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19th December 1999

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St. Lucia's annexe Rodrigo rugby trophy

St. Lucia's, Kotahena won the overall championships in the Granville Rodrigo memorial rugby tournament concluded at the St. Benedict's Collge Grounds, Katahena.

In all, over 32 schools participated with over 1000 ruggerites scrumming down in the age groups of under 9, 10, 11,12,13,14 &15.

Respective results.

Under 9 Group A

St. Lucia's bt. Davi Samara 15-10 to win the Cicero Fonseka trophy in which 20 schools participated.

Davi Samara, Seeduwa bt Siri Piyaratna MMV Padukka 15-nil and St. Lucia's Kotahena bt Sir Baron Jayatilleka MV 10-5 in the two semi finals in the cup championships.

Siri Pangnananda, Seeduwa bt St. Anthony's Wattala 10-5 in the Plate finals, while Siri Pangnananda bt Maligakanda MV 5-nil and St. Anthony's Wattala bt Harischandra MV., Negombo 15-5 in the two semi finals.

De La Salle, Mutwal beat Davi Samara MV., Seeduwa in the Bowl finals 15-10, with Davi Samara defeating Dharmapala, Pannipitiya 10-5 and De La Salle beat Kalutara MV. 5-nil in the two semi finals.

Al Hilal, Negombo beat Udammita MV., Kotugoda 10-5 to win the Saman Jayasinghe Trophy in the under-9 Pool B finals while Al Hilal beat Amandoluwa, Seeduwa 10-5 and Udammita beat T.B. Jayah MV., Colombo 2. 10-nil in the two semi finals.

Vijaya Vidyalaya bagged the Y. C. Chang Trophy defeating Siri Piyaratana MV., Padukka 15-nil.

Siri Piyaratana beat Harischandra MMV., 10-5 and Vijaya Vidyalaya beat Dharmaloka, Kelaniya 10-nil.

In the Plate finals in the same age group St. Lucia's beat St. Joseph's Grandpass 10-5, with St. Lucia's beat T. B. Jayah 10-5, St. Joseph's beat Tissa MMV., Kalutara 5-nil in the semi-finals.

Davi Samara, Seeduwa beat Siri Pangnananda 5-nil to win the Bowl final while in the semi finals, Davi Samara beat Harischandra MV 5- nil and Siri Pangananda beat Homagama MV 10-5.

Sir Baron Jayatilleka MV beat St. Anthony's, Wattala by 10 points to 5 to win the under-11 age group cup championships and annex the Iqbal Hassen Trophy. In all 20 schools participated.

Sir Baron Jayatilleka MV beat Kalutara MV 5-nil and St. Anthony's beat Gurukula. St. Lucia's beat De La Salle Mutwal 5-nil to win the Plate championships with De La Salle beat Sri Pangnananda MV 15 - 10 and St. Lucia's beat Davi Samara 10-5 in the semi finals.

Dharmapala, Pannipitiya beat Udammita Seeduwa to win the Bowl championships, with Udammita MV beating Siri Piyaratana MMV 10 - 5 and Dharmapala defeating Dharmaloka MV 5-nil in the semis.

The Arjun Dharmadasa Trophy was won by Sri Pangnananda MV beat Gurukula MV., Kelaniya 10 - 5 in winning the under 12 cup championships out of the 26 schools that participated.

Gurukula beat Kalutara MV 10 - 5 and Sri Pangnananda beat Sir Baron Jayatilleka MV 10 - 5 in the semi finals.

The plate championships was won by St Lucia's who beat Dharmaloka 5-nil, with Dharmaloka defeating St. Anthony's 15 - 10 and St. Lucia's defeating Sri Rathanapala, Wattala 10-nil in the semis.

Davi Samara, Seeduwa beat Homagama MV 15 -10 in the Bowl finals with Davi Samara defeating Bloemendhal Vidyalaya 15-nil and Homagama MV defeating Udammita MV 10-5 in the semi-finals.

Harischandra MV, Negombo won the under 13 Cup championships and was awarded the Rizly Illyas Trophy defeating Kalutara MV 5-nil.

In the semi finals Harischandra beat Gurukula 10-5 and Kalutara MV beat Vijaya Vidyalaya 15-10.

The Plate championships was won by St. Lucia's who beat President's College 10-5 and on their way to reaching the fianls, President's Maharagama beat St. Anthony's Wattala 10 - 5 and St. Lucia's beat De La Salle 15 nil.

Sir Baron Jayatilleka beat Dharmaloka Kelaniya 5-nil in the Bowl championships with Dharmaloka defeating T. B. Jayah MV 15-nil and Sir Baron Jayatilleka defeating Vijaya Vidyalaya 10 - 5 in the semi finals.

The Capt. Harsha Mayadunne trophy was won by Harischandra MV., Negombo in the under 14 Cup championships defeating Kaltara MV 10 - 5.

Harischandra beat Amandoluwa MV 15 - 10 and Kalutara MV beat Dharmaloka 10 - 5 in the two semi-finals.

St. Lucia's beat Tissa MV 5-nil in the Plate finals, earlier Tissa MV beat De La Salle 10 - 5 and St. Lucia's beat Sri Pangnananda 5-nil.

In the bowl finals, Gurukula MV Kelaniya bagged the trophy defeating Gurukula beat Malikanda MV 10-nil and Udammita MV beat Davi Samara 5-nil in the two semi-finals.

The Chubby Wijetunga trophy was won by Sir Baron jayatilleka MV by 10 points to 5 in the under 15 cup championships, Sir Baron Jayatilleka beat St. Anthony's, Wattala 15 - 5 and St. Lucia's beat Sri Pangnananda 15 -10 in the two semi finals.

Udammita MV seeduwa beat Sri Rathanapala MV 15-nil, earlier Sri Rathanapala beat Gurukula 10 - 5 and Udammita beat Tissa MV 20 - 15 in the two semi-finals in the Plate championships.

Davi Samara, Seeduwa beat Dharmapala Pannipitiya 20 - 15 in winning the same age group Bowl championships.

Dharmapala beat Kotahena Central 15 - 5 and Davi Samara beat Maligakanda 10 - 5 in the semi-finals.

The tournament was organised by Basil Rodrigo of the Western Province Rugby Football Union with Anton Bendict, the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union the Chief Guest.

The Granville Rodrigo memorial trophy was donated by Lilantha Perera, the Member of the Western Provincial Council.

Mrs. Clarice Rodrigo, mother of Granville, gave away the overall champions trophy to St. Lucia's.

My Police Memories

By S. Sivendran

(Retd. Snr. Supdt. of Police)

'Sivas Seven', a big draw

In 1971 the Jaffna Police seven-a-side rugby team created history when they took part in the annual police Inter-Division's Rugby Tournament played at Police Park, Bambalapitiya on 29.02.71 and 1.03.71 and was awarded the C.P Wambeck Challenge Trophy for emerging runners-up to "Depot" the present Field Force Headquarters who were virtually the Police Griffins rugger team which is permanently based at Bambalapitiya.

The "Daily Mirror' writer 'Argus' reported on this tournament on 15.03.71 "Jaffna cops come second in sevens". The police ruggerites of the North took Colombo by storm when they outran and outscored several better known teams in the recenly concluded Police seven-a- side rugby football tournament.

The Police Park was the scene of some thrilling rugby by enthusiastic policemen, some of them handling a rugger ball for the first time.

"Jafna Sevens", all new to the game played the oval ball having come under the coaching of Inspector Sivendran and were able to make their presence felt in no small way.

At the end of the two day rugby fare, they finished runners-up to the strong Depot Police losing the final by 3 points to 8.

"Sivas Sevens", as the chaps from the North came to be known, were a big draw and showed their ability in toto. This is how they confounded some of the more fancied sides in the tournament.

Beat Southern Province 11-5, beat Depot 'A' 8-nil, beat Nuwara Eliya 3-nil, beat kandy 9-nil in the semi final and succumbed to an almost entire bunch of "Griffins" in the finals.

Jaffna by their showing created rugby history in the police sevens by annexing the C.P Wambeck Cup, which is awarded to to the side that finished second.

Inspector Sivendran who instilled all his knowledge of the game into to the boys was the happiest man around the police the other day and goes back to the North with the idea of imparting the game to the schoolboys there.

It is the fervent hope of all rugby playing clubs and schools that the game will catch on in Jaffan and that 'Siva' will help in its propagation."

The youthful Jaffna Sevens team was captained by a smart and handsome Sub Inspector Ranjith Dharmaratne, an ace athlete from St. Benedict's College, who also played rugby for his Alma Mater in the company of Tony Dole, Ronnie Bolling, Ranjith Fernando (former All Ceylon cricketer and Commentator) Cletus Gomez, Tellace Anandappa and Stanley Joseph to name a few, and he had a bunch of raw recruits playing their hearts out alongside him. When I got back to Jaffna with the sevens team they were given a hero's welcome by police officers and members of the public with several receptions as they had done Jaffna proud.

Immediately thereafter R. Sunderalingam, Senior Superintendent of Police Northern Province who gave us all the support was a happy man and wanted me to go as officer-in-charge of the Kayts Police and when I told him that I had never been to that side of the Jaffna lagoon to any of the islands he smiled and requested me to go and predicted that I will fare well in Kayts. So I made my journey with my wife and newly-born baby across the Pannai causeway to the Island of Kayts.

During my attachment at the Jaffna Police Station as Inspector in charge of Administration, the Jaffna Police excelled in soccer and took part in the Jaffna Public Services Knock-Out Soccer Tournament in 1970. The ceram of Clubs in Jaffna played in this tournament which was very popular and the Jaffna Police became the champions winning the G.G. Ponnambalam Q.C. Challenge Trophy. This team was coached by Inspector K.B. Pussella who had the distinction of keeping goal for the country and also played rugby for the Police alongside me.


Vernon School of Cricket

The Vernon School of Cricket will be declared open at No. 531/2, Negombo Road, Seeduwa next month.

Vernon Senanayake is the Cricket Board's coach for the Gampaha District Cricket Association.

He is a trained coach in England and has been coaching De Mazenod College and other teams for over 16 years.

Twelve to 15-year-olds could be coached by Vernon in all aspects of the game to be good all-rounders.

All those successfully completing the training course will be awarded a certificate from the National Cricket Association of England.

Training for the other age groups will be conducted later.

Registrations to follow this course close on December 16.

Vernon's aim is to produce 100 quality cricketers per year.

Dunstan Heads Crusaders SC

Dunstan Fernando, President of the Crusaders SC, Kalutara, was unanimously elected the President of the Kalutara District Cricket Association at its annual general meeting conducted by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka at its headquaters.

Sujith Cooray, Western Province Council member, also representing Crusaders SC was elected as a Vice President. Representatives from ten clubs in the Kalutara district participated.

President - Dunstan Fernando, Vice Presidents - Sujith Cooray, K.V.R. Gunasakera (Kalutara YCC), Rohana Ariyaratne (Old Sripalian SC), Chaminda Liyanage (Matugama CC), Anurath Abeyratne (Panadura SC). Tournament Committee - Priyantha Soysa (chairman - Panadura SC), S. Fernando (Crusaders SC) , Kamal Sanjeewa (Weera SC), Christopher Fernando (Panadura SC).- Marcus Joseph

Fine win for Royal Panadura

Panadura Royal College achieved a fine 33 run victory over Matugama MMV in the semi finals of the Inter-School under-13 Tournament encounter played at the Panadura esplanade.

Panadura Royal - 171 all out in 50 overs. (A. de Alwis 72, K. Lakshan 39, Milan Senanayake 22, M. Indika 12, S. Samarasinghe 2 for 21, A. Udakanda 2 for 22).

Matugama MMV - 138 all out in 41.2 overs (S. Samarasinghe 20, E. Nuwan 15, M. Senanayake 3 for 25, P. Silva 2 for 21). (M.J.)

Brothers SC bag Kalutara TT title

Aluthgama Brothers S.C emerged champions at the Kalutara District table tennis competition held at Aluthgama Maha Vidyalaya playground.

The competition was organised by Kalutara District Table Tennis Organisation with the help of the Aluthgama Bentota Lions Club.

Lion Sunil Liyanage (Lion District 306A) was the chief guest.


A division champions: Brothers S.C Alutgama; Runners-up Alutgama Maha Vidyalaya

B division champions:

Brothers S.C Alutgama; Runners-up Aluthgama Maha Vidyalaya.

C. division champions: Brothers S.C Aluthgama; Runners-up Taxila M.M.V., Horana

D division champions:

Brothers S.C Alutgama; Runners-up Aluthgama Maha Vidyalaya.

Women: A division Champions: Sangamitta Balika Vidyalaya Alutgama;

Runners-up Sangamitta Balika Vidyalaya, Aluthgama.

B division champions: Horana Taxila M.M.V.

Runners up: Sri Sumangala Balika Maha Vidyalaya

C division champions: Sangamitta Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Aluthgama

Runners up: Sri Sumangala Balika Maha Vidyalaya Panadura.

D division champions: Sri Sumangla Balika M.V., Panadura.

Runners up: Sri Sumangla Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Panadura.- H.P.P. Perera

Sports Drive In Kalutara

Rs 200,000/= has been allocated by Kumara Welgama, the District Member of Kalutara to develop the sportive talents of youths in rural areas and also grant scholarships to talented youths in sports.

This was disclosed by Sunil Dodangoda, vice-Chairman of Bulathsinghala P.S. and the Co-ordinating Officer of the M.P.

He has also requested the youths to submit their correct particulars of achievements of sports of youths in Kalutara District to Sunil Dodangoda, Bulathsinhala. (H.P.P)

Old Uvites beat Red Hearts

A fine double by M.A Sourjah enabled Old Uvites S.C to beat Red Heart Sports Club from Welimada by 48 runs in their Badulla District Division III limited over cricket encounter. Sourjah who scored 20 runs, captured 5 wickets for 11 runs. Janaka Ratnayake top scored with 43 runs and enabled Old Uvites S.C to score 166 runs in 30.5 overs. Red Hearts S.C were able to score only 118 runs in 32.2 overs. S. Shankar excelled for Red Hearts S.C by scoring 29 runs and capturing 6 wickets for 34 runs.

Chief Scores:

Old Uvites S.C 166 (B.S. M. Shiran 12, Ajith Jeewantha 21, M.A Sourjah 20, Janaka Ratnayake 43, S. Shankar 6 for 34 and M. Ansar 2 for 35)

Red Heart S.C 118 (M Naleem16, S. Shankar 29, M.A Sourjah 5 for 11 and S. Pallewatte 4 for 30) - V.T Rajah, Our Badulla Sports Correspondent

Badulla Prisons win by 38 runs

A fine double by Saman Priyantha enabled Badulla Prisons Recreation Club to score an easy 38 runs victory over S. Thomas College, Bandarawela in their Badulla District Division III limited over cricket encounter played on Saturday (11.12.99) at the Badulla Esplanade.

Saman Priyantha scored 45 runs to enable Prisons R.C to reach 138 runs in 27 overs. Later Saman Priyantha (3 for15) and Kapila Athauda (3 for14) restricted STC for100 runs in 25.2 overs.

Badulla Prisons Recreation Club: 138 (Asitha Gunathilake 14, Saman Priyantha 45, W.H. Kalinga Ratna 17, S. Ganesh 2 for 4 Priyalal 2 for 15 and Priyantha 5 for 29).

S. Thomas' College, Bandarawela 100 ( S. Ganesh 21, Kapila Athuda 3 for 14, D.M Sunil 2 for 24 and Saman Priyantha 3 for 15). - Badulla Sports Correspondent

Dejected referee Dilroy

By Ravi Nagahawatte

Rugby referee Dilroy Fernando has decided to give up refereeing.

It could have been the last thing he imagined, to give up so early. But the 37-year-old says he had no choice but to quit due to several shortcomings of the referees' controlling body, The Sri Lanka Rugby Referees' Society.

However, like a determined hiker he was decided to look for other roads, other avenues which can help him move ahead in life's journey.

For the former Sri Lanka player dissappointments are only a temporary stumbling blocks.

"If I am disappointed by not getting what I want, I look for other avenues which will bring me happiness. I do not depend on philosophy or religion to back me when I am disappointed. I just believe in myself said Fernando.

Disappointmert coupled with disturbance is nothing new to Dilroy's life. He got his first shock when his elder brother Milroy, an army officer, died in action.

Three years later his father passed away. But the sting of unhappy events did not end till there were two more deaths in the family.

He lost two of his brothers through a rare lung disease. "These things only hardened me," says Dilroy.

The disappointments had then crept into his rugby career as well. Finishing his rugby career at Isipatana Maha Vidyalaya, Dilroy had joined CR &FC to further his ambitions in the sport.

Despite showing a lot of promise as a talented player and being selected to represent Sri Lanka in the Asiad the officials at his club had once picked a player junior to him to lead the side.

A dejected Dilroy had continued to play a few matches that year before an appendicitis operation put an end to his rugby career.

But then Dilroy looked for other avenues in rugby to continue his links in the sport.

He did not have to tax his brains much before the idea of forming a rugby commitee for his school surfaced.

The Isipatana Maha Vidyalaya Rugby Commitee was formed in 1989 with him being the first General Secretary.

Dilroy was again on his feet and moving ahead in the rugby circles.

Dilroy the player turned Dilroy the administrator.

He is at present the chairman of this rugby commitee. He had begun to find happiness once again in the sport where his career as a player and referee included many ups and downs.

He took to refereeing in 1992 to give something back to the sport he loves so much.

Dilroy was straightaway promoted as an A division referee and had his hour of honour six years latter when he was picked to be the touch judge in the 1998 Commonwealth Games rugby final between New Zealand and Fiji.

His achevements as a referee also include running touch at the historic Test match between China and Singapore and officiating in the 1996 Cup final of the Inter-Club Black's ten-a-side tournament in singapore.

Running his business as a successful managing director of three companies dealing in freight, trade and merchandising Dilroy says that now he will have more time for his office work since he will not be refereeing.

"The officials of the SLRRS got rid of two other senior referees earlier. Then they were gunning for me because I was an obstacle. I am not under obligation to anyone. And I don't need rugby to survive", said Dilroy.

Jayatilleke shines at powerlifting meet

D.U.M. Jayatilleke, Assistant Director of the Physical Education Department of the Peradeniya University won the Most Outstanding Power Lifter's Award at the 10th National Powerlifting Championships held at the Soysapura Community Gymnasium at Moratuwa. Jayatilleka won the 125 kilo weight category with an aggregate of 605 points. He broke the national records in the squat, bench press and dead lift.

He lowered the records that belonged to R.S de Soysa 205 squat, 90kg bench press and 202kg dead lift.

New records were also broken by Bernard Tillekaratne of the Army in the 56kg category where he broke his own record in the dead lift event with 197.5 kgs. His old record stood at 195 kgs.

Bernard was awarded the Best Power Lifter's title.

The focus on the final day was on the women power lifters with Lt. E.M.I.K Ekanayake, M.M. S. Jayasundara of the Army and Nadinee Gunasekera of Kegalle Sports Club setting up records.

Results (Men)

56kg. R.W.K Bernard Fernandesz (Army), H.Y.S.W. Rupasena (Army);

60kg. R.K.G. Jayweera (Ultra Fitness Centre), B.M. Priyanka Bandara (Ultra Fitness Centre), C. Pushpa Kumara (Hermes SC);

67.5 kg. N.P.K Herath (Ultra Fitness Centre), M.A.Masakin (Ultra Fitness Centre), C.H Francis Silva ( Airport & Aviation SC);

75kg. M.A Chandana Wimal (Super Eagle), U.P. Hapugoda (Ultra Fitness Centre), Rohitha Kumara (Kandy Power Lifting Club);

82.5 kg. G.R.P.K. Wijewardena (Ultra Fitness Centre), K.C.P. Fernando (Army), H.M.P.C. Tillekaratne (Fitness Kingdom);

90 kg. K. Somadasa (Army), L.D Priyantha (Super Eagle Club), H.M. D. A. Herath (Ultra Fitness Centre);

100 kg. D. Anthony (Power World), M.N Ibrahim (Ultra Fitness Centre);

110 kg. D.U.M. Jayatilleka (Peradeniya University).

Women - 44 kg. W.B. Sanjeewana Dilurukshi (Powerman SC);

48 kg. S.A Hemali Achini Sooriyarachchi (Galagamuwa SC), G.W.T.N Premaratne (Deerananda MV), H.M Udeni Senarath (Manikdiwela MV);

52 kg. C.R Kumari Ariyaratne (Deerananda MV), Y.A.S. Niranjala (Army);

60 kg. Nadinie Gunasekera (Kegalle SC), R.G.D Kumari (Menikdiwela MV), E.A.N. Ellegoda (Galagamuwa SC);

67.5 kg. S.L Dharamasena (Menikdiwela MV), P.K.R.T.D. Pitigala (Air port & Aviation SC);

75 kg. J.M.M.S. Jayasundera (Army), P.M L Kumari (Menikdiwela MV), P.G.V.P. Palagama (Swarnajothi MMV);

82.5 kg. Lt E.M.I.K. Ekanayake (Army), S.D.N.K. Dias (Airport & Aviation).

Wirantha Fernando, the Western Province Minister of Fisheries, Tourism and Social Services and Ronnie Abeysinghe, the President of the Powerlifting Federation gave away the trophies.

Rizwie Zain

In memory of my dearest coach I pen a few words with rolling tears.

He had no time for a farewell and crossed over to the great beyond plunging us in a whale of tears. I feel that you are still with me as I often dream of you.

I treasure beautiful memories of you with deep respect and love. I consider it a very rare opportunity to have been a student of yours. You were a very rare gentleman.

I pray and I know that my Sir lives for evermore in God's eternal light.

Farewell my dearest Sir till we meet on that beautiful shore. - Gihan Ranatunga

Tennis titles for Asiri and Sobhini

Asiri Iddamalgoda and Sobhini de Silva bagged the men's and women's singles titles at the Queens Club Centenary Tennis Championships concluded at its Club Courts at Bauddhaloka Mawatha.

Asiri beat Ganendran Subramaniam 6-3, 6-4 while Sobhini beat N. Bastian 6-2, 6-1.

Thivanka Athukorale and Mahessia Seneviratne won the boy's and girl's under 18 singles titles.

Thivanka received a walk over from Roshan Peiris who was injured in the second set, having won the first and Mahessia beat Samitha Wijesekera 6-2, 6 -1.

T. Endo beat V. T. Sunderalingam 7-5, 6-4 to win the men's over 45 singles title while Chammika de Silva beat Ravi Subramanian 6-1, 7-6, to win the over 35 men's singles event.

N. Bastian and C. Werkneister beat T. Gunawardena and D.M.D. Abeygunawardena 6-2, 6-4 to win the over 35 mixed doubles event.

Lyn and Mervyn Fernando beat Rohan Daluwatta and Dr. B. J. C. Perera 6-3, 6-4 to win the over 45 doubles with Arjan Perera and Shalini Pereira winning the mixed doubles defeating Manisha Abeywardena and Ganendran Subramaniam 7-5, 6-4.

P. S. Kumara, the National coach was the chief guest with C. Kumarakulasingham and Sunil Peiris as guests of honour.

Naveen is squash champ at 17

By Udena R. Attygalle

Naveen Samarasinghe is 17, looks even younger and is already the Champion in Sri Lankan squash. A student of Stafford International School he won the men's event at the recently concluded national squash championships to become the youngest winner in the history of the tournament. "Everybody I play against is older than I" says Navin.

Navin at first played tennis and cricket in addition to squash but later decided to concentrate solely on squash due to time constraints. "I chose squash over the others because my parents also played it" he explained. His mother Padmini is a former ladies' squash champion.

Another reason that Navin gives for his preference for squash is oddly the fact "that you can practice alone". Navin who at first was trained by his parents at present does not have a coach in Sri Lanka. But that's the way Navin likes it. He enjoys training on his own at his own pace, although twice a year he flies off to Malayasia to be trained by his Malaysian coach. In addition to his time on the court he also works on strength training and jogging for fitness.

Navin also won the Junior Nationals this year. Last year he was unable to take part in the National Championships due to the O/L's but the year before that he had won the under 16 boys' title.

His next aim is to "try and keep the national title, and try and do well at next year's Asian Junior Championships".

How does he cope with having to always play against older players you may wonder? "It was intimidating at first yet after that I got used to it" Navin answers. "I'm faster than the older guys and I have the ability to adopt my game according to my opponent's game" he further explained. Most local players don't have the ability to be that flexible.

The player Navin admires is Ong Beng Hee, the 19-year old Malaysian World Junior Champion. Ong Beng Hee and Navin have met only once on the squash court and Beng had emerged the winner. Yet if Navin keeps improving that may not be the case the next time they meet.

Yasmin keeps on winning at squash

By Udena. R. Attygalle

Yasmin Zarook at 45 is a veteran when it comes to squash. Yet she's a pro as well and seems to keep on winning, sometimes beating girls half her age. She proved that she hasn't lost her winning ways by winning yet again the women's title at the1999 squash championships concluded recently.

"I'm a bit of a fitness fanatic" she confesses. And squash is not the first in a long line of sports that Yasmin had tried her hand at. A swimmer who had represented the country at Junior level while at St. Bridget's College, Colombo Yasmin has also taken part in athletics, table tennis and netball.

"Yet I gave up swimming after marrying at age 18", she admits. She moved on to Matara with her husband where she took up Tennis.

Her tryst with squash happened12 years ago when a friend who herself was a seeded squash player had persuaded her to try it out. "I never had a coach, I learn't the game through playing and reading about it", she explains. Yet she obviously learnt well, winning the national championships in 92,93,95,96,97,98 and then again this year.

Yasmin also captained the Sri Lanka team to the 6th Asian championships in Bombay in 1991 and and also the 7th and 8th editions of the same championships in Jordan and in Malaysia.

So how does it feel to play against all these young players and win? "It's great but in a way it's sad the young players don't have the amount of commitment needed, that is why we are still here." she answers.

She hopes to put things right and has already started coaching squash at the junior level. She was the coach to the Sri Lanka junior team to Hong Kong in 1995.

So what kind of commitment does Yasmin put in? "I've had to routine my work and give up my social life", she says.

A day in the life of Yasmin consists of practice in the morning, a relaxed mid-day and then again back to sports.

Although very much dedicated to the sport she was openly disheartened at the attitudes of some who believe she should be out of the team because of her age."lf you are number one you should naturally be in the team," she pointed out.

Even this year although I was the reigning champion I was seeded at number 5 and had to play all the junior players to come to the final," she says. "It was embarrasing but it gave me more inspiration to succeed," Yasmin added.

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