Boxing at USJ

\’Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.’

A self- defense training game practiced at all levels from schools, universities, national, continental and up to Olympic Games and indeed disciplines the sportsmen and sportswomen through self-control is none other than boxing. This sport bears witness to a prestigious history where the earliest evidence of boxing dates back to Egypt around 3000 BC. While boxing was introduced to the ancient Olympic Games by the Greeks in the late 7th century BC, it officially began in England in the 17th century.

With the inception of Sri Lankan School Boxing in the early 1900s among few well known schools, it has grown to include more than 150 schools to date. The School Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (SBA) together with the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Education and the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) is responsible for boxing at school level. Boxing has been one of the major sports in school sports\’ calendar producing international players for the country. However, boxing beyond school level remained a dream for many boxers until recent past.

Although boxing was present as a sport at university level, the last four decades bore no memories of that sport. Yes, it was four very long silent decades for all aspiring boxers who performed extremely well at school level which includes accolades in various categories such as Men & Women School Nationals (Junior Nationals), 1st Schools’ Women Boxing Championships 2019, LV Jayaweera Boxing Tournament, 51 TB Jayah Boxing Tournament, All Island School Games / Stubbs Shield Boxing Championships, School Boys & Girls Championships ( 13 & 14 years) for Dian Gomes Challenge Trophy, Junior Boys & Girls Championships ( 15 & 16 years) for Mr. Herbert Embuldeniya and Neiva Embuldeniya Challenge Trophies, Youth Boys & Girls Championships ( 17 & 18 years) for Gen Jagath Jayasuriya Challenge Trophy.

Four decades of silence did not diminish the boxing spirit within the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. In fact, it revived in full strength and it was proven at the Inter-University Friendly Invitational Boxing Tournament which was organized by the University of Peradeniya on the 22nd of February 2019. Bearing title to the Runner-up, our J’pura boxers claimed the ‘Best Boxer Title’ with all five members of the team having won gold medals. This Inter-University Friendly Invitational Boxing Tournament was sprung back to life after four decades and the University of Peradeniya, Sabaragamuwa University, University of Kelaniya, Eastern University and the University of Sri Jayewardenepura actively took part in the tournament.

The best is yet to come is no understatement for J’pura Boxing. While providing hope to all young school boxers out there, USJ boxers have definitely laid the foot path to take USJ boxing to a whole new level. The USJ’s boxing journey of a thousand miles began with the first step of a successful workshop that was held on the 14th of January 2020. This workshop was conducted under the guidance of the Director of the Department of Physical Education, USJ, Dr. Nishanthi Widanage along with the instructors of the department.Mr. Col. Hemantha Weerasinghe who is an International Technical Officer and the Vice President of the Sri Lanka Boxing Association, Mr. Rukman Wekadapola, an international referee and Judge-Three Star grade and an American boxing coach who was accompanied by Mr. Col Hemantha Weerasinghe also enlighted the workshop with their presence.

The workshop included several guest speeches and presentations to introduce the sport and discussed on the technical and medical recommendations that can be introduced to the university level Boxing. Its prime objective was to gather more participation from state universities into this sport while establishing a precise connection with the adjudicators and the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka.

While this workshop was possible within short notice which brought together more than 50 passionate USJ undergraduates, it has undoubtedly laid a strong foundation upon which the present boxing team with their Captain Ruchira Subhashana and their Vice-Captain, Manul Lakshitha will lay the framework required for boxing at USJ.

The first step is always the hardest and our brave USJ boxers have already taken that step under the guidance of the Department of Physical Education, USJ. So rest assured for a successful journey and we wish them all the very best!

Written by: Manesha Fernando
Graphic designed by : Jithmi Rajapaksha

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