Baseball drive in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Baseball drive in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Baseball is joining hands with Horizon Campus, Colombo, to improve the sport in the country. Although it is not as widely acclaimed as cricket, rugby and basketball, baseball is a sport that is rapidly gaining popularity according to the promoters.

Currently, Sri Lanka is ranked 40th out of the 120 registered countries worldwide and ranked seventh in Asia.

Last year Sri Lanka won the West Asia Cup and bagged a Bronze medal at the Asia Baseball Cup held in Indonesia in 2015.

The Sri Lanka team took part in the 2018 Asia Games and performed reasonably well registering its first win in the tournament. Sri Lanka’s Under-18 team is ranked fifth in Asia.

The sport is played mostly in Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura while most of the Universities also play baseball.

The Sri Lanka Baseball/Softball Association (SLABSA) is headed by Fazil Hussain and his hard working Committee who are promoting the game purely on a voluntary basis.

They intend taking baseball to all nine provinces, 25 districts and 98 educational zones by 2025.

“We believe that Sri Lanka has the potential to be one of the super powers in the future and the SLABSA is privileged to have the former Army Commander, General Daya Ratnayake to head the Development Committee. We are certain with his knowledge and energy baseball will be a sport to be reckoned with”, said Hussain.

The Baseball Association will be conducting their first development programme in Jaffna and then moving on to Kilinochchi during the first week of October. To date Sri Lanka has 30 clubs playing in the National League and 28 schools taking part in the schools tournament.

The SLABSA also has two Japanese volunteer coaches based in Sri Lanka along with a baseball ground in Biyagama where tournaments are conducted. Currently the Baseball Federation is working with the Sports Ministry to develop the Biyagama Stadium into a state-of-the-art venue complete with all necessary facilities and accommodation.

Looking to the future, Hussain said: “We are confident that baseball will be one of the top five sports in the island and baseball players will be able to get scholarships to play in the American Professional League in the near future.”