The SLUG is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the Sri Lankan University calendar. Held triennially from 1980, this sports festival is looked upon as the ‘local Olympics’ by the university sporting community. It provides the young undergraduates of the country with a great opportunity to prove themselves highly talented not only in academics, but also in the sporting arena.
The idea of a university sports festival was first brought forward in 1980 by Mr. Lesley Handunge, who was the director of Physical Education at the University of Peradeniya. Mr. Handunge was a skilled sportsman himself, who had represented Sri Lanka in the Olympics and had led the Sri Lankan team at the World University Sports Festival. He was keen to organize a university sports championship among the local institutions in line with the standards of the Olympic Games. This suggestion resulted in the first Sri Lanka University Sports Festival, held at the University of Peradeniya, with the participation of six universities in 20 sporting events. Today, it is known as the Sri Lanka University Games, with 14 universities participating in it. Ten SLUG championships have been held up to now since its inception, with the exception of the year 1989.
At present, the SLUG is hosted once every three years by one of the participating universities. During its course, 35 events are held under 22 sporting categories. The last SLUG was organized by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and the championship was won by the University of Colombo. The UOC has also won the highest number of championships in the SLUG history, with seven wins, while the University of Peradeniya has gained the championship thrice.
This year, the 11th Sri Lanka University Games will be hosted by the University of Moratuwa, from the 2nd to the 12th of May. The universities joining the event will be the University of Colombo, University of Peradeniya, University of Moratuwa, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Kelaniya, University of Jaffna, University of Ruhuna, Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, University of Visual & Performing Arts and Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka. It is anticipated that there will be stiff competition and that all sides will show their highest talent and sportsmanship to achieve the much coveted championship title. The teams are already in training for the most looked forward to event of the year, hoping to prove their talent and win the glory of victory.
The SLUG is not just another sports festival for the university community. It brings together young men and women from all over the land, forging new bonds through the shared experiences, while providing a platform for athletes and encouraging the growth of university sports. It is to be hoped that the 11th SLUG championship contributes further to these aims and marks another great step in the Sri Lankan University sports history.