There’s more to Kandy, Sri Lanka’s renowned Hill Country capital, than historic glories and echoes of Britain’s colonial rule. Although indeed rich in heritage, and with peerless scenery, it also excels in sport.
Sporting prowess plays an important role in the lives of locals and visitors alike, with regular national and international fixtures attracting a widespread following among our various legions of aficionados.
Rugby may be the most popular among the lads, with cricket a close runner-up, but the girls are also well represented in netball, badminton, athletics, basketball, you name it.
Much of the credit must go to the local schools, which instill a love of sport and sporting achievement from an early age, with a result that Kandy has produced many national captains at cricket, rugby, athletes, football and hockey.
So it’s fitting that The Nation newspaper should provide an account of how sport had been nurtured and encouraged from the earliest days, an example being cricket, which dates back to the 1860s and “was mainly played then by members of a club known as Kandy Dancing, Boating, and Rowing Club”.
“In 1896, this club became the Kandy Sports Club. It is with great pride that folks of Kandy recall memories of the first unofficial Test which was played in Kandy at the Bogambara grounds in 1889.”
But it is rugby that is the popular sport and crowd-pulling game, “because Kandy SC is the one and only club outside of Colombo playing the game at the highest level. They are the reigning club rugby champions”.
Hockey at school level is a is a similar story, “with most of the schools, especially girls’ schools, dominating the game”, while basketball is thriving and table tennis and badminton are “in good shape with participation at every level being more than satisfactory”.
Meanwhile, 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, especially at school level”.
Read the full report here.