Final call to restore Kandy’s playgrounds | Sunday Observer

Final call to restore Kandy’s playgrounds

10 May, 2021

There have been several requests from veteran sportsmen and elders of Kandy to the Municipal Council, which was formed under the Municipalities Ordinance of 1865, to up-grade playgrounds and restore the former names associated with these sporting venues.

From the day these grounds were commissioned, they provided a big boost for sports. A look into these playgrounds reveal that the concept was introduced in 1938. The first was the Wewelpitiya playground also known as Rekade ground. Then came the Victoria Drive playground and the third was the Deyanawella playground.

The Getambe playground was also famous. It is a small ground and the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake redeveloped it. Then came a proposal to rename this ground as the Gamini Dissanayake Playground. But being a genuine lover of sports he did not want any name change.

At present there are 24 playgrounds across the city and many of them need to be upgraded as they have reached the end of their life spans along with 45 community centres where indoor sports are played. These sporting venues have not only helped the very young, but also people of older ages, teenagers and adults.

All playgrounds under the Municipal Council are pocket size, no matches can be played. Every playground in recent times has come out with side wickets for playground staffers, who are coaches to conduct their academies. Today name boards are bigger than the ground.

The only ground they had for matches was Bogambara and that was taken over by the Sports Ministry in the late 1990s and the loss of this ground is badly felt. When Bogambara was under the Municipality the ground charge was only a few hundred rupees but today it is in many thousands. There are several sportsmen and sportswomen who started their sports at these playgrounds, which helped them to play for the district and country.

Kandy’s elderly citizens are also warning that without proper playgrounds, children are being taken away from their childhood passions and drawn towards shady activities without the right inspiration. The main question being asked is who or what is preventing these playgrounds from being upgraded. Is it politics or money, or ignorance, they ask.

It is even reported that notorious activities take place at some of these grounds after sunset.

Kandy is home to many schools, some of them are the island’s oldest schools. And out of these schools only a handful have their own playgrounds while the rest use Municipal playgrounds.

The Mayor of Kandy owes it to sports followers and the thousands of school children to take drastic action and restore these playgrounds that cannot be neglected any longer. In the past sport was considered important for the development of young people. Today one wonders what is there left for the development of young people if sport is just confined to books and papers.