Starting off the new year on a successful note, Sri Lanka Rugby in its “Get Into Rugby” initiative, took the sport to Kuliyapitiya successfully conducting their first training camp with a record participation of over 800 school children.
The “Get Into Rugby” initiative is a concept introduced by World Rugby in their respective member unions in order to widen the sport around the world. The initiative that saw a start last year under Sri Lanka Rugby’s (SLR) development wing conducted several programmes in the districts of Anuradhapura, Kalutara and Mahiyanganaya.
The fourth installment of this initiative kicked off in Kuliyapitiya on the 15th of January in Kuliyapitiya at the Saranatha College grounds. The training camp that started early morning saw a record participation of over 800 school children representing over 20 schools in the Kuliyapitiya district.
The Kuliyapitiya initiative acted as a foundation or a stepping stone for the sport in the region since many of the children who attended the programme were alien to the oval ball game. The instructors conducted several drills and team building games woven around the sport.
In Sri Lanka, rugby is played centered around the capital and is widespread in the central region. There is little representation from Galle and the North Western region. The locality of Kuliyapitiya is lesser known for the sport and SLR hopes that through this initiative that more schools will take up the sport in the coming years.
In an effort to increase the participation of more schools, rugby balls were distributed among the schools and the national body also plans on revisiting the schools with a second step.
Gracing the occasion, Hon. Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara added the following on the initiative.
“We see rugby played only in the districts of Kandy and Colombo mainly. If you take Kurunegala Maliyadeva College and St. Anne’s are the only schools. This should change and rugby should be a universal sport that should be played around the country.”
“Through this programme, I believe more schools will take on the sport and we can have more school teams playing the sport” he further added.