Sri Lanka attended their first Commonwealth Games in 1938 in Sydney, then known as British Empire's Games, and celebrated by taking a boxing gold back home. This first medal was won by boxer W.A. Henricas. Since 1990 Sri Lanka have attended all the Games.
In 1950 at the British Empire Games held in Auckland New Zealand, Sri Lanka recorded an impressive medal haul, winning four medals (one gold, two silver and a bronze) in 1950. After this there was a long medal drought, the next success was the Victoria Games in 1994 where Sri Lanka won five medals, their largest medal haul at a single games.
In 1998, hurdler Sriyani Kulawansa became the first Sri Lankan female track and field athlete to win a silver medal in the 100m-hurdles. At the same games 400m runner Sugath Thilakaratne took silver.
- The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) joined the Commonwealth in 1948. Sri Lanka took part as Ceylon in the years 1938, 1950, 1958 and 1970. They changed their name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka in 1972.
- Sri Lanka has not taken part in the Commonwealth Games on four occasions (1974, 1982, 1986 and 1990).
- Sri Lanka's largest medal haul of five medals in 1994 were all won by shooters.
- Sri Lanka's first female representation at a Commonwealth Games was KG Bandra at the 1970 Games in Edinburgh.