Every group wants the ultimate sports tour experience, and this 20 strong hockey group from Queenswood School in Hertfordshire was no exception! After a long school year, the girls put down their pens, picked up their hockey sticks and headed for the beautiful paradise island of Sri Lanka.
The group were about to embark on an action-packed 13-day voyage, where challenging hockey fixtures, wildlife sanctuaries, curry cookery courses and much more awaited them.
Where’s the best place to start such adventure in Sri Lanka, I hear you ask? Step forward Colombo, the country’s capital city. Fast becoming a must-see stop for any visitor to Sri Lanka, the girls got to soak up the sights and sounds of the city as well as play their first three fixtures of the tour. First up, a challenging game against Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya School U16s where they narrowly triumphed 5-4. Next, an impressive 9-2 victory over Bishop College, followed by a thrilling 3-0 win over Panadura Balika Vidyalaya School U16s.
They say good things come in ‘threes’ – well for this group you had better change that motto to ‘fours’, as to the girls’ delight they discovered that the Sri Lankan National Netball Team were training at the same facility. The perfect photo opportunity? You bet!
It was time for the girls to move on, with the city of Kandy next up on the agenda. Home to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, this park features 50 elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. The team were able to get up close and personal with the elephants in their natural surroundings – a dream for many of the girls.
If elephants weren’t enough (but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love elephants?!) Kandy is also home to the Spice Gardens in the Hill Capital. The girls were treated to a homemade curry for lunch, courtesy of the very same spices they had just seen growing in the gardens earlier in that day. The ultimate fast food? The girls definitely thought so! The day was a total success from start to finish, and the girls took to Twitter to share their excitement #lovinglife.
With the tour’s final hockey match ahead, they set off for Peradiniya University to play against Seetha Devi Balika Vidyalaya College U16s. Despite suffering their first (and it has to be said, only!) defeat of the tour, the team were still in fine spirits, especially when they found out the match had made the local newspaper. A whole article was published featuring the girls’ tour and their match – who knew they would be leaving Sri Lanka as local celebs?
The tour was now in full swing, and next on the girls’ agenda was their final destination of Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa. A location with the added ‘aww factor’, Hikkaduwa is home to the Bentota Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda where the girls were treated to a guided tour of the Sea Turtle Hatchery. As well as learning about the fantastic work carried out daily to preserve rare species of sea turtle, the girls were also offered the opportunity to hold the new hatchlings. Have you seen a cuter picture?
The tour was nearing its end, but not before they visited Lahiru Pre-School managed by the Foundation of Goodness. Set up in 1999, the Foundation aims to provide small-scale developments to the local villagers. Their mission statement is “to empower the less privileged rural communities, whilst inculcating the spirit of goodness, so that they may have equal opportunities to excel in life” and there are a number of activities which tours can choose to undertake with the Foundation. This type of excursion is fast becoming a staple go to in our sports tours, and one we would highly recommend.
We often find that helping out at the Foundation of Goodness is always a memorable and fulfilling experience for groups, as well as providing some much appreciated support for the local community. The girls donated some school stationary (colouring pencils and story books) and helped out with lessons and playtimes.
Meeting 50-60 children and helping with their school activities and work, the girls thoroughly enjoyed this humbling experience – just look at those smiles!
Three superb hockey victories, Sri Lankan wildlife, local school children, sightseeing and featuring in a newspaper – do sports tours get any better than this? For a relaxing end to an action-packed few weeks, the girls spent their last day by the beach soaking up the sun and sea, reflecting on a tour that none of them would ever forget.
Are you interested in creating your own incredible Sports Tour? Speak to us on 01332 347 828 to get started!