Kandy sportsmen everywhere but no grounds | Sunday Observer

Kandy sportsmen everywhere but no grounds

Kandy has the proud record of having produced some of the greatest sportsmen be it in the field of rugby, cricket, football, hockey, basketball, athletics, badminton, volleyball, tennis, swimming and in all indoor games such as table tennis, boxing, weightlifting, bodybuilding, billiards and snooker.

But Kandy could reign in sports only with another well equipped ground. Today sport is so popular in Kandy that there is a necessity for another ground, especially for sports like rugby, football, hockey and cricket. Thanks, to the people of Kandy Sports Club they have turned their rugby ground at Nittawela to top standards that helps schools to use it.

The home ground of Kandy SC was Bogambara until 1939 when the British army took over during the Second World War. Kandy SC continued to play rugby at the Bogambara ground without a club house.

In 1949 the Kandy Municipal Council resolved to provide the club with an area of land, a landfill site at Nittawela, a garbage dumping ground to the club. The preparation of the site took approximately five years and it wasn’t until 1954 that Nittawela became the permanent home ground for Kandy SC.

Bogambara Stadium, which helped most sports earlier, is at present not that supportive towards sports and most of the clubs and schools are finding it difficult to play their matches due to high ground charges.

This ground is one of the oldest in the country, which was converted from a lake in 1897. During the early years it became a site for carnivals, games, circuses and gymkhanas during the colonial rule. Gradually, Kandy SC, a few football clubs — St. Anthony’s, Trinity, Sri Rahula, St. Paul’s Dharmaraja and Kingswood made it their venue and staged cricket, football, rugger, hockey and athletics.

The Asgiriya Stadium owned by Trinity College helps cricket and at one time all the international matches were played there and they also give it to the schools for their big matches. They also help clubs when there are no school activities. The Antonian ground at Katugastota is used for their cricket matches and for other sports training. They also help the Old Antonians SC in cricket.

The Lake View ground owned by Dharmaraja College has been neglected. They play their inter-school cricket matches at this venue. Kingswood College converted their pint size ground at Randles Hill to a big one and at one time all their rugger matches were played there.

They are also hoping to play cricket there. Vidyartha College owns a piece of land at Nittawela and that too was given by the Municipal Council 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 but they have their practices and play matches elsewhere. Sri Rahula do their sports on their ground at Katugastota which is fairly old now. Sri Sumangala has no ground, but excel in sports.

Madena Central, Madawela has a small ground and expected a lot from a Minister to do it up for matches. But nothing has been done.

The University of Peradeniya has a separate ground for hockey, athletics, cricket, rugger, football and tennis. At one time the Peradeniya turf wicket was classified among the best in the country.

At one time most of the schools too played cricket and rugby at this venue. Following the lack of suitable grounds the standards of cricket, hockey, rugby and football have their limitations. Kandy at one time had two division one cricket clubs with products from nine schools. Today there are over 10 clubs playing in the Division III but the same story lies with them too.

At present, Kandy is badly in need of grounds for club cricket, football and hockey.

The Kandy Hockey Association has got funds from the controlling body to put up an Astro turf but there is no proper place in Kandy.

Today the weightlifters and body builders have no proper place for their training. Several gyms though available don’t have the necessary material for usage by professionals.

There are no proper venues for volleyball, netball, basketball for use by the poor sportsmen and women. Who will come forward to help them in this matter is the biggest question doing the rounds.