Royal College and Gateway College will build on the excellent foundation they built by commencing an annual basketball encounter by playing their second game on Saturday, the 22 nd of September 2018. The skill, fun and the excitement that was witnessed in the inaugural game that went down to the wire will be remembered by many as one of the finest games witnessed in the recent past where Royal won by a thin margin of 46 to 43.
This encounter is unique in that a leading National School and one of oldest in the country and a Premier International School and one of the youngest in the island join hands to bond together in healthy rivalry and comradeship. Due attention will be paid to upcoming talent by including an under 15 match before the main under 19 encounter. The girls’ invitation under 19 game between Gateway College and Ladies College will add colour and diversity to the encounter.
Basketball is among the most popular sports in the world. It's a sport which encourages team spirit, solidarity and confidence amongst its players. With this in mind, it's an ideal sport to bridge gaps and bring the communities together and take forward Sri Lanka as a united and healthier nation.
Basketball was first introduced to Sri Lanka in 1917. In November 1950, the Ceylon Basketball Association was formed with John Exter, the Governor of the Central Bank, as President as there was a need for a strong controlling body to govern the sport with the increased participation in the game. Women’s basketball had been introduced in 1961. Royal College introduced basketball as a sport for students in 1958 and since then, they have produced several national and other level captains, players, coaches and administrators. Gateway though new, with a short history of 12 years with the sport, has contributed much by producing many boys and girls who have represented the country. In both schools, it has been a key sport developing the personality of students and acting as a feeder sport to many other games in the school to improve the physical and psychological skills of other sportsmen.
The annual encounter is played for the 'Alles-Gunasekara’ Cup named after two key personalities connected to the two schools. Late Mr. R.I.T. Alles, commenced his journey as a teacher of Royal College where he served for over 10 years. Mr. Alles did yeoman service to the country as the Founder Principal of D.S Senanayake College and later as the State Secretary of Education. Remembered by many as one of the finest educators, the country has produced, Mr. Alles is also the Founder of Gateway College. Late Mr. E. Christie Gunasekara a Royalist himself was a longstanding Vice Principal of Royal College and former President of Sri Lanka Schools Basketball Association who is respected for his unrelenting commitment to uplift discipline and standards of Royal College during his days.
The Royal team, whose Captain is Heshan Meethalawa has been playing together from their Under 15 days. Several players in the team were in the Under 20 Jathika Pasal winning team. Further, some of the team members played for the Under 18 National 3x3 youth basketball team. The Gateway team is captained by Aaron Fonseka who represented Sri Lanka in the South Asian Basketball Championship. Aaron was also the Captain of the Sri Lanka team at the Under 18 3X3 FIBA Asia Cup. The relatively young Gateway team reached the Under 17 ‘A’ Division finals for two years in a row and has to-date won the most number of 3X3 Basketball Championships held during 2018.
A joint committee including the Royal College Basketball Advisory & Management Committee and Gateway College Basketball Committee are organising the event and they are confident that it will create a platform for more children to develop their personalities through healthy competition and bring the communities of both institutions together, on and off the field.
Esteemed Monash University of Australia and Malaysia will be the Principal sponsor of the encounter. Adidas will feature this year as the sportswear sponsor. Also Papare.com (Dialog Axiata) as the digital partner has agreed to live telecast the event. Asiri Group of Companies will be Healthcare Partner and Hyperfactor will be the Digital Media Partner. The event will be held on the 22 nd of September 2018 at HSC Blues Basketball Court, Sri Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mawatha, (Pedirs Park, Havelock Town) Colombo 05 commencing from 3.30 pm onwards.