy's Carrom Association gives a big hand to promote the sport. Softball cricket is very popular and every Sunday and on public holidays tournaments for various trophies are played. It is one of the most interesting and well represented sporting events by both sexes.