In early 1970's the numbers of Sri Lankans in the U.A.E were a handful. Etisalat the telephone company would have had a fair number out of this. The others were scattered in various job categories. The Manamperi family, who were one of the first to arrive in Dubai had a large villa and young Sri Lankan sports enthusiasts visited the villa during weekends.
There was no representative organisation for the Sri Lankans during this time. During these popular weekend gatherings the national sport cricket was discussed, as there was keen interest among those gathered. Consequently they discussed the formation of a cricket club and Lanka Lions was born in 1977 under the able guidance of Mr.Milton Manamperi and Mr.Jayawardene.
During this time the Sri Lankans did not have a Consulate or an Embassy to represent them. The Lanka Lions were the forerunners in this regard, not only catering to the sporting needs but also acting as a social and a cultural organisation. In 1977 the Club linked itself to the Sri Lankan consulate and since then has been operating under the auspices of the Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai.
Within the meagre resources available the Lanka Lions Cricket Club celebrated Independence Day, Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, and attended to the basic requirements of the Sri Lankan community. Even though at the outset there was only one cricket team namely Lanka Lions, with the growing interest the club formed two cricket teams as Lanka Lions and Lanka Colts and regularly participated in the UAE “A” and “B” division cricket tournaments. Over the years a third cricket team “Cubs” were introduced to cater to the growing needs of the teenage kids of the members. Over the years, Rugby football and Netball was also introduced to make it a truly all round sports club.
These were humble beginnings of a great and proud sports club. Lanka Lions Sports Club has made a steadfast growth during the last 30 years. From modest beginning of a membership of 15, the sports club has now grown to over 350 active members from diverse walks of life. Its growth from strength to strength has been due to the untiring efforts of many people who have worked tirelessly over the years to propel the club to its current glory.
The Lanka Lions sports club is now a fully fledged sports and recreation Club representing Sri Lanka at the highest level of sports wherein we have won UAE cricket’s coveted Bukhathir League twice and Runners-up on numerous occasions. At Rugby, the Lions have won the Khanjar and Plate Championships at the prestigious Dubai Rugby Sevens. The Ladies too have contributed to the success of the Lions by achieving champion status at Netball.
The Lanka Lions sports club which started as a mere past time for a few die hard enthusiasts, have progressed steadily to serve Sri Lankan community over the years, in line with it’s mission statement;
“To be a strong “GO TO”Entity of reference by serving the Sri Lankan Community in UAE enhance their lives through information, sports and recreation!”