Sri Lankan University Games 2023 : J’pura Makes History

Sri Lankan University Games, also known as SLUG is one of the most anticipated sporting events for state universities in Sri Lanka. The event is held once in a 4 years and this time, after introducing three new sports; beach volleyball, wrestling and weightlifting-women, consisted of 30+ sporting events. Being the chief organizer for Sri Lanka University Games 2023, Eastern University of Sri Lanka held the festive SLUG week from 2nd to 8th of September in Batticaloa. Games started on the 8th of July with rugby football and went on till the last sports road race and beach volleyball held on the 8th of September.

University of Si Jayewardenepura started its winning streak of SLUG in the year of 2016, winning the overall championships for the first time. Continuing this streak 2029 also was a victorious year for us. 2023 SLUG was a significant one as all the sportsmen and women of the university felt the pressure of marking a hat-trick SLUG win. Our students practiced tirelessly, day and night with the aim of winning their own titles. These collective achievements paved the way for us to win all three overall titles at the Sri Lanka University Games 2023. Overall Women’s Championship, Overall Men’s Championship and the Overall Championship of SLUG 2023, signified the dominance of the sports at University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Rugby, with the captaincy of Janith Seneviratne and the guidance of the coaches,was able to win the Championship for 2nd time in history after long 37 years. Adding much significance our players held the record for the highest score at a SLUG or Inter-University Games ( 135- 0) against South Eastern University in the preliminary rounds.

The Cricket team of USJ was unbeatable for many years and in 2023 too, with the guidance of the captain Asel Sigera, and the coach, they managed to become the Champions at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023, winning against the University of Colombo Team in the final. In the preliminary round the our team managed to record the highest score by a team (498 -5) against Gampaha Wickramarachchi University and Umesh Lakshan(Vice Captain) scored 244 runs, setting the record for the highest individual score by a player, in the state university history.

Men’s and Women’s Carom teams achieved remarkable success, both securing the Runners-up position. The Men’s team, led by captain Kanishta Kalhara, notably clinched four consecutive wins with a dominating 5-0 scoreline, showcasing their exceptional skills and strategic prowess. The Women’s team lead by Marshi Nayanathara, also contributed to the university’s triumph, solidifying the university’s presence in the Carom category and adding to its overall success in the sporting event.

Men’s Tennis team from the University of Si Jayewardenepura showcased their resilience and skill, securing a commendable third place in a hard-fought battle against the University of Peradeniya at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023. On the other hand, the Women’s Tennis team continued their reign, earning the championship title and maintaining their impressive winning streak. Under the captaincy of Srinath Udayachandran and Asalya Bandara the team demonstrated a remarkable contribution.

The University of Si Jayewardenepura’s talented swimmers made waves at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023, clinching the coveted champion title with an impressive total of 158 points. The triumph was further elevated by the women’s team, who not only secured victory but also etched their names in SLUG history with seven new records.

Individual brilliance shone through with records set by K.A. Hiruni Sanjana Perera, including the 100m Butterfly (01:11.70 min), 50m Butterfly (31.59 s), and 200m Individual Medley (02:49.30 min). K.A. Hansi Dananjana Perera contributed to the record-breaking spree with remarkable times in the 100m Backstroke (01:16.99 min) and 50m Backstroke (34.37 sec). The women’s team added team achievements with new records in the 4x100m Medley Relay (05:18.09 min) and 4x100m Freestyle Relay (04:45.31 min), featuring the stellar lineup of K.A. Hiruni Sanjana Perera, K.A. Hansi Dananjana Perera, H.M.S. Shenali Herath, and P.V.J. De Costa.This triumph stands as a testament to the dedication and hard work of the swimmers, under the leadership of captains Nomin Premaratne and Waruni Liyanage.

baseball team, led by Captain Chamara Sankha, marked an impressive comeback at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023. After an outstanding winning streak, the team not only secured qualification for the final round but also emerged with the prestigious runner-up title. This achievement is particularly significant as it signifies a breakthrough following last year’s setback. The players’ passion and unwavering determination played a pivotal role in securing their place at SLUG 2023

The Netball team lead by the captain; Shanika Ekanayake, secured a hard-fought 3rd place, navigating through a thrilling semi-final battle against the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka where they narrowly lost by 4 points. Undeterred, in the consolation match against the University of Colombo, our team displayed resilience and emerged victorious by a margin of 2 points. The netball team’s journey in SLUG 2023 is a testament to their skill, determination, and ability to perform under pressure.

J’pura badminton team continued its legacy of excellence at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023. The women’s team, under the captaincy of Hasara Wijayaratne, added another feather to their cap by clinching the coveted Championship title after a spirited final against the University of Colombo. Meanwhile, the Men’s team, led by Captain Dhanushka Madhura, showcased their prowess and commitment by achieving the honorable position of 2nd Runners-up.

Karate team delivered an outstanding performance at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023, securing a multitude of medals.

In the Women’s Team Kata, they clinched a commendable 3rd place with contributions from P.C. Abhimani, A.A.V. Upeksha, B.T.T. Perera, and M.N.S.N. Mudannayake.

In the Individual Category, the Men’s Team, led by Captain Lakshan Wijeratne, achieved 1 gold, 1 silver, and 4 bronze medals, showcasing their prowess. The Women’s Team, under the guidance of Captain Parami Weeraratne, earned 1 gold, 1 silver, and 3 bronze medals, marking their excellence in individual events.

Overall in Karate, the Men’s Team secured the 5th place, while the Women’s Team achieved a notable 3rd place, emphasizing the collective success and skill of the entire Karate team

In a series of intense battles throughout the Sri Lankan University Games 2023, the Men’s and Women’s Elle teams from the University of Si Jayewardenepura displayed remarkable skill and sportsmanship, securing top positions. The Women’s team, under the leadership of Rasanjalee Menaka, achieved a noteworthy accomplishment by securing the runners-up position. In the climactic conclusion as the last sporting event of the entire tournament, the Men’s Elle team, led by Captain Mahen Fernando, showcased true sportsmanship and emerged as champions.

The women’s hockey team, led by Anjalika Dissanayake, showcased a significant upset, as they defeated the formidable Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka in the semi-finals, a team known for its dominant performances in recent years. Despite an outstanding effort, the women’s team narrowly lost in the finals against the University of Colombo, securing a well-deserved runners-up title. Meanwhile, the men’s hockey team, captained by Lithira Almeida, demonstrated resilience by securing the group’s runners-up position and qualifying for the quarterfinals. Although they faced a setback in the quarterfinal match, their journey highlighted their competitive spirit.

The men’s basketball team lead  Yasindu Jayampathi and from the University of Si Jayewardenepura engaged in a tough battle against the University of Moratuwa in the quarterfinals. Despite displaying determination and perseverance, the men’s team fell short of making it to the semi-finals, facing a formidable challenge in their path.

On the other hand, the women’s team, led by Captain Oshini Kulasekara, showcased resilience and skill, earning a spot in the quarterfinals. However, their journey took an unfortunate turn as they encountered a loss, bringing an end to their campaign but never for their spirit in the sport.

Beach Volleyball made its debut at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023, and the University of Si Jayewardenepura’s men’s team seized the opportunity, securing the impressive position of 2nd runners-up. Despite facing challenges due to limited facilities for practice, the team’s unwavering determination propelled them to this remarkable achievement.

Led by the dedicated captaincy of Dumal Kaveesh and Imashi Budunwela, the Chess teams at SLUG 2023 displayed an effort to achieve their best. Despite facing a series of challenges, the women’s team secured a respectable 4th place in the tournament, while the men’s team,finished in 7th place.

In a momentous achievement, the hardworking football team from the University of Si Jayewardenepura broke a seven-year curse, bringing home a trophy from the Sri Lankan University Games 2023. The team’s journey was marked by intense battles, securing a place in the semi-finals. In a nerve-wracking penalty shootout of 14-13, they advanced to the finals. Despite a valiant effort, the team secured the runners-up title, narrowly missing the champion title to the Eastern University of Sri Lanka on their home ground. The captaincy of Mohammed Mushthaq was pivotal, with his leadership setting the team’s sights on nothing less than championship glory.

The Kabaddi team, led by the captain Dinidu, secured the championship title at the Sri Lanka University Games 2023. After engaging in captivating battles, they advanced to the semi-finals, facing the strong Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. In a show-stopping performance that impressed the entire audience, they secured a thrilling victory with a score of 34-33, qualifying them to the finals. In the championship round, they secured a convincing win against South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, ultimately clinching the Championship title

Following an unfortunate loss in last year’s Inter-University Games, the University of Si Jayewardenepura’s table tennis team embarked on a determined comeback at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023. Both the men’s and women’s teams demonstrated unwavering passion, securing the commendable position of runner-up. In the finals, they faced tough competition from the University of Moratuwa teams, ultimately finishing as runners-up.The hard work and dedication of both team captains, Thilina Vishmith and Gawravi Pigera, played a crucial role in the team’s resurgence.

Taekwondo teams delivered an exceptional performance with the captaincy of Nelufa Sariffodeen and Anjana Senaratne, clinching an impressive medal haul. Both the men’s and women’s teams collectively secured 4 gold, 5 silver, and 3 bronze medals, showcasing their skills in the martial art.The Women’s Taekwondo team, , exhibited outstanding skill and determination, earning the coveted position of runners-up.

The Track and Field team from the University of Si Jayewardenepura achieved a monumental feat at the Sri Lankan University Games 2023, clinching the Overall Championship and Women’s Championship titles. Although narrowly missing the Men’s Championship by just one point, their outstanding performance showcased their dominance in athletics.

Adding further significance to their victory, multiple records were shattered by the university’s athletes:

  • Pole Vault: K.W.G.J. L.B. Wimalasena
  • Discus Throw: A.M.C.I. Athapaththu
  • High Jump: H. Chandrakumar
  • Discus Throw and Shot Put: N.P.L.K. Pathirana
  • 5000m Women: B.W.N. Sewwandi
  • 100m Hurdles: M.A.B. Nilmini
  • 400m Hurdles: N.P.L.K. Pathirana (54.07s)
  • High Jump Men: S.A.T Dasun
  • Triple Jump Men: L.C Kumarasiri
  • 100m Women: D.T.A de Silva
  • 4x400m Men
  • 4x100m Women
  • 4x100m Men

Under the leadership of Captains Dilani Abeywickrama and Supun Dhananjaya, the team reached new heights by securing victory over Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka in the overall Championship, marking a triumphant return after many years.

The women’s volleyball team with the leadership of  Chamindi Fernando, exhibited exceptional skill, securing the well-deserved position of runners-up. In a closely contested final, they narrowly missed the championship, falling just short of victory against the formidable Sabaragamuwa team. The team’s outstanding performance, marked by hard work and commitment throughout the season, highlights their resilience and sportsmanship. On the men’s front, the volleyball team, led by Captain Dilshan Jayewardana, displayed commendable performance by reaching the quarterfinals. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

Weightlifting team lead by Harsha Ekanayake and Srimali Samarakoon was able to lead both Men’s and Women’s teams to becoming the runners up the tournamanet. Women’s teams was able to grab 3 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze, while the Men’s team clenched 2 golds,3 silvers, 1 bronze.Avindu Sasmika set a ecord for the Men’s 67kg Weight Category while D.M.S.Samarakone, representing the 45kg weight class lifted 60kgin snatch method and 75kg in clean and jerk with a total of 135kg and set three new SLUG records. Representing the 64kg weight class, K.I.M. Samarasinghe lifted 60kg in the snatch method, 71kg in the clean and jerk method, and lifted a total weight of 131kg. Representing the 87kg weight class, A.W.W.M. Gunawardena set three new records by lifting 60kg in the snatch method, 70kg in the clean and jerk method and a total weight of 130kg.

The Road Race event at the Inter University Championship 2022 faced a significant setback, but through meticulous planning by Coach Mr. Lahiru Dilankara and the determination of the athletes, J’pura made a remarkable comeback. Overcoming obstacles, the team emerged as the strongest, leaving a lasting impression on everyone, securing their position as champions.

In a historic first for the Sri Lanka University Games, wrestling was included in the tournament for the first time, and the University of Si Jayewardenepura’s team embraced the challenge. Under the captaincy of M.KA.D.P. Kumara, the wrestling team showcased remarkable performance, securing an impressive 4th place in their inaugural appearance.

The triumphant success of the Sri Lanka University Games 2023 was made possible by the collaborative efforts of numerous individuals and entities. The University of Si Jayewardenepura extends heartfelt appreciation to the Vice Chancellor, faculty deans, academic staff, Registrar, Bursar, and non-academic staff for their unwavering support. Special gratitude is expressed to the Sports Advisory Board, the University Alumni Association, and past J’pura sportsmen and women for their encouragement. The Department of Physical Education, under the exceptional leadership of Director Mrs. Nishanthi Vidange, played a pivotal role, supported by instructors and coaches, including Mrs. Ramani Kulathilake, Mr. Lahiru Dilankara, Mr. Nalin Lakshan, Mr. Niluka Perera, Ms. Nayomi Karunaratne, Mrs. Deepika Priyadarshani, and Mr. Naadeera Ginige. The Sports Council led by Srinath Udayachandran, made an  impact and motivated all the athletes for a big win. The collective dedication of the entire department staff, including minor staff and drivers, contributed significantly to the Hat-trick SLUG win, deserving heartfelt recognition for their historic achievement.