Wrestling at USJ

“In other sports your body is a tool. In wrestling, it’s your weapon.”Thus, using the body as the only weapon, the combat-grappling sport ‘wrestling’ is played by two opponents, who fight each other to win points. Wrestling is one of the oldest sports played today and was initially introduced in the ancient Olympics in the 708 B.C. In general, it is a self-defensing game and has evolved into different forms over time. The sport mainly depends on the physical fitness of the athlete and the skills and techniques he/she has mastered. Generally, wrestling is played in 2 sets, three minutes each with a 30 seconds break between each of them. The winner of the game is chosen based on the score gap or by knockout; where both the shoulders of the opponent must touch the mattress.

When considering the scoring of this game, 1 or 2 points are given when the opponent is struck at ground level. 3 points are given when the strike is made at a medium height and 4 points are given when the strike is made at a larger height. The players are required to wear two colors; blue and red. There are 10 weight categories in general and 6 weight classes for Olympics. This intense game is played on mattress which has a circle of 8m diameter with an outer cover that spreads for 1.5m. There are sets of rules and regulations to be obeyed during the game and penalties and warnings will be given to players who breech those rules. The game is conducted by a jury and referrers.

The journey of this combat game started in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 1975 when it was still a Piriwana. Master Jinadasa Sir served as the coach for the early wrestlers of the University. Our athletes won championships during the years 1980-1990. The latest journey of success in J’pura wrestling began from the year 2015, where our wrestlers secured 4th place in the Inter-University Games. They were also placed 3rd and 2nd in the following Inter-University Games in the years 2017 and 2018 respectively. Our athletes secured 2nd place in the SLUG 2016 and made their way to win the championship in the SLUG 2019. Our wrestlers have fought their ways on individually as well. Although Uwin Ariyarathna won a gold medal in the 2015 Inter- University Games and silver medal in 2017 inter university tournament and Isuru Lakmal Rathnayake had won gold medals consecutively for 4 years from 2016 to 2019.Lasantha Gunawardene the captain for 2016 SLUG won Silver medal for 2015 inter univeristy games and been able to won 2 gold medals consecutively for 2016 and 2017. In the year 2017, Bhanuka Monarawila won a silver medal and lead the team in 2018. Dushyantha Wicramasinghe secured a silver medal in 2018 and in 2019 and had also led the team to win the championship in the SLUG 2019. Our players have also made their way on serving the country. The captain of J’pura wrestlers in the year 1985, Mr. Chulananda who’s the Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has also served as the Custom Director General and Sports Ministry Secretary. It’s always a privilege to mention our Head Coach Mr. Kelum Fernando, who’s the assistant coach for the Sri Lanka Navy Wrestling team and national champion for the weight category for 17 years, for the dedicated guidance he has been providing our young wrestlers. The team has also organized a wrestling tournament in memory of Master Jinadasa in 2017 named ‘Master Jinadhasa Trophy’.

Furthermore, Hasanka Kapukotuwa, the vice-captain of the team for 2020, has won gold medals at both the Inter university and SLUG been held on 2018 and 2019. Notably, he was also a junior national weight class champion and so was Pushpika Sandaruwan. He was also a gold medalist at the Inter-University Games in the 2018. The notable achievements at the National Freshers Wrestling Tournament organized by the Wrestling Federation of Sri Lanka were the securing of a silver medal by Ravindu Hansaka in the 86kg weight category, gold medal for Suresh Malinda in the 92kg weight category, gold medal for Kanishka Dilshan in the 70kg weight category and a bronze medal for Dhanushka Sampath in the 65kg weight category. Last but not the least, the captain of the team for 2020, Navin Rajapaksha, is a gold medal winner in 2019 under the 79 kg weight category in both SLUG and the freshers tournaments.

Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that count. And it’s a privilege to applaud our passionate gladiators who never lose that courage and continue to fight their ways in! We, at J’pura Flames would like to wish the team all the very best in their future endeavors as they climb up the ladder of victory, adding sparkle to the title of USJ in each of their steps taken.

Article Written by: Marian Rachel
Graphic designed by : Jithmi Rajapaksha

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