testing tour in progress
By Ranil Abeynaike
Although Sri Lanka and West Indies have been involved in cricketing
contests for many decades before and after Sri Lanka were accepted
as full members the team that has left our shores is only the second
to visit the Caribbean islands.
The first was only a brief sojourn. For teams touring from England
and Australia it is a part of their playing life that they look
forward to eagerly. It is part of their cricket heritage.
To the Sri
Lankans it will be a great experience and a testing assignment.
For a majority of the side it will be venturing into new ground,
an unfamiliar culture and way of life style. The playing surfaces
will also be different. But a relaxing atmosphere awaits them in
the holiday resort islands.
feared the West Indies pace battery in the days gone by. Roberts,
Holding, Croft, Garner, Marshal, Clarke, Daniel, Bishop, Patterson
and a few others who appeared and disappeared, could send a shudder
down the spine of even the best of willow wielders. Ambrose and
Walsh, who matched any of the others before them, temporarily brought
down the curtain.
leads the current pace attack who at best could be described as
above average. No batsman will lose any sleep thinking of countering
this attack. Their main advantage is being familiar with home conditions,
which is totally alien to the Sri Lankans.
production line producing demon fast bowlers and naturally brilliant
batsmen dried-up in the nineteen ninetees. Only Brian Lara and to
a lesser extent Carl Hooper have survived. Many reasons have contributed
to this situation. Lack of money in the game has been a major factor.
Other more lucrative sports and job lines have distracted many from
the other nations built-up an infra-structure to develop players,
the West Indians were short sighted and kept depending on natural
talent. Considering the multitude of men available to support and
promote the game their decline is a very sad spectacle.
the past twelve months there have been signs of revival. Sir Viv
Richards, now in his role as Chief Selector, has worked with the
team management and behind the scenes to set about the repair work.
has certainly come good. There are half-a-dozen players, with Lara
in the forefront, capable of scoring against any attack in the world.
On the last occasion, in Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan baffled
all, but the great Lara.
That will be
the biggest test. Can they get the better of the champion off spinner?
Sri Lanka's performances of late have not been convincing. They
have all that is required in terms of talent and experience.
as a cohesive unit is what is required. Against New Zealand and
in the recently concluded tri-nation series that was lacking. There
were good individual performances, but collectively the team’s
requirements were not satisfied.
Three one day
internationals and two tests, coupled with a few practice games
does not give enough space to get familiar with playing conditions.
That is part of today’s game. With the two team concept in
operation, some players will be back even before they settle down!
It is an important
tour for Sri Lanka. The West Indies although well beaten by Australia
must come into this series with some confidence after winning the
last three one-dayers.
The two captains,
Marvan Atapattu and Hashan Tillekeratne, Duleep Mendis (Coach) and
Ajith Jayasekera (Manager), must muster the players to perform to
their best potential, with consistency. That way they will triumph
against this West Indian outfit.
Union squash from June 14
Union will hold an Open Squash Tournament from June 14 to 21, sponsored
by Janashakthi for the Janashakthi Trophy. This was revealed at
a media briefing held at their clubhouse, chaired by its president
Tryphon Mirando, in association with the president of the Federation,
Bren Soza. It will be a ranked tournament for men and women, boys
and girls, and should give players more competition after the recent
SSC Open Championship.
generated tremendous enthusiasm among juniors. This eight-day tournament
will be staged at the Tamil Union National Sports Complex. There
will be men's and women's open Intermediate (over 35 for both men
and women) plus junior events under 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and Plate
events. Entries will be accepted at the Tamil Union AC office and
at the Air Force Sports Complex up to June 10 and the draw will
be held on the same day.
surely, Squash has taken firm roots since its inception, with many
clubs and schools taking to this healthy sport. In its wake has
been able to develop the sport to gain International recognition.
One of them was Saman Tillekeratne, who has made a name in the European
The Tamil Union
C and AC formed in 1899 has made many firsts in the annals of Sri
Lanka sports - especially cricket and hockey. But today has spread
its wings to other sports, too. Affording facilities to its membership
with an Indoor Sports Complex bordering to international standards.
It could hold any national contest be it badminton or squash at
the Janashakthi Sports Complex - thanks to the brainchild of former
Thomian, Chandra Schaffter.-BW
fluctuates for Susanthika and Pradeep
timing device gives way again
By M. Shamil Amit
The much looked forward to event, the second leg of the Asian Athletics
Grand Prix at the Sugathadasa Stadium was a success for the Sri
Lankans athletes and the organisers in general.
At the Hyderabad
version, the Sri Lankans managed only two golds from Susanthika
Jayasinghe and Pradeep Kumara but in the Colombo version they went
a little further by bagging five gold medals through Susanthika
and Pradeep Kumara again and then from Damayanthie Darsha, the 100m
men's relay quartet and the men's 3000 meters event.
The event was
well organised but one of the main ingredient for the occasion,
the much needed timing device which is essential for a event of
this magnitude went wrong again as in the 14th Asian Athletics Championship
held at the same venue. Before the event was scheduled to be held
the media was made to understand that the timing device will be
functioning at this important meet.
was there! Only a small dot was visible on the screen. At the championships
held last year there was at least the names of the participants
occasionally. Speculation was that it had been tampered by some
He said that
the timing device was functioning even this morning, "We had
spent so many millions in giving this tender to the said company.
A balance is due to them and now the minister has told not to pay
that as well", said the official who met the press. Another
thing he told was that the timing device does not suit the Sri Lankan
The Sunday Times
on an earlier occasion had pointed out some of the shortcomings
of the dealing with this unknown company from Austria whilst giving
the tender to them. All efforts taken by the Athletics Association
of Sri Lanka to conduct this prestigious event successfully had
this as the only shortcoming. Other than that it was well organised.
After the conclusion
of the event Maurice Nicholas Secretary of the AAA said that he
was more than satisfied and commended the AASL officials for conducting
the event. "We have the confidence of the officials now and
they are capable of organising international events.We will give
them the chance to conduct more international meets", he said.
When asked why prominent participants from the Middle East were
not in the fray, he said it did not matter, adding, "We wont
stop the meet if they don't participate".
You wait and
see the time will come when they will come behind, this is only
the start as before this we have never given cash awards for any
championships. We will be increasing the prize money every year
Back to the
Asian Grand Prix. The Sri Lankans tasted success at the home event
with Susanthika Jayasinghe recording her second successive win along
with Pradeep Kumara in the women's 100m and men's 400 mts respectively
bringing their prize money to $ 6000. But the most encouraging performance
came from Damayanthie Dharsha who came back to her winning form
but she had to put in all the effort possible.
In the men's
400 metres event the first four placings were participants from
Sri Lanka which was a good sign. Though Sugath Tilekeratne had to
play second fiddle he cannot be written off and the other runner
who should go places in this event in time to come is third placed
Prasanna Amarasekera, with a little more exposure in the international
arena he is sure to improve and be a threat to his seniors.
loss rhythm, Susanthika pushed back to the second slot. Thats what
happened at the third leg held in Bangkok, Thailand on June 5. Sprint
queen Susanthika who came first in the first two legs of the Grand
Prix was surprisingly beaten in a thriller by Uzbekistan's Khubbieva
Guzel who played second fiddle in the previous two legs. Likewise
two leg winner Pradeep Kumara was placed second on the Bangkok leg
by arch rival Sugath Thilakeratne.
Darsha who regained her winning tag at Sugathadasa Stadium maintained
her position at Bangkok with a improved timing of 52.20 as against
the 52.74 in Colombo but way behind from her best of 51.05. The
two wins gives Darsha also a prize money of $ 6000. Sriyani Kulawansa
lost her third successive race to Trecia Roberts of Thailand and
had to be satisfied with second places.
In Bangkok the
Sri Lankans got two golds and with the completion of three legs
the Sri Lankans have secured seven gold medals. Tomorrow the fourth
and the last leg is scheduled to be held in Manila, Philippines.
By Bernie Wijesekera
Trinity Old Boys dismayed at the poor rugby performances last year
moved with great rapidity to overcome the situation. The result
was a win over Vidyartha and the much talked to 20 all draw against
reigning Milo Schools Champions St. Peter's.
rugby takes precedence over all other disciplines. In the process
they have produced some of the finest rugby players at national
level. Even their arch rivals Royal will admire them for their skillful
and dazzling rugby. The likes of late Kavan Rambukwella, Denzil
Kobbekaduwe, Nimal Maralande, Mohan Sahyam, Mohan Balasuriya, Glen
Vanlangenberg, Y.C. Chang, Gamini Fernando, Jupana Jayawardena,
Saliya Udugama, Ajit Abeyratne just to name a few. Last year, however,
was one of the worst seasons in the annals of 'Lions' rugby history.
The Old Boys
section (rugby) was quick to move in and close the gap. Within one
year with a concerted team effort they have moved in the correct
path. The move was headed by Trinity Principal Breckenridge who
assisted them in their endeavour to revive the game. Several hands
joined the scrum to elevate their position.
They were able
to get the services of Geoff M. Garland, a foreign coach from Down
Under , thanks to Dilip Kumar, an Old Boy who is the vice chairman
of Australian Rugby Board. Geoff, a schoolmaster and a qualified
coach planned out the strategy. He was assisted by Alex Lazarus.
Garland played the role of a foster father to the players on and
off the field. His son too may be joining Trinity and probably will
turn out for the 'Lions'.
If he turns
out it will be a big thing for the lad to play away from home. The
Trinitians led by Migara Maddumapatabendi, gave a fine display of
cohesive rugby to the avid fans in their confrontation against the
seasoned Peterites, who dominated the first half. They were helped
two snap tries against the run of play.
The Petes had
a durable place-kicker. The Trinity kicker was inadequate and lost
points. But he did well to put over the "decider" seconds
before the long whistle to make it a thrilling 20 -all draw.
ran the ball. There is no better way to launch the fightback to
breach their opponents' defence. This gave Trinity fresh hope to
come back to their own. In the process the gutty Peterites, who
gave nothing away suffered by way of injuries to some of their key
If the Hill
Capital side had any chinks in their armour, it was their fitness.
Even Alex Lazarus agreed. They should overcome this with better
training on their own.
The Trinity fly-half did well to punt ahead intelligently midway
in the second half. He opened out the game for the backs to run
Even the staunch
Peterite supporters commended their effort. They even deserved to
win. But a draw was a fitting result. The Hill Capital school has
come back to their own, after last season's misery. The future holds
good thanks to the Old Boys Rugby Section.
The Petes really,
played their hearts out, but the 'lions' roared and kept them at
bay. George Simpkin the National rugby consultant, who was an observer
commended both teams.
He had a word
of praise for the Petes scrum half. He looks good. Trinity has brought
back their lost pride. It's good for the game. Both teams shook
hands and camaraderie prevailed in the end. It is a match to be