Kandy plays an important role in the countries sports activities. Kandy produced several national players and captains in most of the sports. Today rugby is the most popular sport at club level,witnessed by the largest number of spectators. This is because of Kandy Sports Club being the reigning champions in rugby league and the knockouts 2017. At one time cricket at club level was widely played, and also sports such as football, hockey, volleyball, lawn tennis and boxing. Currently, rugby is at its best, but the other sports lack proper organization and management in the right manner. The cue sport hardly attracts much attention, However basketball, table tennis, athletics, swimming, baseball are popular due to the high participation of students. In all sports schools are at their best. It is in the last couple of years that sports like cricket, football hockey at club level has dropped far below expectations as a result the sports promoters have second thoughts in coming forward to support these sports.
Kandy’s Sportsmen are in dire need for support to take their talent and skills to a higher level, like what the ruggerites do.
Kandy also lacks proper sporting venues. For cricket some schools go out of Kandy to play matches, in the good old days it was the Police grounds and Campus grounds which gave a big hand specially for cricket. Today, Bogambara Stadium is in a poor state. Today all boys, girls and International schools whatever sports they take part do well, a big thank you and a word of appreciation should go the principals, teachers who are involved particularly the old boys and old girls and also not forgetting sponsors who come forward.
Rugger has become the king of Kandy’s sports both at schools and club level. Football has a sad story to tell. This is mainly because no proper guidance and monitoring from the parent or rather the controlling body are not forthcoming. Cricket at school level good, at one time at club level cricket was good as well, and in the last few years it has been neglected. Schools are doing well in hockey specially girls schools. Boxing at school level is good specially Vidyartha, St. Sylvester, Kingswood, Dharmaraja and Peradeniya MV. Trinity produced the first boxer to get into the Olympic ring, the late Lesley Handuge, and St. Sylvester’s produced a boxer Malom Bulner who represented Sri Lanka as a schoolboy at the Olympics and also was chosen to boxer for Australia in the next Olympics Table Tennis which was given a big hand by Municipal Council due to the efforts of the .the late D.H. De Silva who was the commissioner and mayor at that time.
The late Tilak Ratnayake gave the much needed backing to this sport at both school and club level. One time Kandy dominated Body building and weightlifting due to the helping hand from the Kandy YMCA and Mahanuwara YMBA and Kandy has produced some of the top Iron sportsmen at national level. Swimming is very popular in schools, who have pools. Cue sport, billiards and snooker, has also declined. At present, netball is good in schools,and they spend a lot to keep the game going in Athletics there is a growing interest but no proper venues for running. Volleyball is one of the oldest sport, but there is no much of an interest. Lawn Tennis, there is only coaching at club level but schools like Trinity, Hillwood take it seriously.
After discussing how to reactivate sports in the Central Province several corporate bodies came out with the following suggestions : Encouraging sports activities to develop mental and physical health of the youth and aged in the province. Upgrade sports facilities in the province. Helping sports personalities to come to the National and International levels. Carryout development programmes and auditing to upgrade the Co-operate society.
Registering societies. Monitoring trade affairs for registering. Advising and guiding the sources. Monitoring the facilities of the financial status. Sportsmen and Sportswomen who are selected to represent the National Squad is a National Treasurer and should be taken care of.