The Overseas School of Colombo (OSC) teaches and conducts various sports and sporting activities not strictly for the purpose of accumulating a raft of competitive accolades but rather with a more meaningful goal in mind. Preaching the message of a healthy lifestyle through the continued practice of a range of extra-curricular activities, the school has seen many of its students blossom into gifted all-round sportsmen and women.
In fact this well established school, which is part of the South Asian International Schools Association (SAISA), stresses the importance of physical education by including it as a compulsory subject in its curriculum for every one of its students.
Being a part of SAISA dictates that the majority of the school's competitive exposure comes in foreign tournaments against other SAISA affiliated international schools from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Nevertheless the school does on occasion compete against a few local schools such as Colombo International School and Ananda College, mainly in basketball or cricket.
Incidentally basketball does accommodate a spot as one of the school's marquee sports, a position it sometimes has to share with soccer. Throughout 2010 OSC's men's basketball team excelled, incorporating a mixture of flair, stringent defence and aggressive offence to stifle a number of their opponents. This brand of play helped them rocket past many of the ten other foreign international schools competing at the SAISA Basketball Championship and placed them fifth overall.
OSC's achievements on the soccer field in 2010, however, have eclipsed those on the basketball courts, especially with regard to the girls' team. The talented young ladies produced a dominant display during the SAISA Soccer Championship to walk away with the runners-up trophy. Skipper Ayla Yurtaslan played no small part in this success, constantly marshalling her players from her position in midfield. Another crucial cog on the team was striker Saba Rewald who slotted in five goals throughout the competition.
School Administrator Dharshana Abeysekera says that the success recorded last year in both soccer and basketball serves as a testament to the boundless talent present at the school, but asserts that sporting growth at OSC is not merely measured in wins and losses.
"We emphasize the importance of remaining healthy by taking part in sports. It doesn't have to be always about competition but also about enjoying what you are doing and getting a complete sporting education," he exerts.
Giving credence to Dharshana's statement are the many unconventional extra-curricular activities offered at the school. Housed in their spacious sports complex is a large climbing wall and a large swimming pool occupied by several students seated in rafts, gently rowing their way across the water's surface. Clearly these are not sights most people are accustomed to seeing in any of the country's other educational institutions.
In addition the complex also holds sprawling soccer fields, numerous indoor and outdoor basketball courts, a volleyball court, a newly constructed and fully equipped gym as well as cricket nets.
Dharshana mentions that another important message the school continuously attempts to instill in its burgeoning sports stars is the value of good sportsmanship.
"We expect them to give their best but we also teach them that winning is not everything and competing in the right spirit is just as important."