Kingswood College, Kandy which has a rich history of 120 years as a well reputed education institution from the hill capital has earned a good name in the field of rugby. Having the honour as the first local institution to adopt rugby in Sri Lanka way back in the late 1800s, the school has unique records to its name which are rarely known to many.
|The dream team of rugby for 2015 being prepared at the fully fledged gymnasium
Kingwood is the first boys' school to employ lady teachers apart from being the introducers of rugby to the country. In addition Kingswood is also one of the first five schools in the country to establish a Cadet Corps and the first ever Champions of the Herman-Loos Trophy way back in 1917.
"Only a few know the fact that Kingswood has managed to ranke among the top ten schools in Sri Lanka at GCE Advance Level examinations. But we are far more popular and better recognised when we win a rugby tournament. That's a clear indication on how well balanced our students are in both academic and extra curricular activities," pointed out Ranjith Chandrasekara, the Principal of Kingwood.
The school educates around 3500 students and has nearly 12 active sports where its students show the keenness in playing at least a minor role. Apart from rugby where Kingswood is known to be the cradle of the sport, boxing, football, cricket, karate, basketball, swimming, table tennis, chess and baseball are other sports that are popular at Kingswood. With many students being attracted to its main sport, rugby, Kingswood also sees a fair amount of turnouts to other sports.
|Ranjith Chandrasekara | Principal
"When you consider in numbers believe it or not cricket has the least participation. Despite cricket being the most popular sport in Sri Lanka and in South Asia, Kingswoodians do not seem to be attracted to the sport. Boxing which has a rich history as rugby in Kingswood is the second popular sport," revealed Chandrasekara.
During the past decade where Chandrasekara has been in charge of Kingswood, the school has proved its might in many sports. Rugby, boxing, swimming, basketball and newly introduced baseball have been the succesfull sports for Kingswood during this period.
"We play a big match that has a long history of over 105 years against Dharmaraja. Starngely Kingswood has not done much in the field of cricket during the recent years. That's a major setback. But we are looking at creating an equal level of enthusiasism in all sports," he added.
As a initiative the authorities of Kingswood has introduced a system where young students could make out their choice of sport at an early stage. According to the system Kingswood has included four main sports, rugby, cricket, swimming and karate, as subjects for students of Grade 2 . The motivation of including these sports into the time tables is to give the youngsters the basic idea of the game according to Chandrasekara.
"Youngsters have shown great keenness in following these sports as subjects. After an year of basic training the students will know what is best for them and we after indentifying the potentials will notify the parents so they can decide on a future career for their children sportswise. This system is turning out to be a great success".
Before Chandrasekara took over the reigns as the principal of Kingswood the school had a smaller financial portion for sports activities. But Chandrasekara being a sports enthusiast managed to gather prominent past pupils and parents and generate funds.
Today Kingswood has turned into an institution that gets the greatest support from its former students to assist the talents of the present students.
With this nature of backing during the recent decade Kingswood has contributed immensely to the national stream of sports by producing over 100 sportsmen. Rugby, boxing and karate have been the sports to enjoys the dividends of the successes of Kingswood.
"So far we are proud to say that we have enjoyed very good achievements in sports as well as in the academic field. While enjoying the successes at rugby, boxing, karate, swimming and baseball our students have done well at studies too," Chandrasekara added.
Kingswood enjoys a steady progress at vital examinations conducted by the Ministry of Education. In the recent times the school from Randel Hills have emerged with good results at GCE O/L and A/L exams. Almost 99 percent of the students qualify for advance level classes by obtaining higher marks at the O/L exams. Kingswood also welcomes an average of 45 students per year throught the Grade 5 scholarship programme.
"We have maintained the third rank at Maths and the fifth rank at Bio Science in Sri Lanka for over five years so far which is a good outcome for a school that is doing well at sports. Out of the nearly 3500 almost 1000 students are sportsmen and at least one of them enter the University each year. Those who fail to sit for the A/L exam in their first attempt due to various reasons are also given the opportunity complete their acedemic career in full," he went on to say.
With an overall plan for their students who shine at studies and sports Kingswood also has managed to maintain a high degree status in discipline. The students are often reminded of the term 'Gentlemen of Kingswood' which was adopted by its founder principal LE Blaze since 1891.
"To date we maintain that term with great commitment and the students are now highly accustomed to the standards. During school we see a well disciplined set of students who really behave like 'Gentlemen of Kingswood'. They know the depth of the meaning and how important it is to be a part of this century old custom. We rarely come across with complaints from outsiders saying that our students misbehaved".
As part of their future plans Kingswood has now began working on their future sports teams. The junior teams are potentially being prepared targeting the coming years. However Kingswood too faces a few minor setbacks.
"We managed to complete the swimming pool and a national standard basketball court but maintanance of the ground has been neglected due to various reasons. One of our basic aims is to turn the ground into a condition where we could host cricket, football and rugby matches as we did in the past. At the same time we are preparing our youngsters for the future and one such outfit is the potential first XV rugby in 2015 which we call as the 'Dream team'.
We have such teams for other sports too. Our prime aim is to maintain the existing standards and possibly better the results in both acedemic and sports fields," an optimistic Chandrasekara revealed.