A Look At Sports In Kandy
By Hafiz Marikar
As another year comes to an end it is an appropriate time to take a look at sports development in the Kandy District. Over the years Kandy has established a proud record of having produced some of the top most sportsmen / sportswomen in the fields of rugger, cricket, football, swimming, hockey, athletics, table tennis, iron sports, boxing, swimming, basketball, golf and now baseball, which is a new sport that has been introduced in Kandy.
Rugger is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Kandy with Kandy Sports Club being the reigning Club Rugby Champions for over a decade. This has boosted the sport in every corner of the district with all schools taking up the game. Trinity, Kingswood, St. Anthony’s, Dharmaraja, St. Sylvester’s, Sri Sumangala, Sri Rahula, and Vidyartha hold top positions in the Sri Lanka Schools Associations. Most of the Kandy club players represent the national team as well. Kandy Sports Club are the kings of local rugby and have won all the tournaments they have taken part in for the seventh consecutive year.
Football, though it is the common man’s game, is continuing with limited resources and facilities. But sad to say after the new head of FFSL took over, football in Kandy has taken a back seat. Cricket continues to take pride of place at school level, though the club standards have dropped somewhat. Here again the lack of resources and facilities, poor organising by the local body, few clubs playing at competitive level have all contributed to this unsatisfactory situation. Saracens, Kandy CC, Kandy Youth are doing well with their own resources.
There are some clubs that exist only on paper contributing little or nothing to the betterment of Kandy cricket. In the schools sector Trinity College in the last third term created history by winning all the six games they played. This momentum should extend to the club circuit as well which would automatically increase participation.
Hockey at school and club level is a happy story, with most of the schools, especially girls’ schools dominating the game. Kandy District Hockey Association is quite active and taking the game to a higher level in the district. Like in football though they too lack proper playing fields.
Cue games billiards and snooker however have taken a nosedive with hardly any activity only to rise from the dead during election time for the main bodies.
Basketball has come back to it former position, and recently Kandy conducted a very successful inter-district tournament. Table tennis and badminton too are in good shape with participation at every level being more than satisfactory.
In recent times Kandy has produced some impressive athletes but the eye-opener has been swimming where Kandy has produced some top notch swimmers among both men and women, specially in schools.
Although Kandy has several sports bodies they need to get actively involved at the highest levels. Kandy’s urgent need is proper ground facilities for football, hockey and athletics. During the time when the Bogambara Stadium was under the Municipal Council, these three sports flourished in Kandy. The respective sports bodies were able to pocket out the ground fee, but today the ground fee is 20 times more than what it was under the MC. The sporting fraternity of Kandy has appealed to the new Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to return the grounds to the Municipal Council and re-establish the status quo.
City Father At Asian Masters’ Meet
Sarath Wijesinghe, one of the senior members of the Kandy Municipal Council, was picked to represent the country at the 16th Asian Masters Athletic Championship, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.City father Sarath Wijesinghe, a product of Kingswood College, represented the country in the 60-65 age category in put shot and discuss events. He has represented the country on many previous occasions.
At Kingswood he was a top footballer and athlete, and went on to represent Kandy District. After school he took up body building and weight lifting, and won many events at district and national level. He is a former president of the Sri Lanka Weight Lifting Federation, where he gave his best to promote the iron sport. Sarath is a vice president of the Kandy Association Football League. (HM)