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Twenty one days after their fairy tale success at the Wills World Cup tournament, Arjuna Ranatunga and his team of champions will be looking forward to adding another feather to their cap when they take on Pakistan in the Singer Cup final, in Singapore today.
The 1992 world champions who were eliminated in the quarter-finals at this year's World Cup will get the opportunity to 'settle the score' and restore Pakistan's position in One-Day cricket.
Led by stand-in skipper Aamir Sohail, Pakistan thrashed their neighbours India, and went down fighting to the Lankans in the preliminary round games. They will now be looking to avenge their defeat when they meet the current World Champions again.
However, the Pakistanis will be confronted a star-studded Sri Lanka team which is bubbling with confidence and will be at full strength today. Asanka Gurusingha and Kumara Dharmasena who missed the last game will be back in the team today.
Openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, believed to be the most lethal pair in one-dayers, are expected to give another sizzling start and provide the platform for the rest of the batsmen to pile on the runs.
World record-breaker Jayasuriya is in the middle of a purple patch and will be eager to continue from where he left in the last Pakistan game. His partner Kaluwitharana is long overdue for a good score after recording a string of low scores in the recent one-dayers. The diminutive wicket keeper will have to control his temperament and be more selective in his strokes before unleashing his fury on the Pakistan bowlers.
With Gurusingha, De Silva, Ranatunga, Mahanama and Tillekaratne in good nick, the Lankan batting looks as solid as ever. However they must mix aggression with caution and phase out their innings accordingly, if they are to take heavy toll of the Pakistan bowlers.
Sohail, who came in for harsh criticism after his side's defeat to the Indians in the Wills World Cup, has led the side admirably in the Singer Cup against the Indians. Together with opening partner Said Anwar, the two has proved that they are capable of matching Sri Lanka's opening pair when it comes to the first 15 overs.
With the talent and experience of Salim Malik, Rameez Raja, Inzamam Ul Haq and Ejaz Ahamed, the former World Champs boosts of a batting line-up that can tear even the best bowling attack. The return of leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahamed will reinforce Pakistan's bowling. Mushtaq together with Saqlain will however be hard pressed to contain the run hungry Sri Lankan batsmen.
A big weakness in the Pakistan side in recent times has been their fielding. They have been guilty of dropping vital chances and also giving away unnecessary runs. Today they will have to sharpen their fielding skills if they are to prevent the Lankan batsmen from scoring freely.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan have both shown a preference to chase and win. With the unpredictable weather in Singapore, it is very likely that the Captain winning the toss will take the field first. The toss then will be of vital importance for both teams.
While Sri Lanka will be anxiously waiting to bring home another trophy, Pakistan will be eager to restore their lost cricketing glory in the one-day game.
The National Sports Festival 1996 conducted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will be held from August 22 to 24.
At this Sports Festival, 21 disciplines will be conducted, with athletics, volleyball, football, netball and Kabaddi to be played at the newly laid Bandarawela Esplanade.
A new event to be introduced at this year's festival is a women's marathon.
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga being the chief guest at the closing ceremony.
The competition schedule for the festival is,
June 15/16 - Weightlifting at Anuradhapura. June 18/19/20 - Hockey men and women at the Astro Turf. June 22/23 - Cricket at Galle. June 22/23 - Football preliminaries at Galle. June 28/29/30 - Marathon men & women at Matale. June 28/30 - Walking race men & women at Matale. July 3/4 - Badminton men & women at Colombo. July 3/4 - Table tennis men & women at Colombo. July 6/7 - Volleyball men & women at Madampe. July 9/10 - Men & women at Colombo. July 9/10 - Basketball men at Colombo. July 11/12 - Basketball women at Colombo. July 11/12 - Wrestling at Colombo. July 13/14 - Netball at Kandy. July 16/17 - Elle men at Wennappuwa. July 19/20 - Elle women at Wennappuwa. July 23/24 - Boxing at Colombo. July 23/24 - Kabaddi preliminaries at Colombo. July 27/28 - Swimming men & women in Colombo. July 27/28 - Gymnastics men & women in Colombo.
In the wake of Sri Lanka's World Cup victory, one of the oldest cricketing magazines comes out again with the publication of "Sri Lanka Cricket" Vol. I - 1996.
When Sri Lanka was granted test cricket status by the International Cricket Conference (ICC) in 1981 'Sri Lanka Cricketer' edited by L. R. Mendis made its pioneering appearance in that year and continued right up to 1987 publishing yearly. However in that year it was compelled to cease publication when national issues took precedence and cricket at international level took a back seat.
Although sparse in articles, the editorial and an essay entitled 'History of Test Cricket in Sri Lanka' tells of Sri Lankan international cricket history right down the years to 1996.
In yet another article written by the editor, the origins of the World Cup events and its highlights bring readers up to date on these exciting one-day events.
The best thing however about the magazine is its usefulness as a comprehensive reference book on all 50 test matches in which Sri Lanka has featured so far.
Indika Prasad of the Playgrounds TT League won the triple crown when he won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the Western Province Table Tennis championships at the Carey College Gymnasium.
In the mens' singles, top seed Indika Prasad beat the bottom seed Chamara Dushmantha in two sets 21-19-21-13.
The men's doubles was won by top seeds Indika Prasad and N. Sampath who beat Chamara Dushmantha and C. Wanasinghe 21-18, 21-12 while the women's doubles was won by the unseeded S. Perera and N. Hakel of Holy Family Convent who beat Anubha Karunaratne and E. Gunaratne of Girls High School, Mount Lavinia, 21-18, 21-10.
Indika and Pradeepa Dilrukshi won the mixed doubles beating Chamara Dushmantha and Anubha Kurunaratne 21-19, 21-11.
Top seed Nuwan Sampath won the boys' under-19 singles over the unseeded Dinesh Deshapriya 21-19-21-13, while unseeded Danuskha Udugama of Devi Balika Vidyalaya won the girls under-19 singles, beating Savitha Perera of Holy Family Convent 22-20, 21-17.
In the other games, unseeded Pradeepa Dilrukshi of St. Joseph's BMV Nugegoda bagged the womens Table Tennis singles crown, defeating another unseeded player, Anubha Karunaratne of Girls High School, Mount Lavinia in two straight sets 21-18, 21-19.
Unseeded Nishendri Aponso of Girls High School, Mount Lavinia beat M. Prajangani of St. Joseph's BMV Nugegoda in a three setter 21-11, 18-21, 21-12 to win the girls under 17 singles, with Rohan Sirisena of Royal College getting the better of Dinesh Deshapriya 15-21, 21-14, 21-14 in the same age group boys' final.
Sirisena won a double winning the boys' under-15 singles getting the better of Dinesh Deshapriya in a three setter 21-11, 16-21, 21-17 while the second seed Akushla Buddini of St. Joseph's BMV beat the top seed Singithi Deva her team mate in a three setter 21-12, 14-21, 22-20.
The results of the other age group singles are:
Boys' under 13 singles - Dinesh Deshapriya beat Jaliya Jayatilleka 21-9, 21-9. Girls' under 13 singles - Pradeepa Dilrukshi beat Akushla Buddini 21-18, 17-21, 21-16. Boys under 11 singles - Kushan Weerasuriya beat Jaliya Jayatilleka 21-17, 14-21, 21-19. Girls' under 11 singles - K. Udagama beat Nuwango Aponso 21-18, 21-17. Boys' under 9 singles - Tharindi Samaraweera beat Chaminda Udawatta 21-13, 21-18. Girls under 9 singles - Kishani Abeykoon beat Upadaya Nilupuli 21-10, 21-17. Veterans' mens' singles - Mohammed Laffir beat N.H. Piyadasa 21-17, 21-19. Veterans' womens singles - Ira Ruwanpathirana beat Nalini Senanayake 21-18, 17-21, 21-16. Special awards - Most outstanding player of the tournament - Dinesh Deshapriya. Most promising player of the tournament - Akushla Buddini.
Natasha Kodituwakku of St. Bridget's Convent and Gheffari Dulapandan of S. Thomas', Mount Lavinia emerged overall champions in the Open section at the 21st National Pentathlon Swimming Championships concluded at the Ananda College Swimming Pool.
Natasha who won the first places in the free style dolphin, back stroke, breast and individual medley aggregating 2,242 points, while Gheffari also won the same events to aggregate 2,982 points.
The other swimmers to excel were:
Girls - Manju Jayasundera, Meneka de Silva, Melani Bauman, Amanthi Senerath, Theekshana Ratnasekera, Ruchira Money and Thirani Warnakulasuriya.
Boys - Sean Henricus, Kusal Jayasekera, Erantha Perera, Duleeka Nanayakkara, Abishek Kalupathirana, Conrad Francis and Sean Lee.
S. Thomas' with an aggregate of 68 points won the overall championships followed by Royal 51 and St. Joseph's 49, while St. Bridget's with 48 points won the girls overall title followed by Bishop's 43 and Visakha Vidyalaya 31 points.
Air Force bagged the double winning the men's and women's titles at the Rupavahini Volleyball Championships conducted jointly by the National Youth Council at the NYSC Courts at Maharagama.
In the women's final, Air Force beat NYSC in three straight sets, 15-4, 15-10, 15-4; while in the semi-finals the Airwomen beat Sri Lanka Juniors B 15-7, 15-8 and NYSC beat Sri Lanka Juniors A 15-6, 15-13.
In the men's final, Air Force beat Martin Impex by 3 sets to 1, 15-9, 14-13, 10-15, 16-14; while in the semi-finals, Air Force beat Nattandiya United 15-4, 15-4, 15-13 and Martin Impex beat FDK Lanka 15-9, 15-9, 9-15 and 17-15.
Best sevens men and women - J. Kumara, Rasika Sanjeewani. Best receivers men and women - Gamini Samaraweera, Kumari Wanniarachchi. Best setters men and women - Nalin Sampath and Nayana Jayaratne. Best spikers men and women - Milinda Peiris, Priyanga C. Kumari. Best defenders - Ravindra Manjula, Chamila Herath. Best blockers - Ruwan Champika, Krishanthi Jayawardena. Best players - Saman Chandranath, Mangalika Wasanthi.
The Sri Lanka Schools Junior Cricket tournament conducted by the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association and played for the Horlicks Trophy under 13 and 15 will get underway in May.
Rs. 5 million has been pumped in by the sponsors for this tournament till the year 2000 commencing this year.
The sponsors have also decided to award cricketing gear to all winning teams in each age group, promising teams in both age groups and the most popular junior cricketers.
With an idea of promoting the game further cricket caps and T-shirts are also to be given away to all finalists plus the special awards for the highest run gettter, highest wicket taker, most number of catches, most number of dismissals (wicket keepers), fastest 50 and fastest 100.
Marlon S. Delano of St. Joseph's College, Colombo and Upeka Samarawickrema of St. Bridget's Convent retained their Sea King and Sea Queen crowns at the 32nd Kinross 6 Mile Sea Swim sponsored by Bank of Ceylon concluded at Wellawatte.
Delano clocked 2 hours 29 minutes 5 seconds in the rough seas' 1 minute 45 seconds behind last year's timing while Samarawickrema who finished the course in 3 hours 19 minutes 10 seconds, 6 minutes 6 seconds slower than last year's winning timing.
Finishing second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth places were K. P. Ranjan, K. P. Kumara, Nuwan Dilruck, Chaminda Kumara and Eranga Sujith of Sri Devananda, Ambalangoda.
In all 48 men and 1 woman came under the starters orders.
Sri Devananda with an aggregate of 164 points won the overall team championships and was awarded the Jurab A. Jafferjee Challenge Cup with St. Joseph's and Kinross with 62 and 46 points finishing in second and third positions respectively.
Eleven year old Mahesh Prasanna of Sri Devananda was awarded the Maharajah Challenge Cup for the youngest swimmer, with H. A. Jayantha of the AirForce winning the Tissa Ariyaratne Challenge Cup for the oldest swimmer.
Susil Sampath Perera won the E. R. Templer Challenge Cup for the first Kinross swimmer to finish the race.
The Nuwara-Eliya Moto-Cross and Road Races conducted by the Sri Lanka Racing Riders' Association will be held on April 14 and 15, 20 and 21 respectively.
A few champion riders from India are expected to participate at this popular event.
The Moto-Cross events will comprise Novices 80, 125 and 250 CC, street trail 80, 125, 250 CC and open, racing Moto X 80, 125, 250 CC, open and 4 stroke open.
The Road Races will comprise events for Standard modified 50, 100, 125 and 250 CC, racing 125, 250 CC and open and 4 stroke open.
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