Even a small kid might know the answer if the question, “What is the national sport of Sri Lanka?” is raised. It’s a stark fact that Sri Lankans are much more attracted towards the sport of gentlemen; cricket but that doesn’t have the slightest impact on the reputation of our national sport; volleyball among generations. Ample evidence which shed some light on the above fact could be very well observed in the Rajarata university premises during the past few days where the inter-university volleyball championship was successfully held.
From the preliminary stage of the men’s category, players from university of Rajarata (RAJ), Sri Jayawardenapura (SJP), Moratuwa (MOR), Sabaragamuwa (SAB), Colombo (COL), (SAE), Kelaniya (KEL) and Jaffna (JAF) were able to roll through to the quarter finals while the winning squad representing the women’s group consisted of COL, MORA, SJP, RAJ, KEL, PER, SAB and RUH.
29th Saturday had a compact agenda scheduled for the gymnasium of University of Rajarata. Amidst all the passionate masses, the teams which made their way through to the quarter finals were all set to step up the game towards their victories. The scoreboard indicated the same numbers at the end of all the quarter final matches which is 2 – 0, except for the 3rd match where women’s teams from KEL and PER joined in a tough combat for the trophy altering the scoreboard to 2 – 1. SJP and RAJ took the initiative to the day’s work from the first quarter final match which was later followed by MOR vs SAB, COL vs SEA and KEL vs JAF contests in the men’s category and COL vs MORA, SJP vs RAJ, KEL vs PER and SAB vs RUH in the women’s category from which 8 teams got the keys to unlock the semis. COL, RAJ, PER and SAB women’s teams together with the SJP, MORA, COL and KEL men’s teams were competent enough to crawl through the doors to their next big day of semi-finals.
Sunday was indeed full of enthusiasm. All were eagerly waiting for the ultimate owner of the championship to be revealed, of course not through a bed of roses but though sweat courage, dedication, sportsmanship and long hours of commitment. The day dawned through the cheering for MOR and COL players who were exposed to their opponent’s flairs in the inaugural semi-final match. MOR succeeded over COL scoring 3 points against the single point secured by their rivals. The same scoring pattern was followed by the second semi-final of the men’s class held between SJP and KEL from which KEL took one step ahead along the victorious path. On the other hand RAJ and SAB earned 3 points each against ducks from PER and COL teams respectively.
Nevertheless the losing teams never really remained couched. Consolation finals in chase of the designation; 2nd runner up between SJP and COL men’s teams and COL and PER women’s teams were held allowing their mind-sets to be on track once again. SJP (3 – 0) and COL (3 – 1) unleashed their greatest strengths and capabilities in the court securing the most awaited second runner up title in the men’s and women’s categories.
Finally the hearts of the players may have skipped a beat when the time was ripe for the most competitive moment emerged followed by days of strenuous work. The spectators were all set to encourage and admire the expertise of their sons, daughters and siblings. Amidst the blessings and prayers of all the beloveds, MORA and KEL men’s team and RAJ and SAB women’s team showcased their team spirit, skills and cravings towards the essence of the championship. But MORA and SAB teams were weaponed with novel strategies along their trek in search of victory thereby ended up possessing the Volleyball men’s and women’s championships.
In summary MOR, KEL, SJP and SAB, RAJ, COL were ranked the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd of the inter university volleyball men’s and women’s championship 2017 respectively. From the beginning the crowds might bear witness to the relentless efforts as well as the failures of the players throughout, but the overall volleyball championship was not at all an eyesore for the spectators but a fervent sight full of anticipation.
by Nawanjana Maheepala