Carrom at USJ

Carrom, a game that brings people together has its roots going back to the Indian subcontinent. Though the exact origin is unknown, a theory exists where it is believed that the Indian Maharajas invented the game. Due to reasons such as being a simple, unique game which demands physical dexterity and mental focus carrom is enjoyed by many. It requires a good sense of angles and superlative precision.

It is a tabletop game that falls under the category of “Finger Billiards”. The general idea of the game is to flick the striker at the carrom coins/men with the aim of directing them to fall into any of the four corner pockets. The winner is declared as the first player or team to pocket their relevant coins and sometimes the Queen. Carrom is either played as singles or doubles.

At an international level in 2012, National Carrom champion Mr Nishantha Fernando was able to adorn Sri Lanka with gold by winning the World Championship in Men’s singles event. In 2018 Sri Lanka beat India and proceeded to win the “Men’s Carrom World Championship 2018” at the tournament held in South Korea.

University of Sri Jayewardenepura has an extraordinary vision of producing undergraduates excelling in many diverse fields. Under that vision in the year of 2010 both Men’s and Women’s Carrom teams were established. Both teams have been able to grab many enthralling wins for mother J’pura.

The men’s team was able to secure the 4th place in the Sri Lankan University Games (SLUG) in 2019 and was also placed 4th in the Inter-University Carrom tournament titled “Grip to Grip”, organized by the University of Kelaniya. Apart from those wins, several individual achievements are also noteworthy. T.A.S Udayanga Palamure was placed 2nd in 2016 & 2017 and 3rd in 2018 in the North Central Provincial Games.
Player Indrajith Pathirana secured the 5th place in Sabaragamuwa Provincial Games held in 2017. Malshan Sooriyaarchchi clutched the 4th place in Sabaragamuwa Provincial Games held last year (2019).

The men’s Carrom team of USJ has been steered to victory by a set of exceptional personalities over the years. The current captain of the team is Malshan Sooriyaacrachchi and the vice-captain is Lahiru Dilshan.
The women’s Carrom team of USJ has equally performed well in the arena. Many victories shine in the name of the team and the individual players. In the Sri Lankan University Games (SLUG) the team emerged champions in 2010 and was placed 3rd in 2019. Additionally, they have secured winning positions in the Inter University Carrom Championship in several years. In 2012 USJ women’s team was declared champions in the tournament, in 2011 the team won the 3rd place, in 2017 they emerged as the second runner up and in 2018 they managed to hold the 4th position.

The star players of the women’s Carrom team holds many individual victories for themselves. Over the years there have been four instances where the team members were SLUSA colors winners. Namely,
1. Neranji Sathruwani (2011)
2. Ruwandi Fernando and Neranji Sathruwani (2012)
3. Waruni De Zoysa and Piumi Siyambalapitiya (2017)
4. Ushani Kottahachchi (2018)
Neranji Sathruwani is a remarkable player that the women’s team of USJ has produced. Some of her achievements are indeed worth mentioning. Under the women’s singles category she was placed 6th at the 24th Federation Cup 2012 organized by the Carrom federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL), 8th at the 12th President Cup 2012 (CFSL), 6th in Grand Slam Carrom Championship (CFSL) and she emerged as the champion in 2014 at the Lanka Plate Carrom Championship (CFSL). She clenched the runners up title under the Women’s doubles category at the same event in 2014. Furthermore she has won J’pura Warna Special Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In the National Sports Festival held in 2019 USJ Carrom players excelled in many events. M. Oshadhi Madhushani was the 2nd runner up in Sabaragamuwa Province Singles category and 1st runner up in the team event. Tharuka Dhananjani was also a notable player in the event. She was placed 4th in the North Western Province Singles category and 2nd in Provincial Doubles category.
All of the victories the women’s Carrom team of USJ was made possible by the remarkable players who worked hard as captains and vice captains of the team throughout the years. For the term 2020, the current team captain is Vinuri Nirodya while Jayani Wimalasooriya is the vice-captain.

Both men’s and women’s Carrom teams of USJ have had the privilege of being guided in the correct path by brilliant coaches who molded them into champions.

Ms. Chalani Liyanage was the coach of both the teams from 2014-2015. She is a national ranking player in Sri Lanka who has represented the country at the Carrom World Championship numerous times. She kick started her career in Carrom back in 2005 where she was able to beat the current champion of the time- Ms Yashika Rahubaddha and clinch the national Carrom title. She remained unbeaten as the national woman champion for many years and is continuing her journey representing the country with flying colors.

The 20 times national champion in Sri Lanka -Ms. Amitha Wickramasinghe coached the men’s team from 2015-2018 and is also the current coach of the women’s team from 2015. Her previous experience as a coach to many national and world champions in Sri Lanka undoubtedly makes her a great asset to USJ women’s Carrom team.

Moreover, she is currently working as a board member of the Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka after her retirement from the game. She is being loved and cherished by the team members as she is considered to be the “pillar of success and strength of the team”.

The current coach for the men’s Carrom team of USJ is Mr. A.C.M Aslam. He has an excellent track record in regard to the game. He was the champion of the NOVICES all island Carrom tournament held in 2018 and is currently a shining player of Sri Lankan Army Carrom Pool. He is considered as the “diving force” for the SLUG tournament achievement of men’s Carrom team by his players.

J’pura Carrom has undoubtedly held the name of the university high with their amazing performances since its inception back in 2010. This is J’pura Flames wishing them more success in years to come and more strength to the teams to uplift the game to new levels!

Written by: Samitha Ranasinghe ✍️
Graphic designed by : Jithmi Rajapaksha

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