Kandy suffers from lack of Sports venues
Kandy cries in silence due to lack of proper sports venues, when will this be settled. At present schools and clubs in Kandy are suffering without a proper playing field. If they have this facility they could do well in sports. Sports are so popular in Kandy and developing fast that a proper ground is a necessity.
The sports that need such a facility are football, hockey, athletics, rugger and cricket. Thanks, to the Kandy Municipal Council they leased the Nittawela grounds to Kandy Sports Club; which is now a good rugby grounds.
At one time Bogambara Stadium was an asset for sports activities. Earlier when it was under the Municipal Council. But today most of the schools and clubs are finding it difficult to play their matches due to high ground fees, separate payments for marking lines, using the pavilion, referees’ changing room etc. Bogambara is one of the oldest stadiums in the country.
The ground was made when a lake was converted into a sports facility in 1897. During the early years it became a site for carnivals, games, circuses and gymkhanas during the colonial rule. Gradually, Kandy SC, a few football clubs, St. Anthony’s, Trinity, Sri Rahula, St. Paul’s, Dharmaraja and Kingswood make use of it to play cricket, football, rugger, hockey and athletics. It was also used for national games like Elle, Bahu, Thattu, and Guduetc also.
The Bogambara Grounds was elevated to the standard of a stadium in 1972 when the municipal special commissioner at that time M.B. Samarakoon together with sports promoters like the late E. L. Senanayake, E. W. Balasuriya, Noel Wimalasena, M. Shanmugam Superintendent of Police CP at that time, Dr. C. D. L. Fernando, Shelton Ranaraja and M. E. Marikar found a sponsor.
And there was the fullest backing from E. W. Balasuriya who provided financial assistance and helped convert it to a stadium through his carnival profits. There were also many more donors where the names of whom were put up in front of the pavilion.
Most of the schools and clubs heavily depended on this stadium for their sporting activities almost every day and the owners of the grounds- the Municipal Council- obliged. The grounds on such occasions was provides at a nominal rate.
Till 1998 for a term of one hundred years the Kandy Municipal Council was the owners of the Bogambara Stadium. In 1998 the government which was in power took over the ground for refurbishment as they had plans to celebrate the Independence Day, but they failed to hand over the grounds back to the authorities.
In the early days prior to the Asgiriya grounds and the Police grounds, Trinity played cricket at Bogambara. Over to you Ministry of Sports. Today cricket playing schools are suffering. Only Trinity, Dharmarja and St.Athony’s have grounds for matches, but some of the other schools are forced to go out of Kandy and look for venues to play their matches.