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The National Sport of Sri Lanka is Volleyball.

Volleyball in Sri Lanka is a beloved pastime, reflecting the island’s passion for sports and unity.

To learn more about sports culture in Sri Lanka, read our article about the most popular sports in Sri Lanka.


#1 History of Volleyball

  • 1916: The introduction of Volleyball in Sri Lanka by Mr. J. Nanayakkara, instructor of physical education at Kingswood College, Kandy.
  • 1921: Volleyball spreads to other schools and institutions due to its simplicity and popularity, becoming a widely played sport across the island.
  • 1951: Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation (SLVF) is established to govern and develop the sport in the country.
  • 1952: Volleyball becomes the national sport of Sri Lanka, further enhancing its cultural significance.
  • 1991: Sri Lanka men’s national team participates in their first international competition at the Asian Volleyball Championship in Australia.
  • 2010: Sri Lanka women’s national team qualifies for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship for the first time in history.

#2 Culture and Traditions

Volleyball holds a special place in Sri Lanka’s cultural identity, with the sport being played in schools, universities, and local communities. It is often regarded as a unifying force, transcending ethnic and social boundaries and bringing people together through a shared love for the game.

Various festivals, tournaments, and events are organized throughout the year to celebrate and promote volleyball in Sri Lanka. The annual National Volleyball Championship is the most prestigious event, attracting teams from all over the country to compete for glory and recognition.

Beyond organized competitions, it is common to see people enjoying a casual game of volleyball on beaches, parks, and public spaces, showcasing the sport’s widespread popularity and its role in daily Sri Lankan life.

#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment

πŸ“• Rules & Gameplay

  • Match Duration: A standard match consists of five sets, with the first team to win three sets declared the winner.
  • Scoring: Teams score points by landing the ball on the opponent’s court or when the opposing team commits a fault.
  • Players: Each team has six players on the court, arranged in a specific rotation.
  • Key Skills: Players use three main skills in volleyball – passing, setting, and hitting (also known as spiking).
  • Fouls: Violations of the rules, such as touching the net, lifting the ball, or stepping on the court lines, result in points awarded to the opposing team.

βš™οΈ Equipment & Gear

  • Ball: Made of leather or synthetic material and designed for optimal performance in indoor and outdoor settings.
  • Shoes: Specialized volleyball shoes that offer support, stability, and traction on the court.
  • Kneepads: Lined with padding to protect players’ knees from injury during hard dives and contact with the court.
  • Net: Stretched tightly across the center of the court, separating the two teams.
  • Jerseys: Lightweight, breathable uniforms worn by players to represent their team and allow for easy movement on the court.

#4 Modern Development of Volleyball

In recent years, Volleyball in Sri Lanka has continued to evolve and adapt to modern standards. New training techniques and coaching methods are being implemented, aimed at improving the performance of national and club teams.

Technological advancements, such as video analysis and social media, have played a significant role in raising awareness and promoting the sport within the country and beyond. These tools have enabled athletes, coaches, and fans to stay connected and engaged, fostering a stronger volleyball community in Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, the recent trend of promoting beach volleyball in Sri Lanka offers a fresh perspective and opportunities for growth within the sport. The island’s scenic beaches and pleasant weather make it an ideal destination for beach volleyball tournaments, attracting local and international players alike.

#5 Volleyball and the Olympics

Since its inclusion in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, indoor volleyball has been an integral part of the prestigious event, showcasing the world’s finest athletes and teams. Beach volleyball, a variant of the sport, made its Olympic debut in 1996, further enhancing volleyball’s global appeal and recognition.

Although Sri Lanka has yet to make a significant impact on the Olympic stage, their participation in regional and international events, such as the Asian Games and the FIVB Volleyball World Championship, helps elevate the status of the sport in the country and paves the way for future success at the highest level.

#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements

  1. Deepthi Romesh: A prominent setter for the national team, known for her exceptional skill and leadership on the court.
  2. Wasantha Senevirathne: Renowned for his powerful attacking and blocking skills, making significant contributions to the success of the Sri Lanka men’s team at regional competitions.
  3. Anuruddha Herath: An explosive spiker and dynamic player, valuable to the national team’s success in various international competitions.
  4. Geethika Artigala: An accomplished middle blocker for the women’s national team, known for her intimidating presence at the net and consistent performances.

#7 Where to watch Volleyball

  • Television & Streaming: Rupavahini and Channel Eye provide broadcast coverage of important national and international volleyball events, while some international matches may be available on cable networks or streaming services such as the FIVB’s official YouTube channel.
  • Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium (Colombo): A premier venue for hosting national and international volleyball tournaments, offering fans an exciting live experience.
  • Local Championships: Volleyball enthusiasts can catch regular matches at various school, club, and regional competitions held across the country, allowing fans to witness the sport’s growth and development at the grassroots level.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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