3rd June 2000

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Susanthika Jayasinghe was an interested spectator at the Olympics trials. She is scheduled to run today.

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Cricket in Chaos

Selectors, Interim Committee, Tour Organising Committee Chairman quit in disgust

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Hot on the heels of the Resignations of the Interim Committee , Sri Lanka 's cricket Selection Committee Chairman Siddath Wettimuny and fellow member Ashantha de Mel tendererd their resignations to the Sports Minister yesterday.

Speaking to the Sunday Times soon after resigning Wettimuny said,"We have achieved what we wanted to achieve ,but could have achieved much more if only there was a conducive working environment.Sadly we lack this with the present set up".

Siddath Wettimuny and his co selectors Ashantha de Mel and Brendon Kurrupu who took up the reins a year ago when Sri Lanka cricket hit rock bottom are widely credited with doing a remarkable job to turn the tide within a short period.Cricket Analysts pointing out said that they had the courage to drop a couple of senior cricketers, appoint a new Captain and Vice Captain and infuse a host of youngsters to the big league. The success was instant with Sri Lanka scoring successive Test Series victories over Australia, Zimbabwe and Pakistan and emerging as the third best Test playing nation. The one day record also improved after Sri Lanka nose dived to the bottom in the last World Cup.Today Sri Lanka is placed second in the latest one day rankings.

Meanwhile the Tour Organising Committee Chairman Kushil Gunesekera also resigned yesterday saying his work was being blocked but arrangements for the upcoming tour by Pakistan are in place and there will be no disruption.

All logistics and arrangements pertaining to the Pakistan and South Africa tours have been meticulously planned by Gunesekera and his team who have been on the ball for the last two months.However Gunasekera said he was forced to send his resignation as Chairman after it became increasingly difficult to work with an official of the Cricket Board .The Interim Committee which also resigned on Friday cited the official of the Cricket Board and the Sports Ministry as stumbling blocks towards the progress of their work

The Sunday Times learns that the said official objected to many proposals put forward for the benefit of the Cricketers and the Cricket Board ,apparently because he did not want the Interim Committee to get the credit.

A spokesman for the Interim Committee said,"We have done so much during the past 12 months ,but with various restrictions imposed on us since February by the Sports Ministry and the lack of cooperation from the Cricket Board it became imposible to make further progress,hence we resigned".

New Interim Committee

Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in its English news quoting the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports S. B. Dissanayake said that the Minister will be appointing a new Interim Committee on Monday, June 5.

This committee will comprise a Director of the Ministry and a few others who have played the game from the Sports Ministry.

The Minister had also stated that the old Interim Committee wanted the AGM postponed for them to carry on, which the Minister had refused.

The Minister has categorically stated that the AGM of the Cricket Board will not be postponed from the scheduled date, which is June 11.

Longjumpers Sujith Rohana and Nayanthi Kumari excel at trials

By Leonard Ratnayake

Two more athletes were knocking at the door for selections at the end of the first day of the Sydney Olympics 2000 athletic trials held at Sugathadasa stadium yesterday. Two long jumpers from both genders performed well to be considered for selection and were determined to make it at the third and final trials to be held on July13 and 14.

National record holder Sujith Rohana of Lanka Lions Sports Club, who has already reached the Olympic qualifying standard of 7.78 metres and is with a greater chance of making it, cleared a length of 8.06 metres yesterday. He was unfortunate not to be considered for a new Sri Lankan record as the wind guage read a speed of 4.39. He had jumped a length of 7.86 metres during the first trials.

The other possible entry for Sydney Olympics would be women long jumper Nayanthi Kumari of the Ports Authority, who cleared a length of 6.34 metres which is just two centimetres short of the qualifying standard of 6.36 metres. Speaking after her improving performance, Nayanthi said to Sunday Times that there is still chance for her to make it and will work hard to reach the qualifying standard at the final trials.

Accordingly these two jumpers would be the latest addition to the Olympic athletic pool mostly consisting of runners. Star athletes, Damayanthi Dharsha (400M/200M), Sriyani Kulawansa (100M Hurdles), Susanthika Jayasinghe (200M/100M), Sugath Thilakeratne (400M/400M*4), Harijan Ratnayake(400M Hurdles), Rohan Pradeep Kumara(400M*4), Ranga Wimalawansa(400M*4) and V Ratna Kumara(400M*4).

Although many were waiting to see the action of top athletes, many of them did not turn up while some others were just spectators. Susanthika Jayasighe withdrew at the last moment giving three reasons as excuses. She said she did not want to take a risk and run in a less competitive race as she has already qualified, due to her developing hamstring injury. Speaking to Sunday Times she said she does not enjoy a good season of athletics as she was nursing injuries. However many were of the view that the participation of these top athletes would be an encouragement to others to perform well with a greater level of competition. These top athletes will be engaged in European Grands Prix starting during the middle of this month and their timings in these races would be considered for selection.

Susanthika is scheduled to run in the final of the 100 M race at 4.00 PM tomorrow and said she would make it.

Meanwhile three new Sri Lankans records were established on the day in Discus Throw-Women, Long Jump-Women and 400M Hurdles-Women.

Padma Nandani Wijesundera threw her discus 43.90 metres to better her own record of 43.86 M, but was way out from the qualifying standard of 51.3 M. Nayanthi Kumari's performance in the day gave her a chance to better her own record of 6.29 M which she set at the first trials held last month. S.V.A Kusumawathi of SL Army SC established the other record of the day when she clocked 1:01:32 seconds to better the previous record of 1:01:70 seconds set by Mangalika de Silva last year.

Chaos as Thomians beat Trinity 15-12 at Pallekelle

By Aubrey Kuruppu

Police had to intervene to prevent unruly crowd behaviour as S. Thomas' beat Trinity by 15 points (1 goal, 1 try, 1 penalty) to 12 (1 goal, 1 try) in a thriller that could well have gone the other way at Pallekelle last evening to retain the Canon R.S. De Saram Shield.

Most teams are now cautious of playing at Pallekelle as it is alleged that unruly elements lie in wait to ambush visiting teams.

The Thomians dominated the initial half with their much heavier pack dictating terms. They had an abundance of possession and the forwards worked like eager beavers. They opened scoring through Maduka Jayawardena whose try was goaled by Azwan Thajudeen. A few minutes later having just about weathered a fierce Trinity storm, play swung to the other end and No. 8 Jeevan Gunatilleke went over for an unconverted try to make it 12-nil at the break.

The visitors seemed to have lost some of their early fire in the second half. The Trinitians, with the second defeat starring in their face, redoubled their efforts and were rewarded when their prop Farwez scored. Jayawardena got it over. The Thomians replied with a Azwan Thajudeen penalty (15-7). Play became fast and furious. Flanker Samaradivakara scored next but Jayawardena's conversion was off target.

The battle intensified and players were seen going for each other. Three Trinitians and one Thomian were packed off to the sin-bin by referee Dilroy Fernando.

Trinity won the under 17 game 13-nil. The Thomians thus performed a hat-trick having won in '98 and '99.

Esiri and Leilani are champs

Esiri Kankanige of Royal College and Leilani Dilon of French School made it a double for themselves competing in the diving event of the Group 'A' section for boys and girls when they won the 1 metre and 3 metre springboard categories respectively at the 24th National Age Group Swimming and Diving Championship worked off at the Sugathadsa Indoor Pool yesterday.

Kankanige returned a timing of 211.60 seconds in the 1 metre springboard event while he recorded a timing of 184.7 seconds in the 3 metre category.

Dilon registered a timing of 138.75 seconds in the 1 metre category while in the 3 metre event her timing was 151.78.

Jayamal Wijerathne representing Ananda College created a new record in the 50 metre breast stroke event with a superb timing of 55.50 seconds.

Meanwhile in the 1 metre springboard Chanaka Wickramasinghe of Royal won the Group B boys event with a timing of 325.00.

Prasadi Perera won the Group B girls' event with a timing of 152, while Thomian Gayan Ranathunga won the Group C boys event with a timing of 438.9 seconds.

The female version of this event was won by Harini Jayasekera of Vishaka Vidyalaya with a timing of 312.6.

In the 3 metre springboard Group B event Royalist Chanaka Wickramasinghe was the winner with a timing of 296.4, while Prasadi Perera of Vishaka came up trumps in the female version with a timing of 149.7. - J.K.


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