The Colombo Gymkhana Club
The Colombo Gymkhana Club aspires to, and claims to have attained, the tag of “the best Sports and social club in the country.” To be sure, a lofty goal, and one that a number of social clubs in Colombo may entertain; is it then based on reality or merely pie in the sky? On the sporting front, the Colombo Gymkhana Club boasts of five sporting teams that feature in the premier division of their respective leagues. These Sports are rugby union and hockey, in the form of CH&FC (Colombo Hockey & Football Club), cricket in the form of the CCC (Colombo Cricket Club), tennis and squash in the form of the Colombo Queens Club. Taken separately, these three sporting institutions could well stand on their own two feet. Taken together, they represent the union of three of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious names. The achievements of each constituent element bear testimony to high standards of sporting ability and success. The CH&FC rugby team has at times, been virtually unbeatable, and have achieved success well beyond these shores. Between the years 1990 and 1994, CH&FC were the winners of almost all available rugby crowns. In cricket, the CCC is the oldest cricketing institution in the country. As such, the sporting claim to be the best stands on positive ground.
THE CLUB SUPREMEÂ – GYMKHANA CLUB
Among the clubs in Sri Lanka, few are those with a pedigree such as ‘The Gymkhana Club‘ Arguably, it is the oldest or one of the oldest clubs in Sri Lanka. it began as The Colombo Cricket Club ‘ (CCC) in 1863 at No.31, Maitland Crescent Colombo 7 at the present location. it was a home-away-from home and was originally the British For them, meeting at ‘The Club’ was daily event and they looked forward to it. it was here they would discuss debate, relax and unwind with their peers. Their past time was of course play cricket.
In 1892 the Colombo Hockey and Football Club (CH & FC) was mooted. it was Head quartered at the Racecourse and catered to Rugby. Hockey and Soccer enthusiasts. Centrally located, with ample playing area and with well kept grounds. it pretty soon attracted some of the best exponents of the game. Before long ‘The Club’ gathered a reputation for fielding outstanding players in Rugby. Hockey and soccer. Many went on to play nationally and represent Ceylon (Sri Lanka) . 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. many of national standing. Over a period of time some of the courts were lost to the Criminal Justice Commission where the hard core JVP members like Rohana Wijeweera ware heard. 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, Soccer, Tennis and Squash in Ceylon (as it was known then).
In 1959,for various reasons that prevailed at that time. there Clubs cane together and decided to call themselves “The Gymkhana Club” The 1st Chairman Elect was FC Rowan. At that time the membership of the Club was almost totally made up of expatriates. With the passage of time. the Europeans left the shores of Sri Lanka. However, the “spirit & soul” of Gymkhana never did. Ideals and values that made it outstanding remained stronger than ever. By 1964 Sri lankans with the same vision tock the reins. The first Sri Lnkan 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 Gajendran.
By the mid 60′s the club was almost Sri lankan in its identity. Today steered by a completely Sri Lankan Committee it has gone on from strength to strength to become The premier Club in Sri Lanka. Today the Membership is constituted with about 10% made up of expatriates. 750 Ordinary Members, 250 Life Members, 50 Outstanding Members, 50 Overseas Members and a few absentee Members. Reciprocal Membership is practiced with the Old Trinitans Sports Club, Kandy Club, Kandy Dickoya Sports Club, Singapore Cricket Club, Malaysian Serangoon Cricket Club, and Mumbai Gymkhana Club. The colombo GymkhanaÂ comprises of actually five Clubs. Three of the five are represented in the premier league division and have distinguished themselves both locally and internationaly. CH & FC ( The Ceylon Hockey and Foodball Club). CCC (The Colombo Cricket Club). Queens (tennis) and the Squash Club. As a composite three of three Clubs. CH & FC , CCC and Queens. Have consistently produced national players. This show the extremely high caliber of the sporting ability there is in the Club. The CH & FC rugby teem has been among the top five rugby in the island. During the stellar years of1 990-1994 they wonÂ almost all the titles and accolades for rugby. Meanwhile the CCC is the oldest Cricketing Club in the country has won the Premier Cup many times. And CH & FC Hockey has won the Championship almost very year. Almost 90% of our national players have at some time or the other represented CCC.