At the conclusion of any sports encounter the two teams shake hands exchanging pleasantries among the players. But what happened after the semi-finals at a national Schools hockey encouter was quite different.
Zahira College, Matale and Joseph Vas College, Wennappuwa played in this encounter where Zahira won 1-nil to reach the final. A Zahira player had extended his hand for a friendly shake but what he received was a thundering slap by a lad from Wennappuwa. This took the officials and onlookers by surprise. Fortunately the Zahirian kept his cool and did not retaliate and held his values of sportsmanship.
The coach of the offending team reacted swiftly with spontaneous gesture to diffuse the situation by apprehending the offending player and moving him away. But the damage had been done and the reputation of the school is at stake.
Sportsmen, especially at school level must be taught the values of sportsmanship and take up victory and defeat in the same spirit. Any contest has a winner and the losers must take it up humbly.
This incident took place at the National Schools Games boy’s hockey championship organized by the Ministry of Sports at the Royal College Sports Complex on September 13.