History of SLUSA

In Sri Lankan University history, the first university in Sri Lanka was the University of Ceylon established in 1942 in Colombo. Mr. Brant Little, a Canadian, was the first Director of Physical Education at the University of Ceylon and he was directly involved in students’ sports activities. Mr. Brant Little worked in his tenure of office from 1948 to 1959 at Peradeniya.

In 1959, Mr. Leslie Handunge became the first Sri Lankan Director of Physical Education at University of Ceylon located at Peradeniya. During the period from 1959 to 1982, Mr. Leslie Handunge conceived the idea of inaugurating a series of inter university sports competitions with an aim of fostering a closer relationship among the students, in the then established three universities in Ceylon, improving the performance of universities in various sports and giving a greater impetus and incentive to sports in the two newly formed Universities of Vidyalankara and Vidyodaya. This led to the formation of a properly constituted Ceylon Universities Sports Association.

In 1965, to implement this concept, Mr. Handunge planned an experimental contest in track & field events. He then convened a meeting of Physical Education officers in the three universities. Vidyalankara was represented by Mr. Paster Peiris, Vidyodaya was represented by Mr. Rodrigo and Colombo was represented by Mr. K.L.F. Wijedasa. The other part of the University of Ceylon was Peradeniya which was represented by Mr. Handunge with his members of the Physical Education staff. At this historical inaugural meeting, Vidyalankara & Vidyodaya Universities agreed to participate in this track & field contest despite the numerous and near insurmountable difficulties and obstacles confronting them as newly established universities.

To minimize discrepancies amongst universities, Colombo & Peradeniya, who then together comprised the University of Ceylon, were to participate as separate teams. The contest was organized by University of Ceylon’s Colombo Campus, Mr. K.L.F. Wijedasa as the person who led this project. It was confined to events in which all four participating teams could complete and therefore, hurdling events, pole vault and women’s events were excluded.

As this venture was a success, soon after this, a meeting was held and it was decided to go ahead with the original purpose in which three other competitions were planned. Soccer was to be organized by Peradeniya, volleyball by Vidyodaya, and wrestling by Vidyalankara. This event  was held and it was a great success though no trophies were awarded.

The Physical Education staffs of the universities then decided to continue building up and developing the project and appointed Mr. Lesley Handunge and Mr. K.L.F. Wijedasa as convener and secretary respectively.

From this point onwards the level of inter university sports improved gradually and systematical and the following year, more sports were included in the programme. In 1969 the Ceylon Universities Sports Association was formed. The Vice Chancellor of the Vidyalankara, Dr. K.W. Gunawardene was unanimously elected as the President.
The admission of women students to the Universities of Vidyalankara and Vidyodaya and with Colombo, then a separate University, the programme was extended to include women’s sports and additional sports were also introduced.

At this stage, as the further step going beyond the traditional events, combined university teams were selected and student representation in the associations was instituted. Combined university teams played many matches in Ceylon with foreign university teams and they toured many foreign countries and also played in various national tournaments in the country.

In 1971, Prof. K W. Gunawardene resigned from the office of the President and Mr. Lesley Handunge was unanimously elected as the President. He held the office until 1974. In 1972, Universities Sports Association held competitions in 13 sports while Katubedda Campus, now the University of Moratuwa, which was also accepted into membership, organized weightlifting and body building contests.

In 1974, Prof. M.B. Ariyapala was elected as the President of Sri Lanka Universities Sports Association and he held office till 1979. Then Dr. M.S. Udawela was elected the President and during his period of service the first University Games was organized and held at the University of Peradeniya. Mr. Lesley Handunge did a yeoman service to make this event a reality.

With the establishment of the University of Jaffna in 1976 and their affiliation to the Association, a further progressive step was taken. In the academic year 1978/79, 20 competitions were introduced including swimming and rugby football.

The first Sri Lanka University Games, commonly known as the “SLUG”, was held in 1980 from March 16 to 24 at the University of Peradeniya. From 1980, this distinguished sports festival is held once in a three years in one of the universities in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka  first ever Relay Carnival

University of Peradeniya Inter Hostels Relay Championships– 1954
K.L.F. Wijedasa (Former National Record Holder in 100 m, Former National Athletics Coach & Former Director of Physical Education – University of Colombo)
Student of Arunachalam Hostel, ending 4X200 M. relay.