MMV, boxers get a thumping boost
By M.Shamil Amit
Caltex Lubricants Lanka Limited who has given their support
to more affluent clubs in Colombo and to sports like rugger and
motor races opened a new leaf recently when they went way out of
the metropolis and lend their helping hand to a lesser known school
in Ratnapura in the Sabaragamuwa district.
For the boxers
of Seevali MMV, Ratnapura it was a God send gift for them having
started boxing in the school just nine years ago in 1994 to be precise.
It will be the day the school will cherish and will never forget
for a considerable period of time. A school which had stormed the
boxing arena and made a name for itself in this very short time
without the basic facilities, leave aside the best a boxer would
need to keep him fit.
The boys would
have nothing to worry as Caltex has come forward to sponsor them
for a period of two years involving their boxing gear, equipment
and other expenses. At the handing over of the sponsorship which
took place at the school hall in Ratnapura. Kishu Gomes, the Managing
Director of Caltex Lubricants was speaking with emotion and stressed
that if not for the media which had highlighted the hardship that
the boys were undergoing, today this would not have been a reality.
It was a pathetic
sight to see the conditions and the way the boys were doing their
training. The sponsors and the media were taken to the place where
they practiced. It would have put the more affulent schools in Colombo
to shame. All were shocked but the coach Wasantha Kumara who has
been the live wire and architect of boxing at Seevali stood tall
and proud saying we have produced champions under these conditions.
D.M. Gunaratne who took over the school two years ago was proud
of his boys who had brought honour to their school, speaking at
the occasion said that the parents should be commended for having
encouraged the boys to pursure boxing which all said was a dangerous
sport. It was the first time an outstation school had got a sponsorship
from a big firm like Caltex. He thanked the sponsors for coming
forward to help our poor school.
Deputy Principal and Secretary of the Schools Boxing Association
giving a brief description of how boxing came to Seevali said that
if not for the present coach Wasantha Kumara boxing at Seevali would
have been a forgotten sport, through his effort and the cooperation
he got from the boys boxing has come to stay at Seevali.
at Seevali in 1994 and within this short period they have champions
at all major boxing meets. K.A.C.N. Alexander was the only schoolboy
to be included in the national team for the Commonwealth Games which
was held recently.
The outstanding boxers K.A.C.N. Alexander, K.M. Sugathadasa, Kamal
Sameera, E.M. Kothalawela, P.Q.R.S. Patabendi, A.M.D.N. Abeysinghe,
G.M.L. Kumara, K.G.L. Seneviratne, K.A.R.S. Koditu-wakku, G.A.D.A.
Kumara, W.A.D.M. Wickremasinghe and H.I.R. Senanayake. Coach Wasantha
Kumara and Master in Charge B.L.D.Wijesundara were presented with
special gifts by the sponsors.
double for trainer Nigel and jockey Asok
horse trainer in Sri Lanka Nigel Austin and jockey Asok Kumar landed
a double each at the Deepavali Horse Race Meet organised by the
Sri Lanka Turf Club (SLTC) which was held at the Nuwara Eliya Race
The heavy rains
underfoot made the track heavy nevertheless it was successfully
conducted. This was the third monthly meeting to be held by SLTC.
The race was well organised by SLTC officials spearheaded by the
President of the SLTC Dhammika Attygalle and Rajan Sellamuttu the
Chairman Board of Stewards assisted by Raja Sinnathurai and Mrs.
Shantha de Zoysa. Miss. Rohini de Mel assisted by Mrs. Maeve Martenstyne
and Jith Peiris were the judges. Ace motor racing driver Suranjith
Premadasa was the starter while Sirimevan Senanayake did a wonderful
job as the handicapper.
The races got
going with ace trainer Nigel sweeping the boards with his horses
winning the first three placings of the Negombo Cup. Pretty Girl
ridden by jockey Asok Kumar was aboard the winning horse. Nigel
won his second race of the day when his horse Satin Streak ridden
by S.D. Lalith lifted the Nuwara Eliya Cup. Jockey Asok Kumar recorded
his second win of the day on Millenium Debutant owned by a new comer
to horse racing Roshan Motha.
1). 'Negombo Cup' for 1/2 Bred Horses Distance 5 Furlongs (Handicap)
- 'Pretty Girl' - owned by Nigel Austin - Ridden by Asok Kumar.
'Nangi Girl' - Nigel Austin - S.D. Lalith. 'Bold Venture' - Nigel
Austin - R. Sivaraj.
2). 'Galle Cup'
for Thoroughbred Horses Class II - Distance 7 Furlongs (Handicap)
- 'Nicodamus' - Ashif Noohu - M. Sudhakar. 'Savage' - Kumar Abeywardena
- Selvaratnam. 'Perfect Parliament' - Miss. Sonali Abeyratne. -
Cup' for Thoroughbred Horses Class IV - Distance 5 Furlongs (Handicap)
- 'Millenium Debutant' - Roshan Motha - Asok Kumar. 'Singing Melody'
- Master Saveen Abeyratne - V. Punitharaj. 'Korean Dancer' - Master
Saveen Abeyratne - V. Mathialagan.
Cup' for Thoroughbred Horses in Class 1 and II - Distance 5 Furlongs
(Handicap) - 'Crowning Star' - Gamini Abeyratne - R. Selvakumar.
'Stormy Warrior' - Ashif Noohu - R. Razick. 'Certain Smile' - Anurath
Abeyratne - V. Mathialagan.
5) 'New Crystal
Colombo Cup' for Thoroughbred Horses Class 1 - Distance 9 Furlongs
(Handicap) - 'Libo Queen' - Gamini Kodituwakku - S.D. Mahes. 'Turn
to Gold' - Ashif Noohu - R. Razick. 'Sound of Whisper' - Nigel Austin
- Asok Kumar.
6) 'Kandy Cup'
for Thoroughbred Horses in Class III - Distance 7 Furlongs (Handicap)
- 'Timeless Appeal' - Anurath Abeyratne - V. Mathialagan. 'Nuclear
Power' - Miss. Nishara Jayaratne - L. Ravikumar. 'Helen of Troy'
- Master. Hasanga Jayaratne - R. Sivakumar.
Eliya Cup' for 3/4 Bred Horses in Class I - Distance 5 Furlongs
(Handicap) - 'Satin Streak' - Nigel Austin - S.D. Lalith. 'Neferitti'
- Nalin Rajapakse - V. Punitharaj. 'Tamana' - Nigel Austin - Asok
to stage next year's World Cup
Wijesekera reporting from Johannesburg
The new look Wanderers Stadium, without doubt one of the
best in the World. I've been to three World Cup final venues - Lord's,
MCG (Melbourne) and Lahore (1996).
But my visit
to Wanderers Park with a panoramic view is the best. It's fantastic.
The 42nd test venue has created many firsts. Sri Lanka is playing
the first Test and a one-dayer, as a lead up for next year's W.C.
to be staged here.
The pitch looks
hard and fast and bouncy, but they must have self-belief to be there
and stay there. This was opined by Barry Richards who was earlier
Sri Lanka's batting coach. Derrick High, local World Cup co-ordinator
and Executive Director GAUNTENG Cricket Board took me around the
venue and narrated how it was built. He is one who was responsible
to make this ground one of the best in the world. Nothing was impossible
if all work together. Many hands could make it a reality he said.
Construction was started in 1955.
The old Wanderers
ground is the present Johannesburg Railway station. History was
created within an year when the first Test was played here in 1956
against the MCC team led by Peter May. South Africa was led by Jackie
McGlew. What a way to start. On the second day Brian Statham created
history by taking a hat-trick for England - one of the victims was
Gerald Ritchie, who later became the chairman of Gauteng Cricket
Board. This venue witnessed the best bowling performance - by Hugh
Tayfield against England a match-bag of 13 for 113 in the 1956-57
Rugby, too was
played here and Internationals in 1980. South African cricket suffered
immensely when they were banned from international sports due to
their aparthied policy. The likes of Heine, Adcock, Grahame and
Peter Pollock (father of present skipper Shaun), Barry Richards
etc., who could have matched the best, but their International careers
were cut short. The likes of Kepler Wessels, Alan Lamb and Robin
Smith represented England and Australia.
In 1991 South
Africa returned to the international league and there was no looking
back. Since then, the Wanderers Park took a new facelift. It was
officially opened by late Sir Collin Cowdrey after the first test
played in 1956. The first test, MCC was led by Peter May and the
opening of the new-look stadium was opened by Cowdrey.
has been done in preparation for next year's World Cup final here.
With a powerful lighting system today it's a popular venue for night
cricket. This stadium now could accommodate over 22,000 fans. Besides
the 2003 W.C., it could be a tremendous tourist attraction, too,
High said. The pitch table has been relaid in the past few years
with ten pitches. An automatic irrigation system - underground pop
system is upgraded to the highest international standards. There
is no question of the match being called off after rain, unless
there is a continuous downpour. Wanderers Park is one of the best
in the world as a result. You could see to yourself the curator
(head groundsman) Christ Scott, and his staff working. It's a full-time
job, not meant for part-timers. The local cricket board should do
well to take note of.
One should prepare
a pitch that will last for five days and closely contested for all
to enjoy to the end. The outcome is forgotten. A good fast, hard
pitch will give equal opportunities for both batsmen and bowlers
(fast and spinners later).
Any high note
performances at this venue - Australia led by Bob Simpson scored
628. in the '60s. Highest run-getter at this venue - Greg Blewett
(Australia) 214 in the 1996-'97 series. early this year Adam Gilchrist
smashed the second fastest 200. Australia wrapped up the game under
four days. They surpassed the highest total of 628/8 dec. made in
1966 (under Bob Simpson). Steve Waugh's team made 652 in the first
innings. In this test McGrath, Gillepsie and Lee destroyed S.A.
batting for 159 in the first and in the second innings went racing
for 133 in 38.3 overs.
had its humble beginnings but later created a new milestone in S.A.
cricket as one of the best well equipped stadiums in the world.
in for good times next year
SLTA to conduct eight international tournaments with high
By M. Shamil Amit
The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) will be a hive
of activity next year starting from January 2003. It is going to
be a hectic schedule and its going to be the busiest season ever
in the history of tennis. The President of the SLTA Suresh Subramaniam
and CEO Boshan Dayaratne speaking to the Sunday Times spelt out
the plans for the ensuing year.
said this is going to be one of the biggest programmes we have ever
undertaken in decades. But we are not grumbling or complaining,
staging international tournaments in our own backyard is an opportunity
for our players to play against foreign opposition at no cost to
us. More important is that it shows that the International Tennis
Federation (ITF) has faith in us and has the confidence that we
could conduct international tournaments.
A few months
back we conducted the Junior World Tennis tournament which was also
financed by the ITF. The report given by the representative of the
ITF Maj. Uthrapathy had been an encouraging one which satisfied
the governing body of the ITF in handing over eight more international
tournaments to be conducted here.
stressed that four of the eight international tournaments will carry
a prize money of US $ 10,000 each with world ranking points. The
most important assignment will no doubt be the Davis Cup tie as
the SLTA's ambition is to upgrade Sri Lanka's present status of
Group 4 to Group 2 which we stood in the late 1980's. Already the
11 nation line up for the week long tournament has been confirmed.
The line up being Singapore, Bangladesh, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Iraq,
Jordan, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka
will also host three Futures Championships with some of the world's
promising and emerging players who are ranked in the 200's and 300's
billed to participate.
are scheduled to be held in February, August and October. All three
Futures Championships will carry a US $10,000 prize money. Another
feature will be that the prospective players will get an opportunity
to better their world ranking points which is an important factor
for aspiring players who hope to compete in the Grand Slam events.
Sri Lanka being
the host country will be given four wild cards which ensures four
of our players getting three chances next year of pitting their
talents against some of the emerging players in the world. When
Colombo staged a Futures Championship earlier this year more than
50 players around the globe competed unfortunately all four Sri
Lankans were elimanted in the first round. With that experience
our players should know what is required in terms of preparation
if they are to advance further. At the last Futures Championship
Roberto Alavaraz of Argentina who was ranked 356th at that time
was the winner.
The event that
has excited officials the most is the US $10,000 Women's Professional
Tennis tournament which is scheduled to be held in June. The organisers
said the Women's tournament as a historic event because this is
the first time that Sri Lanka has been requested to conduct a womens
tournament. Like in the Futures Championship here too four Sri Lankan
players will get a chance of playing against superior foreign opposition.
Players between 100 and 200 in the women's world rankings are expected
The 2003 international
tournaments kicks off in early January with the 12 nation South
Asian under 14 championship, one of the three ITF junior tournaments
to be staged here. The other scheduled tournaments are January 2003
- Veterans over 35, 45 and 55 - 10 countries. February 10-16 - Under
18 - 20 ITF Junior Tennis Championship - 20 countries. February
- US $ 10,000 Jumbo Futures Tennis Championship - 30 countries.
June 16-22 - Davis Cup Group IV. August 18-24 -US $ 10,000 Women's
Tournament - 30 countries. August 25 - Sept 1 - US $10,000 Men's
Futures Championship - 35 countries. In September - Under 18 ITF
Junior Tennis Championship - 25 countries. October 27 - November
2 - US $10,000 Men's Futures Championship - 35 countries.
standings in the Under 12, 14 and 16 of the Boy's and Girl's singles
was released by the SLTA. Two players Yaveen Jayasekera in the boys
category and Mahesha Seneviratne in the girls category is ranked
on top in the Under 18 and Under 16 age group.
18 - 1. Yaveen Jayasekera. 2. S. Wickramasinghe. 3. D. Mayadinne.
4. Amrit Rupasinghe. 5. Oshada Wijemanne. Under 16 - 1. Yaveen Jayasekera.
2. U. Wickramasinghe. 3. S. Shashivaran. 4. C.C. Vidanarachchi.
5. Oshada Wijemannne. Under 14 - 1. U. Wickramasinghe. 2. A. Arudpragasam.
3. R. Kohulan. 4. C. Thalagala. 5. S. Shashivaran. Under 12 - 1.
T. Dineshkanthan. 2. U.A. Hewacottage. 3. Indika Wettasinghe. 4.
Michael Siyagune. 5. M. Hazari.