Royal College Panadura, a school in the suburbs with a history of only 33 years, has made vast strides in all aspects whether in academic or sports activities and today has become an institution that is being highly regarded in the island.
Since of late their cricketers have been the talk-of-the-town with their giant killing performances when they outclassed top schools with cricketing history of over half a century or maybe more than that.
The recent wins over Thurstan, Wesley and Kingswood were an eye opener for the rest in the island that there is abundance talent in the outstations. All this has been achieved without a ground of their own and with no financial support of any big or small corporates like the schools in the metropolis.
They are also proud that they have one of their past player in Chamara Silva included in the national team for the forthcoming ICC World Cup is from this small school which began cricket just two decades ago.
The school which came into existence in 1978 is going from strength to strength and is now a much sought after institution in the Kalutara district. In the short period whereas sports activities are concerned they have pulled off giant killing performances and surprised some of the top schools in the metropolis.
The incumbent principal Sarathchandra Silva was busy making final arrangements for the annual inter-house sports meet which was scheduled to be held in the afternoon.
But he was able to save some of his time to spell out and explain the success of the school which has just past the three decades barrier. Speaking first of the sports activities he said that the school is involved in 18 sport disciples.
These include cricket, rugby, athletics, badminton, volleyball, karate, boxing, table tennis, swimming which we have been successful due to the efforts put in by the respective people in charge of them.
Likewise the school is not only successful in sports we came out winners at the All Island Schools Debate championship which was contested by 18 schools around the island and won the Professor Gunapala Malalasekera trophy.
Speaking further he said that the school had the best results at the year five scholarships examination last year in the Kalutara district which in fact was better than the national schools in the district.
Going back to the subject of sports the principal goes on to mention that in the sports of rugby too we have been successful and were champions last year in the Under 19 age group and this year we have been promoted.
In badminton too they have been able to win some trophies in the under 12 and 14 age groups. We have also been champions in athletics and divisional and zonal champions in 2009.
But he mentioned that the most successful sport has been cricket in which we have been winning trophies since 1996. The man behind the success is their dedicated coach Sumith Prasanna who has been an inspiration to the boys. His dedication and discipline with a no nonsense attitude has been the mainstay.
"We don't interfere with his coaching or any other aspect regarding cricket because we know it's in good hands. The only shortcoming is that we don't have the support and encouragement that is needed to take sports to greater heights," said Prasanna.
The man behind the scene Sumith speaking says that we are proud that without the basic facilities we have been able to produce national cricketers in both the junior and senior level. Apart from Chamara we had three other players in Manoj Chanaka, Janitha Hewawasama and Kasun Samarasinghe who all represented the junior national team.
Sumith went on to say we have won trophies at all age groups and the icing on the cake was when we were promoted to the top division having won all our tournament matches last year and remained unbeaten.
The school was rewarded with the award for the best outstation team and also had the proud distinction of bagging three individual awards for the best batsman, bowler and fielder at the schools cricket awards ceremony last year.
The latest addition to their cupboard was the Under 13 All Island trophy which they won in January this year. In that tournament too they defeated top schools in the metropolis in the likes of Nalanda, St Peter's whilst overcoming Richmond in the final.
Sumith stated that thanks to the parents the game of cricket is alive at the school. This has been happening for the last few years where the parents get together and do whatever they can.
The boys too are dedicated and go into any match with determination. I get the fullest cooperation from the boys which makes things easy for me. Apart from that the support of the school authorities has been immense.
The principal in conclusion said what we need is some push at least for the two main sports and for rugby matches our goal post is two bamboos but even then it has not deterred our boys.
Nevertheless Royal Panadura is an inspiration for others that nothing is impossible if the dedication and determination is theirs. Maybe we can see more giant killing efforts and surprises from this institution in time to come. - M.Shamil Amit