The ups and downs of sport in Kandy | Sunday Observer

The ups and downs of sport in Kandy

Successful sportsmen and sportswomen from Kandy Sports Club can be proud of their achievements. This was possible due to their keenness, the backing they got from parents, schools and coaches. Records reveal that Kandy has produced some of the best sportsmen and women in rugby, cricket, hockey, football, athletics, table tennis, iron sports, netball, volleyball, lawn tennis, boxing, badminton, cue sports (billiards and snooker), cycling, and swimming.

Today, sports are well organized at school level, thanks to the school, old boys and parents who give a huge boost to these games. What Kandy requires now is the backing and the absence of proper playgrounds is also having a negative impact.

Sports have always been a part and parcel of life in Kandy and everyone longs for the end of the coronavirus for a new beginning.

RUGBY: This sport has become the king of local sports in Kandy as the speed and intensity of the game increases and the number of phases of play multiplies. Players tend to become somewhat oblivious to their basic roles in retaining possession and maintaining continuity of the game. Kandy Sports Club has been dominating the rugby scene for 28 years. They have won the League, Clifford Cup and the Sevens tournaments for many years, which no other club has done so far. Kandy Sports Club has also fed the National team with the most number of players. At school level the game is played at their best by schools like Trinity, Kingswood, St. Anthony’s, Vidyartha, Dharmaraja, St. Sylvester’s, Sri Rahula and Sri Sumangala. This year all these schools were in top form but failed to play matches due to the present situation.

CRICKET: The game of cricket takes pride of place at school level. The schools that are at the top are: Trinity, St. Anthony’s, Dharmaraja, St. Sylvester’s, Sri Sumangala, Kingswood, and Sri Rahula who do well. Sad to say, all school big matches could not be played. Now the KDCA is all out to bring back club cricket to where it was at one time.

FOOTBALL: It was at one time the most popular sport, known as the common man’s game. It has sadly taken a back seat in the recent past. This is because of the substandard organization. Today football in Kandy has lost its appeal. But thanks to the Education department, tournaments were held recently for schools.

HOCKEY: This game has become very popular among the schools. Girl schools dominate the game in Kandy and boys schools too are somewhat on the same level. But the girl schools are on top and club hockey too is back in the scene thanks to the KDHA.

BILLIARDS AND SNOOKER: The Cue game has taken a nosedive in Kandy. There are no tournaments as in the early days. In the past there were inter-club matches, but now it has deteriorated. In the early days, Kings Cue Club, Catholic Club, Lawn Club, Public Service Club, Mahanuwara YMBA, Kandy YMMA, Kandy Garden Club and Peradeniya Faculty Club took the game very seriously and the tournaments were a great recreation to many sportsmen in the evening. Still Mahanuwara YMBA gives the biggest support.

SWIMMING: Kandy schools, especially Mahamaya and Hillwood dominate swimming while Trinity College too is good in the sport and have produced several top champion teams with individuals ranking at the top. Now St. Anthony’s, Dharmaraja and Kingswood too are in the swim.

BOXING: This sport remains a popular sport among the schools. One time kings of the ring were St. Sylvester’s and they continue the good work. Other schools who do well are Vidyartha College, Peradeniya MMV, Sarasavi Uyana, Kingswsood and Dharmaraja. The first school which donned gloves Trinity in 1906 is not taking the sport that seriously.

NETBALL: Schools in Kandy are doing well in this sport and have taken part in most of the tournaments organized by the governing body. Girls High School, Hillwood College, Mahamaya College, St Anthony’s Convent, Pushpadana College, Swarnamali BMV, Hemamali BMV, Seetadevi BMV, Badurdeen Girls College and all the International schools take the game seriously. Netball was first played in Sri Lanka in 1921. The first game was played by Ceylon Girl Guide Company at Kandy High School. The first inter-school match was played between Kandy High School and CMS Ladies’ College, Colombo in February 1925.

ATHLETICS: All schools in Kandy indulge in athletics and are doing very well in this field. Every school promotes it the correct way and conduct their annual inter-house athletics meet on a grand scale.

TABLE TENNIS: In Kandy this game was very popular, but all of a sudden, it nosedived. There is some hope as there are many schools and clubs who are capable of bringing the game back to its former glory.

BADMINTON: There is somewhat a lack of interest in this sport. Something must be done to lift the game. There are not many coaches and should the schools take to it then the game can pick up.

VOLLEYBALL: It is the National sport of Sri Lanka but cricket has gone ahead and is the most popular sport. At a certain time volleyball was a popular game and today the much needed support is not forthcoming for the game. With proper backing this game too could make the news. The first volleyball League was formed in Kandy in 1941.

BASKETBALL: Kandy continues to produce talented players in basketball. Most of the schools that play basketball have done well and have won many tournaments. It is the same in the club sector.

CYCLING: This sport was popular in Kandy and there had been races on many an occasion. For it to be competitive there has to be sponsorship for the sport will spread.

CHESS: Although chess has been popular in schools for quite a long period, Trinity once became All-Island Champions. Dharmaraja, Kingswood, Vidyartha, Sri Sumangala, St. Sylvester’s and St. Anthony’s did their best among the boys while Mahamaya, Hillwood, Girls High School, Pushpadana, Swarnamali, Hemamali, Seetha Devi and some of the International schools, did well in the girls tournaments.

MOTOR RACING: In the early days, Kandy had the Wace Park hill Climb and the Road Race round the Kandy Lake and now for years these two events have no to be seen.