Despite not having professional athletes or Sports Science & Management undergraduates, University of Colombo has been within top universities in Sri Lanka in sports field, throughout years. Even in recently concluded Sri Lanka Universities Games (SLUG) University of Colombo finished at overall runners up position behind University of Sri Jayawardhanepura. Most of our teams show cased an excellent level of achievements though some teams failed to uplift their achievements.
Students, physical training instructors, coaches and captains take immense effort to achieve higher giving their best they can. When observing the training patterns of our teams superficially, what is best concluded is our students train harder with dedication and commitment in the competition season under highly professional level training work outs which is needed to compete against professional athletes in other universities. But for those work outs to be efficacious, the other contributory factors also have to be maintained at the professional level, such as off season training, muscles conditioning & strengthening, rest & nutrition etc. Off season training lays the foundation for the whole upcoming year by improving athletes with endurance, skills & techniques related to the sport played, recovering with active rest and preparing athletes to tolerate the heavy work outs in the competition season.
Muscles conditioning and strengthening play a major role in tolerating work outs in competition season without giving rise to injuries. Also it enhances athletes’ performances. Although everyone knows the importance of the proper rest and proper nutrition for athletes, those aspects are the least concerned. All these aspects, which highly determine the performance, should be well planned throughout the whole year, while our students are mainly focused only on the competition season training. But off season training and muscles conditioning & strengthening should be given more attention because they are the foundation for an injury free season with better performances.
In general many of our athletes had suffered injuries during training and also in competitions. We conducted a pre project analysis which included a survey to get information on prevailing training situation. According to that more than 50% of the athletes in our teams have suffered injury/injuries mainly involving knee, ankle, hamstrings and other leg muscles during 2019 seasons. Almost all of them could have been prevented with proper measures. More than 55% of the athletes did not engaged in proper off season training and less than 40% admitted they are aware of proper conditioning & strengthening exercises. Less than 50% of the athletes were practicing those exercises according to an annual plan.
Therefore, to address this lack of knowledge, lack of motivation about extra competition season training, we the Rotaract club of Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, along with the support of the Faculty of Medicine Sports Association and the Amalgamated club of the university of Colombo conducted ‘Kreeda 2.0’ which included two session. First session was a theoretical lecture on training planning which was followed up with a practical work shop. Practical work shop consisted with few sessions regarding each of these aspects for our athletes with the guidance & participation of professionals in each field.
1st session of the project was conducted by Mr Sellathurai Jeganenthiran, a lecturer at Sabaragamuwa University Sri Lanka and a sports and exercise science doctorate candidate at University of Canterbury, New Zealand, regarding annual training planning.
2nd session consisted of several sub sessions.
01. Body composition analysis and nutrition – We measured all participants height, weight, body fat percentages using a bio-electrical impedance analyzer, calculated BMI and dietary advice were given by a well known dietitian from the Asiri Hospital who agreed to volunteer herself in our project.
02. Conditioning and strengthening training session was conducted by Miss Thilaka Jinadasa the head coach of the national netball team.
03. Mr Uwin Ariyaratne, a well-known ideal university athlete who graduated from University of Sri Jayawardhanepura and Mr Ruchira Palliyaguru, highly recognized ICC umpire joined for the third session to share their experience and to motivate our athletes.
04. FISU student ambassador did a presentation on opportunities available in university sports for all student athletes.
05. As the last session sports and exercise science specialist Dr Chathuranga Ranasinghe conducted practical session on initial management of sports injuries and how to prevent them.