2nd January 2000
By Bernie Wijesekera
Kandy SC was struggling at the start of the '90s in the local rugby scene. But they came back to their own midway (1994) to hit a purple patch and maintained their consistency with the start of the millennium.
Today, KSC is the only team from the provinces to play in the top league and has drawn big crowds wherever they scrum down. Undoubtedly KSC is in the forefront along with their counterparts drawn from the metropolis.
It was a hard grind and the club even found it doubly difficult to play their matches in Colombo with their depleted resources. But after a media exposure the clubs in Colombo helped them in their hour of need with financial assistance to fulfil their fixtures (travelling etc.).
Senior official of KSC, Leslie de Zoysa, endorsed to this effect. He thanked the clubs including the services for this magnanimous gesture. Players like Y.C. Chang, Gamini Fernando, Dr. Harry Rasiah, Makuloluwa, Bertie Dias, Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Gamini Tennakoon, Jupana Jayawardena just to name a few played with distinction for the Hill Capital Club. With some of the players migrating, KSC found it difficult even to raise a team.
Undaunted, KSC fought a slippery climb to keep the sport in surface. With a never-say-die approach they fought a relentless battle to keep the game alive, among the players in the province.
The Hill Capital Club was fortunate to have a set of rugby loving officials, like E.W. Balasuriya, Chandra Wijenaike etc., who helped them with men and material.
But special mention must be made to that soft-spoken present President, Dr. Sarath Kapuwatte, who had the charisma to get the resources with his dedicated committee, who worked ungru-dgingly to uplift its image and put Kandy SC on a higher pedestal. In the 1980s the game was dominated by the Police SC. The blue shirts had a seasoned set of players marshalled by Rudra Raja-singham, who played for the CR&FC and later to the Law enforcing team. In its wake came Ernest Perera, the IGP also diehard supporter of the sport and gave all encouragement to maintain its supremacy.
CH&FC took over the stranglehold in the early '90s. CH had players of the class of Hisham Abdeen, Priyantha Ekanayake, 'Shan' Perera, Baratha Hegoda, Saman Jayasinghe, Ravi Wijenathan, N.H. Karunasena who formed the nucleus of the side. In 1994 Priyantha Ekanayake, who excelled for the CR&FC and along with some seasoned Police players (who went in search of greener pastures) moved to the Hill Capital Club. The revamped KSC team with some outstanding players joining in the scrum hit a purple patch with several sponsors helping them to achieve their objective.
From here onwards it turned out to be a dingdong battle between CR&FC and KSC to maintain their supremacy in the local scene. Both teams churned out high class players to the national team. Whenever the two teams clashed it drew big crowds. Both teams producing quality rugby to the avid fans.
With rugby promoter Malik Samarawickrema joining forces with Kandy SC the white shirted team benefited much from his helping hand.
If Hisham Abdeen was the player of the '80s, then it was Priyantha Ekanayake, the former Katugastota Antonian, who could have been the most outstanding player in the mid-'90s. Priyantha who had the experience of playing abroad in New Zealand - came in for high commendation as a player of international class.
Priyantha had a storehouse of knowledge and led his club or the country from the front. With his charming ways he had the ability to get the best out of his charges.
Today he is playing a decisive role for KSC as an administrator and helps the young 'uns to go places with his knowhow.
Players of yesteryear S. Sivendran, Dr. Maiya Gunasekera, the past President of the Rugby Union confirmed to this effect.
Kandy SC in the last season won a 'double' defeating CR&FC, who were the front runners for the titles.
With the support given by Singer's Sri Lanka's Chairman, Hemaka Amerasuriya, Kandy SC for the first time organised an Asian 'sevens' tournament in the Hill Capital, which proved a roaring success and put Sri Lanka rugby in the world map. This was part of their 50th anniversary celebrations. Quite a number of supporters (besides Singer), joined up for this inaugural venture staged at the Bogambara Stadium.
This is going to be an annual fixture in the rugby calendar - thanks to the brainchild of KSC hierarchy.
With the start of the millennium Kandy SC will have a new look pavilion which will include a gymnasium as part of their re-development project. This will be a big boost to Hill Capital sport - especially rugby where all the schools will be afforded with the opportunity of making good of its facilities for further development.
The picturesque Nittawela ground with its re-development plans is going to be an international venue to cater to the needs of the players and the spectators in general.
Central Province, barring Colombo should focus attention with many schools playing rugby. It's the prime duty of the Rugby Union that they should encourage and assist more clubs to be formed, otherwise the talent will be wasted.
The only other team barring Kandy SC, who showed marked improvement was the battle-scarred Army team, who played well despite exigencies of duty. The soldiers showed marked improvement in their skills, thanks to All Blacks Coach Ken Farrington. The Hill Capital Club with their cupboards cozing with young talent will continue their winning streak, thanks to their infrastructure. Ofcourse, clubs like CR&FC, CH&FC, Havelocks SC and the Army will generate excitement to provide quality rugby to harness talented players in preparation for the Asiad to be held in Japan, come June 2000.
By Dr. Baptist Croos, F.S.C.
The Sri Lankan cricketing cavaliers had a glimpse of the glory gone- by, as the world champions, when they beat Zimbabwe comprehensively in the one-day series. Portentous signals are emerging that we can regain that prestigious position once again. It is heart-warming to witness the buoyancy of the rejuvenated Sri Lankan team. Hearty congratulations to our dashing captain Sanath for leading the team to such scintillating victories.
Dexterous Upul Chandana
Chandana should have been drafted into the squad much earlier. This spirited and vivacious cricketer is a fighter, a towering all-rounder in the making. Congratulations to the selectors and others concerned who were instrumental in making him available for the one-day series in Zimbabwe. Even previously he had rendered a glorious account of himself in different parts of the world entertaining fans with his agility, commitment and zeal. It is a treat to watch him in the field. He rightly deserves the 'Man of the Match' award for the third one dayer and other accolades that are showered on him.
Undoubtedly Muralitharan is one of the best off-spinners in the world. Humiliated many times by unsportive spectators, 'called' by a couple of umpires on a few occasions, Murali has out-witted them all with his forbearance, cheerfulness and magnanimous spirit of forgiveness. Under any circumstances, whether batting, fielding, or bowling, he delights the crowd, exuding enthusiasm and 'chivalry'. Care-free as ever, there is always a smile on his lips, a sign of warm-heartedness, class and character.
Arnold's admirable achievements
Lean and lanky Russel Arnold is fast becoming the cynosure of all eyes with his brilliant all-round performance. Swift as a gazelle in the field with his resilient physique, he is very graceful in his movements. A remarkable and prolific stroke maker, he has proved to be a very reliable and consistent batsman.
Sterling assets to the team
Romesh Kaluwitharana, the acrobatic wicket-keeper with a world record of victims behind the stumps at the one-day internationals, is definitely an immense asset to the team. He is a crowed-puller alright, positive, cheerful and audacious. It was very unfortunate that he was bowled at 99, after his explosive, aggressive and power- packed innings. Marvan Attapattu is quite dependable and technically correct. Mahela has potential, and is capable of doing wonders, provided he strengthens his convictions and believes in his abilities. Dilshan has already carved a niche for himself as a quality batsman and an excellent fielder.
This is one of the pivotal causes of our recent triumphs. If the ball is collected neatly, catches well taken and throws very accurate, then the possibility of a victory is assured. Sanath Jayasuriya is an inspiration in this department of the game. Devotion, daring and determination can always swell the prospects of a victory. Promising signals herald the resurgence of a positive approach to the game. Three successive wins are pointers to a new era and have transformed the youngsters into giant-killers. They are the harbingers of innovative cricket. Bouncing back into the international arena the happy-go-lucky Sri Lankans have done the country proud by stamping their indelible mark as the former one-day champions.
The annual grading competition of Karate for both boys and girls in the age groups of 17 and 21 in the Panadura Division of the Exerkai karate Do-Ki Aikido Association was recently held at the Exerkai Main Dojo and Sports Club hall at Hirana, Panadura.
Thirty players participated in this competition, witnessed by a large crowd. Picture shows the finalists of the Under-21 group in action, eagerly watched by the referee (left), Sujeewa Ranjan, International Karate expert who is the President and Chief Instructor of Exerkai Karate Do-Ki Aikido Association. On the right seated are John K. Wijesinghe, Attorney-at-Law and reputed veteran sportsman of Panadura (partly covered) and Mrs. S. Wijesinghe, the Chief Guests. Pix by Marcus Joseph
By Ravi Nagahawatte
Little do people know about the battles that rage on chess boards when two humans test their skills in this thinking game.
Bombs and guns never come into the picture .
But when a game hots up it's like standing close to a hightension wire. The atmosphere is electrifying .
Speak of an electrifying atmosphere and Sri Lanka Chess Federation President Derrick V. Perera will tell you about a similar situation he had to face when he had to convince the vice president of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Ummer Koya that Sri Lanka was a safe venue to hold a world championship.
Perera who went with the Lankan youth team to India recently had faced a barrage of questions from Koya who had put the Lankan through an acid test.
"Koya wanted to know whether players had access to places of religious worship since five Asian countries were to participate . He also wanted to know whether the backing the Chess Federation gets from the government will be the same with the up and comlng election - the election was not held then. The final question he posed was whether the security situation was safe enough.
He had answered the first two questions quite easily. However the third almost had him checkmated - a term used in chess when the game is over - before he used his wit to beat the odds and win the rights to host the matches in the zone 3.1 of the World Championship.
"I told him that the terrorists usually had their grievences with the politicians and the government. They have never disrupted sports activities," Perera had told Koya.
And at times that were hard to convince Koya on safety issues the Lankan Chess President had referred to India's own ethnic problems.
"I told him about a robbery that had taken place a day before we arrived in broad day light in Ahamadabad, the city where the Youth Chess Championship was on. I took India as an example and showed him that problems like these never pose a real threat to sporting events," said Perera.
Perera sights racial discrimination as the reason for most foreign teams showing a dislike to come to Sri Lanka and take part in tournaments.
"I think when an Asian country worries about a security problem in our country it is genuine. But take for example the Australian cricket team which refrained from coming here and playing during 1996 World Cup. They brought up the issue of security and later the same year went to England for the Ashes series not bothering about security threats posed by the Irish Republican Army.
Everyone knows that some kind of bomb goes off every month in that country due to this problem," reflected Perera. He sees sport as a great leveller. 'The spirit of sport is in everyone's blood. Maybe someday sports might help solve this ethnic problem," opined Perera .
Rasanjali to lead
Rasanjali Silva will lead the Sri Lanka Women's Cricket team on their tour to India commencing January 9. The team will make this tour in preparation for the 2000 World Cup in North and South India playing six One-day internationals. The Sri Lanka Women's team will comprise, Rasanjali Silva, S. Sivanathan (vice captain), Chammi Seneviratne, Hiruka Fernando, Kalpana Liyanarachchi, Dedunu de Silva, Thanuja Ekanayake, Ramani Perera, Champa Sugathadasa, Chaturi Thalagalage, Janakanthi Mala, Indika Kankanage, Hiroshi Abeysinghe, Gayathri Liyanage. Mrs. Christobel Thilakaratne (Managress), Guy de Alwis (Coach). All players are requested to report to the SSC grounds at Maitland Place on Monday January 3 at 8 a.m. and meet Guy de Alwis.
Asian Cup football
The 11th Asian Cup Lebanon qualifying round football championships Group nine will be played from January 23 to 29. These matches will be played in Hanoi, Vietnam. The fixtures are: January 23 - Vietnam vs Guam, China vs Philippines; January 26 - China vs Guam, Vietnam vs Philippines; January 29 - Guam vs Philippines, Vietnam vs China.
Premier League cricket
The Premier League inter club A Division cricket matches were curtailed due to curfew and will be continued on Sunday, January 2 in Colombo. The final day's play will be continued on Sunday, January 2 between CCC and Sebastianites at Maitland Grescent, NCC vs BRC and SSC vs Moors at Maitland Place.
The Sports Officer of Kalutara and Beruwala Ranjith Andradi has organised the annual Inter-Club sports meet for clubs in Kalutara-Beruwala divisional secretariat divisions. The meet has been sponsored by the Ministry of Samurdhi, Youth Affairs and the Sports Ministry of W.P.P.C. The participants should be residents at least one year in one of the divisional secretariat divisions. The sports to be worked off include volleyball (men and women), football, elle, hockey, soft-ball cricket, netball, kabadi and table tennis. This year boxing has been included as a special event. The closing date of the applications will be January 15, 2000 at 12.00 noon. Further particulars could be obtained from Ranjith Andradi, Sports Officer Kalutara-Beruwala), Kalutara Secretariat. - H.P.P. Perera
Kotapitiya SC triumph
Kotapitiya SC achieved a hard-fought victory by 16 runs in their Div. III limited over cricket encounter with Old Johnians, Panadura at Panadura over the weekend. Kotapitiya SC - 198 all out in 41 overs (D. Horanapathirana 60, J. Kumara 28, S. Indika 3 for 37, R. Asela 2 for 49). Old Johnians - 182 all out in 48 overs (A. Thenuwara 30, S. Jayatilleka 22, R. Asela 28, J. Lakmal 22, K. Jayasinghe 5 for 35). - Marcus Joseph
Suren excels for old Joes
Seventeen-year-old Suren Perera of St. Joseph's College Colombo, a third year player of 1st Eleven cricket team of the school, opening batsman and wicket-keeper scored three successive half centuries (87, 80, 75) for the Old Joes SC in the Board of Control for Cricket Division III '99. He has already averaged 69.25 runs in four matches against Moors SC, United SC, Ceylonians SC and Old Weslilytes SC. He had his cradle of cricket under the watchful eyes of Lionel Mendis. His present coach is Upali Ahangama. Suren is a talented athlete too having had the honour of been adjudged the Best Senior Athlete of the school at 15 years. He was also a member of the 4x100 metre Under-17 relay team of the school which won the National School Colours.
'Katu 2000' on January 30
Katu 2000 takes off with a roar on the fast track of Katukurunda Air-strip on January 30, 2000 with the collaboration of MRA (Motor Racing Association of Sri Lanka) and UMSC (Upcountry Motor Sports Club) in conjunction with the AirForce. It's the third motor sport event organized by the newly formed MRA, the previous being the All-island Go-Kart and Pro-Kart Championships '99 and the St. James Hill Climb in Bandarawela that was revived by the MRA after a lapse of 45 years which were highly acclaimed and successful. The Katukurunda motor races which was a favourite motor sports event in the past is infused with new life, thanks to the efforts of MRA which views this as an ideal opportunity to encourage newcomers to the motor sports arena from all over Sri Lanka by assisting them with sponsorships arranged with vehicle agents in Sri Lanka and wide publicity. Entry forms for Katu 2000 will be available at the MRA Office at 93, Maya Avenue, Colombo 5 or at 305, Deans Road, Colombo 10 from January 1, 2000 till January 15, the closing date for entries.
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