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About The Colombo Gymkhana Club

Colombo Gymkhana club, which houses CH & FC, CCC and Queens Club, celebrates 150 years

The club that will go all-out to redeem lost prestige in the coming rugby season not having won a major title in the last few years in rugby.

This season, the Maitland Crescent club with several talented ruggerites should give a good account of themselves. CH & FC dominated the local rugby scene in the early 1990’s, during which period they won rugby triple on four occasions.

In 1990 under Imran Sally they bagged the triple, by wining the John Player League, R.Premadasa Trophy Knockouts and the Sevens. Two years later under Asitha Boteju they clinched the rugby triple bagging the John Player; league, R.Premadasa knockouts and the Sevens.

In 1993 under the leadership of Hisham Abdeen they won the triple John Player league, R. Premadasa Trophy Knockouts and the Sevens. In the following year under Nishantha Dias clinched the rugby triple for the fourth time taking the Clifford Cup knockouts, R. Premadasa knockouts and the Sevens. The from 1995 top 1977 the standards declined but once again under Jude Dimithri they came up with another fine performance to win the Sevens, under 24 ten a side and finished third in the Carlsberg League.

For all this success a big bouquet should got to non other than the king maker of the game at that time, the man for all seasons Kishin ‘my way’ Butani, who had good support from Hassan Sinhawansa.

Established by the British during the colonial period, the club is regarded as the oldest Sports & Social Club in Sri Lanka. Also it is the only club in the country where five sports are being played at the premier level, namely; Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Tennis and Squash.

A roof top Swimming Pool and the ‘state of the art’ Gymnasium (Fitness First) with ‘spa’ facility had made it ‘one stop shop’ for the ‘mind and body’ . Gymkhana Club considered to be the hub of entertainment in Colombo, boasts of being home to famous night spot’s such as Clancy’s, Tabu and Sopranos.

They have a ground which is a multi-purpose in Colombo. It is currently used mostly for inter club cricket matches and for hosting warm up matches for touring teams. This ground has hosted its first Test match in 1984. It is one of the smallest test playing grounds in the world. Three Test matches have been held at this venue.

Its maiden first-class match was in 1927 and in 1934 hosted an MCC side led by Douglas Jardine. First Test Sri Lanka v New Zealand – March 1984, Last Test Sri Lanka v New Zealand – April, 1987. All their home rugger matches are played at this ground.

The present chairman Shiran Anthony is doing his best along with his secretary Prasantha “Poosa” Wimalarthne, Treasurer Sarath Ganegoda with the rest of the committee members giving him good support.

The Gymkhana Club‘ is one of the oldest clubs in Sri Lanka and this year Gymkhana club is celebrating 150 years, it began as the Colombo Cricket Club ‘ (CCC) in 1863. Colombo Hockey and Football Club (CH & FC) was mooted in 1892, Queens Club in 1892. Then it was housed at the Racecourse and catered for sports, located with ample playing area and with well kept grounds.

In 1962 when the Army acquired the Grandstand and the racecourse. CH & FC moved to Maitland Crescent. In 1899. ‘The Queens Club’ was formed at Thummulla. It had originally over 20 Courts and met the needs of Tennis and Squash exponents. Here again the tennis and Squash Courts are some of the best maintained and have attracted some top class players.

Though still located in the same site. Queens presently have but 7 courts two of which have flood lights for night tennis. These three Clubs, the CCC, the CH & FC and the Queens ware among the first to start cricket, rugby ,Hockey, Football, Tennis and Squash in Ceylon (as it was known then).

The Gymkhana Club’s first elected Chairman was F C Rowan, at that time the membership of the Club was almost totally made up of expatriates. By 1964 Sri Lankan’s with the same vision took over. The first Sri Lankan Chairman was P S C Fernando in 1969. The first Cricket Captain in 1971 was Travis Fernando. The first Rugby Captain in 1971 was Brian Baptist. The first Hockey Captain in 1972 was Col. S. Gajendran.

Few individuals have impacted Sri Lanka Rugby on of them is YC Chang, Having mastered the fundamentals; he developed a real passion for the game. At the same time he forged strong bonds with some fellow rugby players. There relationships were to play a major role in his involvement in the game in later life. His introduction to the prestigious. Gymkhana Club and playing for CH & FC came about in 1971. Two decisive lectors influenced his decision.

Then at cricket, Roshan Mahanama . An old Nalandian and outstanding cricketer. He is among those illustrious who played for CCC and then represented Sri Lanka, he was encouraged to join this club by that great spinner K M Nelson.Then there was Roy Dias, Athula Samarasekara, Charith Senanayaka, Roshan Juranpathi, and Sanath Jayasuriya. T C Gamage.

The Colombo Gymkhana’s originating in 1863 at the Galle face greens to be the first club in Ceylon. With social and sport interactions, Colombo Gymkhana club enters its 150th year in existence in July of 2013, at Maitland crescent and at Baudhhaloka Mawatha, Colombo-7. Club has shown its survival genes through major changes.