12th March 2000
By Malsiri Kurukulasuriya
Of all team sports cricket is the only game that circumscribes the role of the substitute.
I have no idea when the rule governing substitutes was added to the rule book nor the reason for all the restrictions.
Whether it be a school game or international cricket the law is discriminatory and I cannot find one redeeming feature in this law.
All cricket lovers in any country would like to see a good game of cricket between two equally strong teams. But the stupid law could intervene to make it impossible.
If we cast our minds just a few days back to the first Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, when Wasim Akram suffered an injury on day one, the Pakistan side was placed in an untenable position. They were reduced to 3 regular bowlers and Sri Lanka made capital out of it. Notwithstanding the heroics of day 4 and 5 the game was still heavily in Sri Lanka's favour. The fact that the game became a nail-biter was due to 3 bowlers who bowled their hearts out. If Wasim could have been replaced by a regular bowler then we would have had two teams fighting it out on a level field (Despite Wasim's great knock the fact remains that the result was a little tainted).
On an earlier occasion, I suggested that if a player is injured and unable to take part, a substitute should replace the injured man and take part in the game without any restrictions whatsoever.
To operate this without prejudice it will require a medical report on the injured player. This should indicate the nature of the injury and a medical assessment as to how soon a player can return to action.
The time element is important when you are dealing with both the One Day game or Test cricket. There will have to be different times permitted for replacements for the two versions of the game. The doctor should indicate how long he feels, a player should stay away from participation (based entirely in the player's interest).
It has been suggested that in a One Day game, the substitute becomes a regular, if the injured player is deemed to be out of action for over 90 minutes, for 3 and 5 day games longer periods will apply.
If the ICC is serious about giving the public as well as the affected team a fair stake then they should start examining how best this law be amended or completely upheld. This archaic law has stood for so long. It's time to dismantle it.
Initially the process will cover the international schedule because the lower levels may not have the resources to have medical personnel on hand. However once the change is in the books it will encourage them to seek ways to overcome these difficulties.
To change a law that has stood this long will involve addressing some difficult logistical questions. This being so, it makes sense to begin a serious dialogue as a first step. This is perhaps an item that should be tabled at the ICC meetings in June.
The L.B.W. Law
Whenever I get an opportunity here or abroad I will ask players as well as umpires for their opinion on the current law on L.B.W. In general umpires are prepared to go along, but not enthusiastically.The bowlers particularly the spinners hate it. My sympathies are entirely on their side.
The L.B.W. Law at its very basic form means that if the ball hits any part of a batsman's body and if the umpire deems the ball would have hit the stumps if unimpeded by the batsman, then clearly he should be declared out L.B.W.
However the law as it stands now, is not that simple. It requires the ball to be pitched in line with the stumps to warrant consideration for a L.B.W. decision. This clearly negates the literal interpretation of the law.
The question is what does it matter where the ball is pitched if on its current path it will hit the stumps had it not been impeded by the batsman. This law discriminates against all bowlers but the biggest victims are the spinners particularly the leg spinner.
Will the ICC take another look at this contentious rule?
Kinross Sea Swim on March 26
The 36th Kinross Annual six-mile Sea Swim will be held next Sunday March 26th at Wellawatta conducted by the Kinross Swimming and Life Saving Club and sponsored by Union Assurance Limited.
The swim will be held for both men and women starting at 7.30 a.m. Participants for the last three years have completed this swim in the stipulated 70 minutes.
The challenge trophies on offer are:
Entries will close with Victor Peiris, chairman Organising Committee, six-mile open Sea Swim at Kinross Swimming and Life Saving Club at No. 10, Station Avenue, Colombo 6 on March 17th at 5 p.m.
17 schools vie for tennis supremacy
Seventeen boys' schools will battle it out for supremacy in the Junior Public Schools Tennis championships which will get underway on Monday, March 13 at the National Tennis Centre Courts at Greenpath.
The championships will be continued on Tuesday and Wednesday March 14 and 15. The senior championships will be played in April.
Interest will be focused on the two prestigious Mirinda Awards which will be presented to the junior and senior overall champions.
The junior championships will be held for boys under 10, 12 and 14 only. Royal, the defending champions will face stiff opposition from Ananda, S. Thomas' and St. Michael's Batticaloa.
Three new schools will be in the fray this year - Dharmaraja Mahanama and Colombo International School.
The schools participating in this championships which will be over 600 are, Royal, Ananda, S. Thomas' Mt, De Mazenod, Nalanda, St. Michael's Batticaloa, S. Thomas Prep, St. Joseph's, St. Peter's, Thurstan, St. Sebastians, D. S. Senanayake, St. Benedict's, Dharmaraja and Colombo International School.
Royal will field the best junior team made up of Sanjeev Paramanathan, Roshan Peiris, Eran Weerakoon, Manjula Ariyasena, Harshana Godamanne.
The Ananda team comprise the Ranaweera brothers Samitha, Dinuka and Uditha and young Chavi Talagala.
The last winners and runners-up are:
Under 10 - Royal, Ananda,
Hashan makes good debut
Former Sri Lanka Test and One-Day International cricketer Hashan Tillekeratne made a memorable debut for his new Club Mohemedans in the Bangladesh limited over tournament.
The left-hander who was left out by the new Sri Lanka selectors stroked an unbeaten 55 (n.o.) and later rolled his arm to take 3 wickets and help Mohemedans to victory in their first game for the season.
The limited over tournament is the most popular tournament in Bangladesh. 12 top clubs are competing. After each team plays against each other once, the six teams will battle it out in the super league while the bottom six will compete in the relegation league.
Shah, Nash receive county caps
Two young England hopefuls Owais Shah and David Nash received their county caps from Middlesex recently.
The English county which signed up a new sponsorship deal for the forthcoming season with Insurance giant, Equitable Life (for 750,000 sterling pounds) made use of the occasion to honour the two youngsters.
Middlesex coach Mike Gatting said, "They are talented players, we felt that giving their caps now might give them a boost to produce something special this season".
ECB awards contract
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) awarded central contracts to twelve cricketers for the first time. The contract which was valued at 70,000 sterling pounds each would be for the West Indies and Zimbabwe Test this summer.
Thirty-year-old Craig White, a fine all-rounder and twenty-one-year-old wrist spinner Chris Schofield are the surprises in the 12-man squad while the omission of Surrey left hander Graham Thorpe has raised a few eyebrows.
According to chairman of selectors David Graveney, the squad is balanced and combines a number of experienced cricketers with younger players.
The squad: Hussain, Atherton, Caddick Flintoff, Hick, Gough, Headley, Ramprakash, Stewart, Vaughan, White and Schofield.
'Maroons Nite' on March 18
The 'Maroons Nite' organised by Old Anandians Sports Club will be held at Hilton Hotel on March 18. All proceeds of this event is to be used to develop sports at Ananda College. All Old Anandians are requested to participate in this event in order to make it a roaring success.
The Old Anandians are determined to encourage sports activities at all age groups and hence this massive drive to promote sports in the school.
Bernie Wijesekera, reporting from Pakistan
Shoaib Akthar, the 'Rawalpindi Express' is the most charismatic player in the international cricket scene today. It was his speed that caused concern among the cricketing fraternity whilst playing in Australia.
Akthar was interviewed by The Sunday Times in the second Test in Peshawar, after he captured five wickets with his sheer speed and venom. 24-year-old Shoaib has four brothers, who are all cricketers and a sister. A self motivated cricketer, who worked hard all by himself to reach stardom.
Q - Did anyone help you?
A -Intially my elder brother, Shahid, a useful allrounder, did a bit of gardening, but later on I worked hard. Nothing is impossible if one has the desire to achieve one's objective. Nothing is given on a platter.
Q -What's your father doing? Is he a cricketer?
A -No. He's a retired govt. servant. Of course my father encouraged me and inspired me, whilst my mother looked into my personal wellbeing. I believed in Faith. One makes mistakes in life, but must learn how to overcome them and take it in the correct spirit, he added.
Q -Who is your cricketing idol?
A -It's Waqar Younis no doubt. It's a sheer joy to play with him. As expected the wicket was not all that lively. Had it been quick it could have helped much for Pakistan's cause. The team expected much from me in the absence of Waqar. I would have loved to bowl at the Gabba (Brisbane), but I got wickets here that's what matters in the end,
Q -What's your glorious moment in your career?
A -Well, when Pakistan beat New Zealand to enter the World Cup final.
Q -What have you gained from this game of character building?
A -There are ups and downs, but take them in the correct spirit. The end result is how you play the game, but not the final outcome. When you are doing well there are fans coming behind you. But when the chips are down there is no one to follow you not even your own shadow after dusk, today, I am in this position due to my own willpower.
Q -You don't possess a huge physique like West Indies Charlie Griffith or Wes Hall etc.
A -You are right, but I have the right muscles to endure for long spells. That, too with the correct training formula.
Q -Today apparently after Imran Khan with your charming ways you have found lots of fans especially in Australia in the recent tour. In the process you won their hearts?
A -You are right. In the end I had to pay dearly. If you don't lose one does not know how to win. Likewise off the field, too has a bearing. It happens for your own good.
Q -What are your future plans?
A -Yes, I have being contracted to play for Nottinghamshire in the coming season. Hope to give of my best for the country and for Notts. Today I am in this state thanks to my country and cricket which has helped me to go places.
Sri Lanka's little dynamo Aravinda was asked for his comments about Akthar. "He's good no doubt. With his speed, but Wasim Akram, is a much difficult bowler to counter and more dangerous with his subtle variation." Brig. Nasir, Manager of the Pakistan team said, he is a fighter, no let up. It was evident how he bowled in the Sri Lankan first innings. He is prepared to learn which is the cornerstone for this success, Brig. Nasir added.
For most part of his career, it seemed Carl Hooper was fighting the demons of the mind. A player with exceptiona1 gifts, who could somehow never soar to the heights he was expected to, the Guyanese remained one of the most enigmatic cricketers of the decade.
There are some careers that throw up puzzling questions. So much talent, so little in return. True, there were moments when he would shine brighter than the brightest star, but those were too few and far between.
In an age where players never hide their emotions on the field, Hooper seemed almost detached, giving many the impression that cricket was not the only thing that mattered. His body language was a reflection of his approach towards the game.
But when on song at the crease, he could truly waltz. Beautifully balanced, with poise and elegance, Hooper had it in him to become one of the major batsmen of the 90s. He could counterattack the quicks with lovely drives and pulls and he never hesitated to use his feet against the spinners, and seemed technically well equipped.
But on too many occasions he flattered to deceive. After a series of scintillating strokes, with bowlers at his mercy, he would throw it all away, playing a 'nothing,' shot. Indeed, there were times when it seemed Hooper was Hooper's biggest enemy.
And, yes, given the unpredictable nature of his cricket, it certainly did not surprise many that Hooper's career too ended in an anti-climax. After a series of lacklustre displays, when even his biggest supporters were beginning to lose hope, he decided to bow out.
Hooper announced his retirement from international cricket before the final West Indies-Australia one-dayer in the Caribbean. For a team trying to recapture its glory, the loss of an experienced campaigner before the World Cup was surely a blow.
He missed the first two Tests against the Aussies, as he had to be by the side of his sick child in Australia (he is married to an Australian). He returned to play in the last two Tests and in the subsequent One-Day series, but his heart just did not seem to be in the game.
A rather eventful journey that began in '86, had finally ended after 13 years. In many ways he was the 'troubled son' of West Indian cricket.
He was once fined after failing to attend a crucial team meeting before the tour of India in '94, and then, along with some other senior players, had a run-in with the Board regarding salaries, ahead of the 1998-99 tour of South Africa.
Health problems, he was afflicted by a viral infection, also played a part in curtailing Hooper's career .
He was often forced to miss some key campaigns , in particular, the World Cup '96 held in the sub-continent. There was also a feeling in some sections that Hooper was picking and choosing his matches.
In the end, Hooper finished with a Test average in the early '30s, when, given his ability, it should have been close to, the 50s. Former Australian Captain Bob Simpson has gone on record saying Hooper's batting technique was on a par with the best in the world, the great Imran Khan declared the West Indian as the finest player of spin in the business, but the sum was considerably less than the parts.
Rather paradoxically , he was an overachiever with the ball. He started as a medium pacer, but switched to off-spin, a wise move. He turned into a pretty useful customer, especially in the limited over contests, where he could both contain and strike. Critics mocked at his bowling skills, but Hooper, an intelligent customer, often had the last laugh.
He could also catch brilliantly in the slip cordon, and was deceptively quick on the field with a lightning throw. If only he had shown similar commitment while batting.
Only last year, he played the innings of his life, taking the West Indians to a sensational triumph against the Englishmen in the Port of Spain Test. A knock that shines like a beacon in his career.
Hooper seemed a player without a cause during the series against the South Africans this year, often being involved in 'tame' dismissals. It was a historic series, but like many other West Indians, there just seemed no fight left in him.
The Indians would like to remember Hooper's exploits in 1994/95, one of the rare occasions when he did do justice to his rather enormous talent.
The Australian tour of 1996/97 saw Hooper at his consistent best. He topped the Test averages with 632 runs at 42.62, the pick being his magnificent century at the 'Gabba'. The Australian Media called him a 'new' Hooper but it proved a false dawn.
So it was till the very end a career of unfulfilled promises.
To be a successful captain in any sport, the first requirement is to have good players. The best captain cannot win matches without them. He can improve a bad side or make a good side better, while some captains can be guaranteed to ruin any team. But in cricket, knowledgeable, intelligent players, a well balanced attack and a good batting line-up are bound to do well. It is never difficult to lead a strong team. What is difficult is to lead a poor team on the decline. Sir Don Bradman and Sir Len Hutton were very good captains. But it would not have required a tactical genius to have won the Ashes in '48 or the Ashes in '56.
When Worrell decided to retire from Test cricket, he recommended that Sobers should be given the captaincy, rather than Conrad Hunte, who was his vice captain. His reason was logical. Sobers was the greatest cricketer in the world, he was younger than Hunte and Hunte's religious convictions might unintentionally embarrass some of the men who had to play under him. When he was offered the captaincy in '65, Sobers was rather apprehensive. He was certainly flattered, but was not sure if he wanted the job or sure that he was, at that time ready for it. Also, he was so wrapped up in enjoying the game, that he thought that the leadership might prove to be a handicap. These fears were also shared by most of the other players. However, on the other hand he had one advantage and, that was the experience he had acquired as Worrell's right hand man and unofficial first lieutenant. The ideal time to take over the leadership of a side is when it is doing badly because whatever happens then has to be an improvement. If a side does well, then it is only to be expected. If it does badly, then it is the fault of the skipper.
When Sobers took over the captaincy, the West Indies were on the threshold of becoming the unofficial world champions. And as a result he never quite received the credit he deserved for winning his first series as captain, when they beat Australia for the first time in a series in the Caribbean in '65. Nor for that matter did he receive full credit for winning his first three series as skipper though he was far short of experience. Under his leadership the West Indies beat Australia for the first time, then England and then India. If Sobers had decided to retire from the game at that stage, he would have been hailed as one of the greatest captains of all time.
It was only in the Tests against Australia in '65 were there any signs that the leader would lessen his contribution as a player. In that series his highest score was only 69 and his wickets were very costly.
After those three triumphant series came a long list of disappointments. As a captain but certainly not as a player. A Test record that once stood at played thirteen, won seven, lost two, drawn four, finished with: played thirty nine, won nine, lost ten and drawn twenty. In '70 Sobers was a far more experienced captain than he was in '65. What then, was the reason for the decline ? The main reason was that the outstanding players of the great years were on the decline and the younger brigade were not quite good enough. During this period England beat them twice, Australia thrashed them convincingly, India beat them for the first time and even New Zealand held them to a drawn series. - Bruce Maurice.
By Steven Downes
More British Olympic hopefuls are quitting their sports after having their lottery grants cut, even though there is nearly half a billion pounds of lottery money waiting to be distributed by the country's various sports councils, according to official figures.
Angered by what they call an unfair and incoherent funding system, athletes, coaches and sports administrators have highlighted huge anomalies in the sports grant system, which is criticised for being too bureaucratic. "It would be easier to get money out of Fort Knox," one volunteer coach said after having his application for lottery funding turned down after 18 months' work.
Jo Jennings, who won the high jump silver medal for England at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur 15 months ago, had hoped that with lottery help she would progress to a place in the Olympic final. Yet Jennings has had her lottery funding cut entirely. She feels that qualifying standards, set by UK Athletics, for last year's world championships were biased against field eventers when compared with track athletes.
She says it put her at an immediate disadvantage in her quest to win lottery funding: "A week after Seville, I jumped l.90m, and that would have been good enough to make the final at the world championships and so get a grant. But not only did I lose out on my chance to compete, by not being in Seville I lost my lottery grant, too."
Jennings has compiled a 15-page dossier on athletics funding which she has sent to the Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey, herself a former high jumper. Jennings is on the verge of quitting; dozens of other athletes who have lost their funding have already made that decision.
Sport is one of the seven "good causes" which benefit from sales of lottery tickets. In the five years since it began, the Lottery Sports Fund has received more than £1.5bn. Last year, UK Sport took over grants to Britain's elite competitors, helping to equip, train, feed and even house the country's world-class performers. Meanwhile. the sports councils of the four home nations are supposed to help the next tier of sportsmen and women and pay for capital projects such as the building of facilities.
Sport England has received the lion's share of cash. Its prestige projects include £112m promised towards the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and £106m for the UK Sports Institute (UKSI). But not a penny of that money has yet been paid out, part of the £329m controlled by Sport England sitting in the Treasury vaults. The sports councils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus UK Sport, have further tens of millions effectively "on deposit", awaiting distribution. The amount yet to be distributed is around £460m.
Sebastian Coe, the double Olympic gold medallist, described the delays over the UKSI as "institutional sclerosis", adding: "The story of this country's attempt to build such a sports academy makes the shambles over a national stadium look like a piece of sublime planning." Sport England was also responsible for negotiations over Wembley.
"The sports councils' bureaucracy is damaging sports development in Britain," said Geoff O'Connell from the Lottery Promotion Company, an independent watchdog group. "They are receiving money faster than they can distribute it." Sport England spent £21.4m in administration and wages on its lottery work between 1997 and 1999. According to one government source: "The motto at Sport England seems to be, 'It's better to be paid to give than to allow others to receive'."
The daunting process discourages many from bidding for lottery cash. "Just doing all the paperwork for an application can cost a volunteer organisation at least £30,000, and take months, even years, of work. Yet the whole project can get knocked back on a small technicality," O'Connell said.
"Sport England admit that they have £329m in reserve for long-term projects like the Commonwealth Games and the UKSI, but nobody knows whether the UKSI will ever actually happen; the money earmarked for that ought to be released now, to help projects that have immediate need."
Martin Bailey, spokesman for Sport England, insists that his organisation is acting in a financially responsible manner. "There's not an underspend at all," Bailey said. "We have hundreds of ongoing projects on which we expect to make grants in the future. If anything, we're over-committed by around £183m. For every community-based project we are able to give a grant to, we have to turn away four others."
When Britain's athletes returned from the Atlanta Olympics four years ago, they had just one gold medal between them, but plenty of debts: more than half the team members were at least £3,400 in the red. The lottery was meant to be the panacea for British sport's ills.
Four years on, not a brick has been laid for the national sports academy, the new national stadium is an ongoing dispute and thousands of athletes who have had nearly two years to get used to grant funding have been told that in this Olympic year, when they need backing the most, they will receive nothing.
UK Sport has introduced strict criteria. Only those competitors ranked in the world's top 20 qualify for grants. The cuts have been drastic—247 track and field athletes were funded in 1997-98, while next year only 91 will benefit, cycling's 90 funded riders have to be reduced to just 36; and swimming has had to cut 50 from an original programme of 70 competitors.
Yet while British Olympic hopefuls try to make ends meet other grant-aiding bodies are luring foreign talent into this country with lottery money. Sport Scotland is paying two grants, of £10,000 each, to a Canadian and an Italian wrestler to compete as Scots at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. A third wrestler, Englishman John Melling, and his Russian coach, are to get £28,000 from the Scots after, "defecting" north of the border. Melling, who won a silver medal for England at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, did not qualify for a grant from Sport England. He will take residency in Scotland until the 2002 Commonwealth Games, due to be staged in Manchester, in facilities largely paid for by the lottery.
Across Manchester, at the lottery-funded National Velodrome, Peter Keen, cycling's performance director, has written to Hoey outlining his concerns. "Developing talent into Olympic success is typically a six-year process," Keen said. "We wrote a performance plan, and UK Sport and Sport England wrote back approving the plan and asking us to sign the letter. It was virtually a contract for us to deliver. Yet I spent last year having to further justify everything. We're nine months from the Olympics, and I don't know what my budgets are."
In his letter to Hoey, Keen describes sports funding in Britain as incoherent, scatter-gun and lacking leadership. "Performance directors like myself need to be empowered to make decisions," he said. "Our faith has been completely undermined by the management of the current crisis."
Over and out: high-jumper Jo Jennings is on the verge of quitting the sport.
A strong rebuttal of allegations of inflated costs incurred in the building of the new pool at STC is made by the STC Pool Committee.
The STC Pool Committee said that one of the main criticisms levelled at the building of the new pool was that the cost of construction has been much more than that for other 25.0 metre pools built recently.
This comparison of costs is unfair taking into account the following facts:
a. The construction of the new pool was preceded by the demolishing of the old pool, diving tower, pool pavilion and the changing rooms. This demolition work was costly and a substantial effort was required, as the old pool which lasted 60 odd years had been solidly constructed.
b. Since the depth excavation in the deep end was 16' to 17' below ground level, extensive and expensive steel sheet piling had to be used to protect the excavation and additionally very intricate temporary works had to be carried out to protect the foundations of the adjacent Science Block of the College which was only a few feet away from the deep end excavation.
c. The construction of the deep end and the plant room had to be carried out below mean sea level and this necessitated continuous pumping of water throughout the day over a period of 4-5 months.
d. The highly saline ground water demanded the use of a higher and superior grade of concrete than normally used in non-saline environments.
e. The quality and performance of the pumps, filters and all the swimming pool accessories are of a very high quality not usually found in pools of similar size elsewhere.
The original designs for the upgrading work were made by registered architect M.J. Junaid in 1996. They were to deepen the existing pool, reconstruct the bottom and sides and replace pool equipment. These proposals were costed by Foster & Reed (Pvt) Ltd., in a sum of Rs. 13,040,664 in November '96.
Since the College felt the costs were excessive for this upgrading, the designs and estimates were forwarded to Engr. C.C.T. Fernando of Engineering Consultants Ltd., the Honorary Consultant to the School, for comment. He observed that the designs were out of character and that the estimate was too ad hoc for a proper evaluation to be made.
Mr. Fernando recommended that the School prepare a proper brief of its requirements, the designs, detail specification and bills of quantities be prepared by a qualified consultant experienced in swimming pool design, competitive tenders be invited and that construction is supervised by the consultant. Accepting the recommendations, the School convened a meeting of the Pool Rehabilitation Technical Committee on 8th January 1997 to which the Honorary Consultant was invited.
The decisions made at this meeting attended by all parties formed the brief for the revised designs. A fundamental change was the adoption of two pools instead of one, so that training activity will not hinder completion/diving use. In the absence of space and funds to construct a separate diving pool it was decided to include a diving end of a 4 metre depth and a shallow end of 1.5 metre depth in the main competition pool to allow turn-around. It was also agreed that such a configuration would permit Water Polo, for which game the School is reputed. Later, the training pool was further widened by 2 metres to increase the accommodation for trainees and novices. In order to buffer the cost increase due to the enhanced scope of work, it was suggested that the civil work be undertaken in stages. This however proved impractical and all works were undertaken simultaneously.
During the period April-September 1997, soil investigations were carried out, detail designs done and tender documents prepared.
Tender documents for calling of tenders were prepared by Engineering Consultants Ltd., who served as the Consultants to the College on this project. The specifications for the civil work, mechanical, electrical, water supply, pool filtration plant, pumps, cholorination plant etc., were prepared by the Consultants at the time of calling of tenders.
Open tenders were invited in December 1997 by the Board of Governors and closed in January 1998. The offers received were evaluated and M/s International Construction Consortium's tender for Rs. 23,318,418/- was recommended by the Consultants for acceptance on a negotiated basis. Unfortunately, the tender was not awarded and the project suspended due to problems which arose with regard to the composition of the Pool Committee. Consequent to consensus being reached with regard to the composition of the Pool Committee, the project was re-activated in November 1998. Costly and time consuming re-tendering was however avoided when ICC agreed to negotiate their original offer.
The contract was executed in a negotiated sum of Rs. 19,550,000 for the civil work excluding pool equipment. By this time, the government had introduced GST, and the School was called up to bear this additional expenditure. Construction commenced on 11th February 1999 and was scheduled for completion by 12th August 1999.
Construction work proceeded smoothly with regular progress meetings. All aspects of the construction process and issues which affected progress were taken up for discussion by the Pool Committee, the Consultants and the Contractors.
During construction, several additions and alterations and variations were made with the concurrence of all concerned. Most of these were necessary to improve and enhance the quality, durability and performance of the final product, the original designs for which were of a low cost utility nature. They were also necessary to bring the pool up to the international FINA standards. However, they also caused escalation of the cost of the construction by a substantial margin, and delayed completion.
In replying to the baseless allegations made against them, the Pool Committee stresses that all aspects of the construction process and issues that affected progress have been recorded in the minutes of progress meetings held regularly by the Committee.
The Pool Committee also expresses regret that allegations were made without any recourse to the Consultant's reports, budgets or even clarification from Pool Committee members.
Much hard work has gone into ensuring that STC has a pool which is a worthy successor to that built by Dr. Hayman which was regarded then as a comprehensive swimming pool that was ahead of its time. Building of the new pool has been no easy task and had drawn support from many benefactors comprising members of the OBA, parents, teachers and present students. The project has been successfully completed and is considered to be ahead of other pools in this category in every respect and the Bishop of Colombo, who is the Chairman of the Board of Governors, will officially commission the pool on the 13th of March, 2000 at 4.00 p.m.
The Swimming Pool Committee feels that baseless allegations without proof is not only a slur against the good name and work of all those involved but also mars what should be and an occasion for all present and Old Boys of STC to rejoice in another great accomplishment of the College.
Major M.R.C. Peiris,
(Continued next week)
By a special correspondent
A former Sports Editor of The Times of Ceylon, Ramsay Ziegelaar, has been selected as a torch bearer by the Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games to carry the Olympic Flame on its historic journey through Australia to the Olympic Stadium in Sydney.
In the official congratulatory letter to Ramsay, Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay General Manager Di Henry says, "You have been chosen as a representative of your community as someone that embodies community values, spirit and national pride. As an ambassador of Australia, you will assist the Olympic Flame as it travels from coast to coast, hand to hand, in a remarkable journey spanning the nation."
The 67-year-old journalist was nominated for the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch by the Australia-Sri Lanka Friendship Association (ASLFA) of which he is President.
Ramsay, who migrated to Australia from Singapore in 1974, was thrilled about his selection.
"I will be representing all members and supporters of the ASLFA, that's every race and creed in Sri Lanka, in that memorable run. It's a great honour to be chosen and I'll be carrying the Torch with pride," he said.
By Annesley Ferreira
Whenever we read about the Olympic Games all that evokes is that this spectacular engagement occurring quadrennielly, can only be viewed in unbelievable awe. The modern Olympic Games began in 1896 [April 06 - 15] in Athens, Greece, and had only 311 men and no women, representing just thirteen nations competing under the "inspired original, uncorrupted Olympics" as perceived by that noble Frenchman, Baron Charles Louis Fredy de Courbertin, who singularly revived this greatest spectacle - the modern Olympic Games.
Very few cultural phenomena attract as much attention as these Games - and as Courbertin wrote in his Memoires Olympiques- "..... are not simply world Championships, they are the quadrennial festival of universal youth." Baron Courbetin proposed the idea publicly in 1892 and pursued it for the next four years drumming support. Interest for Games came foremost from Greece, which led to it belng first held in Athens. Wealthy Greek architect, Georgious Averoff funded the first Games in 1896 with a million drachmas, and through the sale of souvenir stamps and medals.
The quality of the athletes' performances - to say the least, were mediocre - but the Games itself were a huge success. The Greeks displayed a high degree of enthusiasm and good sportsmanship that led a Greek peasant, Spiridon Louis, to win the Marathon in 2:58.50, which rewarded the Greeks for holding the Games. The Marathon was to become one of the most stunning events of the Olympic programme and, occasionally took the centre stage when marathoners of the calibre of Emil Zatopek, Czechoslovakia, 2:23.03 Helsinki 1952; Abebe Bakila, Ethiopia, 2:12.11 Rome 1960 and 2:15.16 Tokyo 1964; Frank Shorter, United States, 2:12.19 Munich 1972 and Waldemar Cierpinski, 2:09.55 Montreal 1976 and 2:11.07 Moscow 1980, gave unbelievable performances to steal the limelight at these respective Games.
The Second Olympic Games of 1900 were held in Baron Courbetin's hometown of Paris, which turned out to be a failure, reduced to a mere appendage to the World Exhibition which was also held in the same city. Poor organization and attendance led to the events to be spread over five months. Baron de Courbetin's high hopes or better Games in 1904, was scheduled for Chicago because of American enthusiasm over the two previous Games. In view of dispute between Chicago and St Louis, President Theodore Roosevelt sided with St. Louis, for the Games to be a part of the Louisiana Purchase Agreement. St. Louis organizers were so incompetent than the Paris organizers, several top-notch athletes skipped the Games. Even the Baron himself did not bother to attend.
After two successive disastrous Games, the Olympic movement would have certainly died if not for the Intercalated [Interim] Games of 1906 in Athens - but did not have the sequential number.
Raving over the success of the 1896 Games, the Greeks hoped to hold their own International Games every four years between the Olympics.
As the count down occurs - just 186 days to the Opening Ceremony on [September 21], in these pages will be presented some of the awe-inspiring Olympic glimpses of the past. These glimpses will be drawn, courtesy, the Olympian, the official publication of the United States Olympic Committee, provided by C. Vijitha Fernando, a trustee of the Duncan White Sports Foundation - specializing in Olympic sports. (Cont. next week)
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