Captain Yoshitha Rajapaksa in a sporting battle against Singapore in Manila
With her gleaming azure skies, lush rolling hills, pristine golden beaches and deeply satisfying year-round mild weather Sri Lanka has not only become an increasingly popular holiday destination, but has today strengthened her image as a spectacular sporting destination, offering unforgettable experiences in surfing, sailing, scuba diving, golfing, trekking, cycling and much much more...
Words Kamalika Jayathilaka Photography Dennis Muthuthanthri
Cricket is one major sport that has pulled the heart strings of the majority Sri Lankans from time immemorial, becoming an inseparable element of the culture and identity of the devout islanders. The first recorded cricket match in Sri Lanka dates back to the early 1800s; and even though Ceylon was playing first class cricket by 1905 it was in the 1975 inaugural World Cup that the country made its international debut and since then, the country has produced a few exceptionally talented and internationally renowned cricketers. The peak of Sri Lankan cricket was when the team won the 1996 World Cup.
In the fast-track 21st century not only has the members of the cricket team become frequent globe trotters trying the aptitude of various international competitors, but have also managed to bring down teams from around the world for various cricketing tours that the country has hosted. The fans that accompany their teams on these occasions like the recent ‘England Tour', enjoy a good display of cricket while experiencing the luxury of the culture and beauty of the country.
Currently, rugby is an equally enjoyed sport in Sri Lanka. Having the longest tradition of club rugby in the Asian region dating back to 1879, the Sri Lanka National Rugby Union Team competes regularly in the Asian Five Nations Tournament. It was not long ago that the budding young players of the present national team led by Captain Yoshitha Rajapaksa energetically beat Taipei and Singapore in the earlier league encounters before an outstanding performance against champion Philippines at the finals. The promising sport has much potential in bringing future fame and glory to the country. With cricket and rugby having made firm ground in the island with international repute, along with its ideal location, Sri Lanka is now in a position to offer training facilities to top quality international teams to train during their winter off-seasons.
International golf enthusiasts who have already had a taste of the sport in
Sri Lanka keep booking regular golfing holidays within the beautiful isle.
The year round temperate tropical climate in the tiny island is also ideally appropriate for another globally popular sport: golf. Even though Sri Lanka is relatively unknown as an international golfing destination, the country boasts of four of the finest and contrasting 18-hole courses in Asia. The Victoria Golf Club a championship golf course in Kandy, on the banks of the Victoria Lake, the oldest golf course in Sri Lanka in Nuwara Eliya amongst the lush mountain range, the Royal Colombo Golf Course in the heart of the city and the latest addition Eagles' Golf Link near China Bay in the eastern town of Trincomalee. Playing on the island's four golf courses is similar to playing in completely different countries owing to the diversity in the elevation and climate conditions in each location. Furthermore, a range of alternate activities are available in each destination such as aqua sports in Trincomalee, trekking, mountain biking and horse riding in Nuwara Eliya and shopping in Colombo. International golf enthusiasts who have already had a taste of the sport in Sri Lanka keep booking regular golfing holidays within the beautiful isle.
Sri Lanka is also becoming increasingly sought after for surfing and other aqua sports being home to some of the most remarkable and reliable beaches in the world. The best surf points in the country are located in the Southern and Eastern coasts with Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa being some of the most popular and busiest. Other beaches such as Unawatuna, Ahangama, Weligama, Mirissa or Yala are also reputed for a good surf. The country's East coast is bright and sunny during mid-year when the more popular Western and Southwestern beaches face strong winds and rain during a seasonal monsoon. While the surf season in the South of Sri Lanka is from November to April, the one in the East lasts from May to October.
Moreover, on-shore reefs and coastal wrecks offer ideal diving sites to explore the fascinating multi-coloured world underwater. Trincomalee and Arugam Bay have greatest visibility from May to September, when the seas are calm and Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Mirissa in the South and Southwest from November to April have a range of excellent dive sites with impressive visibility. Negombo and Kalpitiya have lately become two of the hot-spots for kitesurfing, which is another adventure sport available in the country. among a lot of tourists. Diving, snorkelling, scuba diving are some of the already popular diversions in the Southern and Eastern coasts of the island not to mention wind surfing as well as water-skiing.
The abounding inland waterways in Sri Lanka also offer a wide range of experiences from gentle canoeing rides along the lowlands to thrilling white-water rafting on the much more turbulent rivers. Canoeing and Kayaking offers an ideal opportunity to explore the backwaters, the riverside villages and flora and fauna while floating on the calm waters. Also, during May to December when the water is the highest and fastest in the Kelani and Walawe rivers white water rafting can be a thrilling experience for the adventure seekers.
Be it riding the cool waves off the golden coasts or taking to the skies with a rush of adrenaline in a hot air balloon or a laid back sail through the inland backwaters, Sri Lanka is increasingly becoming a spectacular sporting destination offering a world of opportunity for the sporting enthusiast with an overwhelming holiday in the beautiful Indian Ocean.
Highlights of the Rugby Calendar Year 2012/2013
May - Carlton Super Sevens 1st Tournament.
June - Carlton Super Sevens 2nd Tournament.
June - September - Rugby League "A" Division
October - Knock Out Tournament "A" Division & "C" Division
March 2013 - Rugby League "A" Division
September 2012 - Borneo 7's
September 2012 - Shanghai 7's
October 2012 - Thailand/India 7's
November 2012 - Singapore 7's