Sri Lanka Amateur Baseball/Softball Association (SLABSA) joined hands with Horizon Campus, along with Healthcare partner; Ninewells Hospital to improve the game of baseball in Sri Lanka.
Although it is not as widely acclaimed as cricket, rugby or other sports in the Island, Baseball is rapidly gaining popularity. Currently Sri Lanka is ranked 40th in the world out of the registered 120 nations, and are ranked 7th in Asia out of 26 countries.
The National Men’s team has improved its prowess by winning the West Asia Cup in 2017, and bagging a Bronze Medal at the Asia Baseball Cup held in Indonesia in 2015. The Sri Lanka Baseball team took part in the 2018 Asia Games and performed reasonably well registering its first win in the tournament.
In addition, the U18 National team is ranked 5th in Asia. This goes to show that Sri Lankan players have the ability and the potential to shine on the field.
Baseball was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1985 by the American Embassy to two schools and two clubs, with the very first game played in the same year. It has been an amateur sport in Sri Lanka since its inception. Colombo, Kandy and Galle, the three main districts have embraced the game, and have formed what is popularly known as the Baseball Triangle.
In addition, Baseball has caught on in Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Currently it is being played at the University level and has gained enough stature to be included in the University Games.
SLABSA is striving to achieve an ambitious goal of broadening its reach island wide, to cover all 9 provinces, 25 districts and 98 educational zones by the year 2025.
Reputed educational institution ‘Horizon Campus’ has partnered with SLABSA to take the game to the grassroots level, where they believe the hidden talent lies. Sri Lanka’s baseball players come from all corners of the island since the game is similar to Elle and Cricket, which is by far the most popular sport in the country.
Speaking about the ambition for the future, Fazil Hussain the President of SLABSA said;
“We believe that Sri Lanka has the potential to be a super power in the future,” he went onto say that SLABSA is privileged to have the former Army Commander, General Daya Rathnayake to Head the Development Committee.
“We are certain with his knowledge and energy, baseball will be a sport to be reckoned with,” he added.
Looking to the future, Hussain said, “We are confident that baseball will be one of the top 5 sports in the island, and baseball players will be able to get scholarships to play in the American Professional League in the near future.”
The SLABSA will be conducting their first development program in Jaffna, and then will move to Kilinochchi during the 1st week of October. To date Sri Lanka has 30 clubs playing in the National League, and 28 Schools taking part in the schools’ tournament.
SLABSA is privileged to have two Japanese volunteer coaches based in Sri Lanka along with baseball grounds at Diyagama where tournaments will be conducted. Currently the SLABSA is working with the Sports Ministry to develop the Diyagama Stadium into state of the art venue.
Commenting on the involvement of Horizon Campus with Baseball, Nilantha Rathnayake – Group Marketing Director said;
“We are proud to be part of this project to develop baseball in Sri Lanka. We are already making our mark in the region and I believe that this sport will benefit the youth across Sri Lanka.”