Sometimes one of the hardest things in life is saying goodbye, especially the unprepared good-byes. This is not just an ordinary article about a university sports star; this we dedicate to all final year sportsmen and women who dreamt of lifting their final trophy at the respective 2020 Inter-University Games tournament.
Covid-19 pandemic changed our whole lifestyle. Its impact was visible not only in the health sector but also in so many areas in our day to day life. The domino effect of Covid-19 was visible in the sporting arena as well. The biggest event of the 2020 sporting calendar the Olympics got postponed due to the pandemic, and many other international and domestic tournaments got canceled. The biggest event in the university sporting calendar, Inter-University Games, was also called off as a result of the pandemic.
We at Moraspirit decided that it is our duty to bid goodbye to the final year undergraduates, who dreamt of taking their final IUG trophy home this year, on this virtual platform, in a world where everything is done virtually. Today, with us, we have the representatives of 6 university sports councils, who are also final year undergraduates, to share their thoughts.
Sakuni Radaliyagoda, a final year undergraduate of the University of Colombo, also the vice president of the amalgamated club in her university, shared her thoughts with us. “For final year students, this was supposed to be the last chance to participate in IUG and make their university proud in respective sports. However, due to the pandemic, they missed that opportunity. As a final year student, I believe that, from university students, athletes in their final years were the most affected during this pandemic”. It is no doubt that the rest of the final year undergraduates at the University of Colombo would fully agree with Sakuni.
“In order to keep our peers motivated, as captains, we organized different online fitness programs which teach members can attend from their homes to keep the team in a consistent fitness level.” Maintaining the same spirit for sports even during the lockdown is not easy. While being in their final year, even though they know that they would not be representing their respective universities in sporting events, they are still continuing to support their own youngster. “The best advice I can give to the future leaders is to be strong enough to handle any kind of problem that arises against a team's carrier by solving it in a tactful way that won't mess up the other team members mentality”
Lahiru Ilangasinghe another final-year undergraduate and the president of the Sabaragamuwa University sports council also shared his views with us. “It is very sad to miss the final IUG. To think that 2019 was the last time we've played for the university as undergraduates make all of us really sad. No words to say how much we miss that”. Lahiru as well as other undergraduates from Sabaragamuwa University have been quite active even during the lockdown period. “we cannot practice as a team but we maintain the fitness individually. We do some practice sessions individually.” He further advised his youngsters and said, “We made some historical wins with you all, hence you all must do your best to make our second mother shine. Keep working in unity. As seniors, we are with you all always to support both your academics and sporting career.” Even though playing a sport in university and representing your university can be restricted to a number of years, the support you show your juniors can go on forever.
Just like Lahiru and Sakuni, Chamil Chinthaka, the sports council president of the University of Ruhuna who has also missed his final IUG, shared his thoughts with MoraSpirit. He stated that they not only missed this year’s IUG but also the World University Games that was supposed to be held in 2020. The most glamourous event of the year for an athlete is the colors night, this event has also been canceled due to the pandemic. Chamil concluded the conversation with Moraspirit leaving wise advice for the future sporting stars “Do something over your maximum level. Take risks as a leader without any fear. Be a lion, not a fox.”
Kasun Karunarathne, the sports council president of the University of Peradeniya expressed his ideas on what he felt about missing the 2020 IUG. “After the end of the first Covid wave, I thought we’ll be able to hold this in the first few months of 2021. But, when the second wave came, I felt like it will get away from us. It’s really painful because we have a big final year strength in our teams with the sharpness of three years of IUG experience. As a university, it’s a great loss to miss their energy without getting any gain. There are a number of final-year players who have not yet achieved university colors or a place in their teams. This was the last chance they had.”
Moreover, when asked, Kasun said that he has not given up his duty as the president of the sports council to keep their athletes engaged with the sport. Their university tried several methods such as an online fitness challenge, a series of articles highlighting sporting stars of Peradeniya University to appreciate their talents, and so on. He passes the leadership baton to the next batch of leaders saying that they must sharpen their talents to be responsible leaders and that their goals can be achieved by focusing on every single player in the team.
Amaan Ahmath from Eastern University expressed his thoughts on this and stated that it is a great opportunity loss. “In our case, we are the next SLUG host which will be held in 2022 so we planned and has started many things to develop our university performances and our committee structure for 14th SLUG”. Amaan mentioned that during these tough times, we mustn't get disheartened and should keep fighting. To sum up the interview he encouraged his youngsters to keep working harder to bring glory to their university
We at Moraspirit tried our best to contact the Sports Council president of Jaffna University, but unfortunately, he was unreachable, but we are pretty sure he would also agree with the rest of the sport's Council representatives' ideas.
The year 2020 has been a tough year with so many ups and downs, 2020 didn’t treat us the way we wanted to be treated, it was a package full of unexpected turnovers, but It has taught all of us many life lessons. Even though the pandemic didn’t allow this year’s IUG to happen, Moraspirit believes that it is our responsibility to appreciate the hard work these athletes have put in for the past 3, 4 years. We consider it an honor to use this platform to thank each and every final year athletes who have shed tears and sweat in the past years to bring glory to their respective universities.
Thank you for inspiring us every day!