Every person who loves hockey in the hill capital is waiting eagerly for the revival of club hockey. The conducting of proper tournaments in Kandy is absent.
The Kandy District Hockey Association today is like a ship sans a rudder
A great effort is needed to bring club hockey in Kandy back to the position it was some years ago. This sport reached great heights in the past particularly when the Kandy District Hockey Association was headed by Roy de Silva. He promoted the game to reach great heights.
He was also at one time the Asian Hockey Federation President, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka and also acting president of the Asian Olympic Council. There was also Wesleyite Dr. A Samad Ismail who introduced hockey to the Royal Ceylon Air Force. He was a great promoter at all levels of the game. At school level, hockey is functioning quite well, thanks to the principals of both girls’ and boys’ schools.
Hockey in Kandy was introduced in 1907, when the Indian Rajput Regiment occupied the Kandy Military Barracks, currently known as Police Barracks. The youth of that era were attracted to hockey and knocked the ball around with borrowed sticks. Youngsters played the game wherever they found a vacant spot when the military men did not turn up for their games.
The first ‘bully off’ in Kandy was in 1907 at the Bogambara grounds, when Kandy Sports Club and the Industrial School team met. The captains of these two teams were Europeans S.R. Hammer and R. Sparks. Later in the 1930s, the game was revived. Looking in to hockey in Kandy, reveals that the game was re-introduced by a veteran of the game P.T. Rajan, father of the famous Rotarian B.D.R. Suri Rajan. It was done with the support of people of the likes of V.D. Paul Raj and, J.O. Mendis of Kingswood College and M.S. Jainudeen, the doyen who promoting hockey in Kandy.
Late P.T. Rajan, who came from India as an educationist, arrived with a hockey stick in hand. He was keen and soon went about popularizing the game in Kandy. The rest is history with the game spreading and flourished in Kandy. The Kandy District Hockey Association was established in the early 1940s.
In 1944, the Kandy District Hockey Association conducted one of its finest tournaments. Fourteen teams participated in the league. They were St. Anthony’s ‘Hotspurs’, Trinity ‘Rabbits’, Kingswood, Police, CLI (Army), Kandy Rovers, Sampans (Army), Blue Jays (Army), All Anglo Indians, Parklands (Army), Indians Legionaries (Army) and South East Command Team of Lord Mountbatten’s staff.
The Kandy Rovers having the better side, including Philip Bultjens, came on top. He excelled in all games he played. Some of the other notable hockey players at that time were Douglas Bartholomeusz, F.H.B. Wood, Sam Elhart, Victor Ratnawale and H.W. Bobby Jayaweera.
During the next few years, the standard of hockey was maintained and in 1950 P.T. Rajan presented a trophy called the P.T. Rajan Cup for the league. During those early days, in addition to the P.T. Rajan Cup, there was a M.S. Jainudeen Cup for the League runners-up, K.P.M.M. Seyed Ahamed Challenge Cup for the Seven ‘A’ Side tournament and the V.H.L. Anthonisz Challenge Cup for the knock-out tournament.
Later, M.S. Jainudeen took over the mantle as President and P. Thangavelu became the Secretary of Kandy District Hockey Association. It was Thangavelu who improved hockey at St. Sylvester’s. People like P.T. Rajan, M.S. Jainudeen, Bobby Jayaweera, Rev. Fr. Robert M. Perera, S.R. Hamer, Philip Bultjens, G.H. Robinson, George Mant, K. De Lanerolle, Dr. V.H.L. Anthonisz, R.B. Wijekoon, Lesley Handunge, P. Thangavelu, A.L. Perumal, P. Balasubramanium, M.D. Rupasena, Dr. A. Samad Ismail, Roy de Silva, Parine Silva, D.R. Rajalingam, I.M. Anwer and Rtd. DIG Lakshman Senaviratne offered their best services to the sport.
Every person who loves hockey in the hill capital is waiting eagerly for the revival of club hockey. The conducting of proper tournaments in Kandy is absent. The Kandy District Hockey Association today is like a ship sans a rudder.
The hockey-loving public in Kandy humbly appeal to the Sports Minister to put things in order, investigate and revive this sport.