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3rd September 2000
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When Yifter set the athletics world alight

The 5' 3" balding Yifter set the athletics world alight with two electrifying runs for a long distance "double" the 5,000 and 10,000 m. It was a happy ending to Yifter's frustrating eight-year wait.

If Steven Ovett and Se bastian Coe made the middle distance events memorable in the 1980 Games in Moscow, the long distance races belonged to just one man, the diminutive Ethiopian, Miruts Yifter.

The 5' 3" balding Yifter set the athletics world alight with two electrifying runs for a long distance "double" the 5,000 and 10,000 m. It was a happy ending to Yifter's frustrating eight- year wait. At the Munich Olympics in 1972, Yifter won the bronze in the 10,000m but missed the start of his heat in the 5,000m. Typical of the mystery surrounding Yifter, there were two explanations for his failure to reach the starting line in time, the first was that he was directed to the wrong check-in gate at the stadium and was refused entry by the German guards. The second was that he left the bathroom in time but got lost on the way to the track. In 1976, Yifter, perforce had to stay away from the Montreal Games. When Ethiopia joined the African boycott, four years later the Ethiopian, a father of six had no such problems. Yifter led the Ethiopian domination against the challenge of the "Flying Finn". Lasse Viren, winner at Munich and Montreal, and produced one of the strangest 10,000m race ever. The 10,000 final resembled more of a duel between Ethiopia and Finland than an Olympic Contest, the three Ethiopians Yifter, Mohammed Kedir and Tolossa Kofu imposed their own strange style on the race. They changed the pace and the lead every few hundred metres. After lulling the pack into confusion for the first 5,000m, they would set off at a torrid pace until only Viren, and fellow Finn Kaarlo Maaniuka were left to challenge them.

In the 22nd lap, Maaninka surged ahead only to be overtaken by Kedir and Yifter, then Viren took the lead, but Kedir moved ahead again just before the bell, then the surprise was sprung, with 300m left. Yifter sprinted into the lead, covered the last 200m in 26.8 secs. and won by 10m in 27:42.7 secs. Viren faded into the fifth place, but Maaninka who later admitted to blood doping finished strongly for the second place, thus preventing an Ethiopian sweep with Kedir and Kofu coming in third and fourth respectively.

During the interim period between the finals of the 10,000 & 5,000m a question was posed. Could Yifter emulate Hannes Kolehm-ainen, Emil Zatopek, Vladimir Kuts and Viren and complete an Olympic long distance "double"?

Despite there being only 35 runners in the field, a semi-final round was added to the competition. This did not bother Yifter, who won the opening heat and finished second to team-mate Yohannes Mohammed in the semi finals. In the 10,000m the Ethiopians' tactics had floored everyone, now everyone in the stadium viewed the 5,000m final with great interest. What on earth had Yifter in store for them this time? In fact Yifter had yet again, the unexpected up his sleeve. After 4000m the 12 finalistss were still bunched within 12m. Kedir led at the bell as everyone waited for the famous Yifter kick that had already brought victory in the 10,000m. In the backstretch Yifter was "boxed" with Kedir in front, the diminutive Irishman Eamonn Coghlan beside Kedir and the pack behind him, then, with less than 300m to go, the most unusual happened.

Kedir turned around and asked Yifter if he was ready.A wave of the hand from the master and the selfless Kedir stepped aside, Yifter shot through the middle as Coglan watched in disbelief. The big strong Tanzanian Suleiman Nyambui was the man who finally went after Yifter but could not overtake the Ethiopian, Yifter ran the last 200m in 27.2 secs. to gain the gold in 13:12.0. Kedir got tripped, lost his shoes and finished last, Coghlan lost the bronze to Maaninka. Part of the mystery of Yifter was the question of his age - between 35-40 years was the majority opinion.

-Thushara Kumarasinghe

Dynamic role by SLCFV

By Bernie Wijesekera
The Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation of Victoria, since its inception (in 1985), has played a dynamic role for the upliftment of cricket in Sri Lanka.

Without doubt it was a fairytale beginning when a handful of expatriates domiclied in Melbourne sowed the seeds to help promote the game and Lanka's image Down Under. 

At the start Dr. Quintus de Zylwa Sri Lanka's representiative of the Cricket Board made overtures to the Victorian Minister of Sports and Recreation to help start the SLCFV to improve the skills of potential and talented young Lankans to play club cricket in Victoria. 

It was a maganimous gesture by Minister Neil Tresize, who donated a special grant of $12,000. With this encouragement given by Mr. Tresize the Foundation was formed, with seven trustees namely Dr. Quintus De Zylwa, Fred Van Buren Robert (Bob) Parish, Eddie Gray, Ian Crawford, Tony McGee, Astor de Silva, later joined cricket loving David Cruse, Bertie Ekanayake and Nigel de Krestser. 

Greater heights

The commitee, really worked hard and everyone contributed with both men material for its continuity spending much of their personal time to help give promising young 'uns to reach greater heights in the world of cricket. 

Ironically no other organisation in any other part of the world where the Lankan expatriates are domiciled could match the efforts of the SLCFV, who ungrudgingly help the country on and off the field. Besides helping sports this organisation has done immensely by collecting funds to do community service here to the poor and needy. 

Three young prospects Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama and Ruwan Kalpage were afforded with sponsorship packages. The trio in the end played at the highest level - Test cricket. In 1985-'86 Roshan Mahanama and Gamini Perera played for Prahan and Fitzroy cricket clubs. It didn't stop there. Players like Dileepa Wickremasinghe, Sanath Kaluperuma, Nilantha Ratnayake a gangling young fast bowler and allrounder Ruwan Kalpage played for Prahan CC with much success. 

The foundation was able to release Ruwan and Nilantha, who were enlisted to the Sri Lanka team to do Test duty in Perth, when the team was plagued with injuries. 

The SLCFV at its own expense helped two schoolboys - Chelaka Hapugoda and Malintha Perera. They were in Victoria for three months and was coached by Dav Whatmore. 

Despite trials and tribulations the Foundation has given a helping hand to youngsters to play in Australia and improve their skills. In the end the Aussies, too were happy to draft the Lankan players to their clubs where they made an impact in competitive cricket. 

According to Eddie Gray, the Foundation gave Sri Lanka Cricket Board whatever assistance. They 'got' the services of Dav Whatmore to be the national coach in 1995. He was contracted for two years. With Whatmore's guidance, the Lankans made a big impact in the international scene getting the better of Pakistan and West Indies, in Pakistan and in Sharjah in 1995, under Arjuna Ranatunga. Of course, it was a disciplined team effort, plus individual brilliance master-minded by Whatmore. 

There was much co-ordination between the Foundation and the BCCSL and in the end Sri Lanka cricket benefited. 

Aussies are friendly people off the field, despite no let up whilst at the middle. They really play hard, that's their key to success. Even the present Aussie skipper Steve Waugh, is an ice cool captain, like Sri Lanka's Captain Cool, Arjuna Ranatunga. Both believe in community service. Steve, is much adored in India, for his contributions to help the leprosy children, away from home which very few people will think of. Waugh, is aware that everything is temporary and does not indulge in harsh words. Blessed with children, like Arjuna. Both possess human qualities. There are bad eggs in any society be it on and off the field who misconduct themselves thereby putting the game to shame. 

Especially among the new rich sportsmen here, too. 

Ranatunga was accorded a reception to him and his wife said that the Aussies are very friendly and admired our deeds, though a handful thought otherwise but the majority supported us. This in the end help build bonhomie and fellowship. 

Arjuna lauded the wonderful work done by the expatriate Australian/ Sri Lankan Cricket organistations in every state Down Under. 

But Arjuna, still believes all this is temporary and be forgotten. It is he game that matters in the end. In the end he felt that 90 percent of the Australians are friendly and admired the Sri Lankans where ever they played. 

The big gathering that came to honour him and his wife at the Knox Tavern - a farewell dinner, away from home for the first time after his retirement was ample testimony. 

Since its inception the Foundation has done yeoman service to their motherland, be it sport or otherwise. On numerous occasions have helped injured players with specialised medical assistance. In recent times the injury caused to fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa, in 1998. The Oldboys' Association of Isipatana in collaboration with Dr. Olga Mendis took charge. Zoysa was put right, by Dr. David Young, to help stage a comeback. 

Wace-Park speed Hill Climb on Sept. 17

The Wace-Park Speed Hill Climb organised by the Kandy Motor Sports Club for the fifth consecutive year will be flagged off on September 17.

Palitha Rathnayake Secretary of the KMSC told the Sunday Times, that all arrangements have been finalised to hold this very popular meet in mid-September and he was confident this year's Speed Hill Climb will be as successful as the ones they have conducted during the past four years.

' We first began to stage this Wace-Park Speed Hill Climb in '96 and since then it has gone from strength to strength which speaks much for our ability to conduct.

This meet was first conducted by the Up-Country Motor Sports Club but they held it only in '71 and '72.

And there was break in this Speed Hill Climb until we revived it in 1996' said Rathnayake who was of the view that some of the very prominent riders will be seen in action during this year's contest.

' Personalities as Nishan Weerasooriya, Dinesh Deheregoda, Ananda De Alwis, Rohan De Silva, Bri Ponnambalam, Shanaka Ambrose, Yoga Perera, Wedasinghe brothers, and Dushan Dinamithra will form a line-up of star-studded riders who will dish out quality motor racing fare for the spectators' said Palitha Rathnayake who added that KMSC had already got the necessary approval from several institutions to conduct the Hill Climb successfully.

The Kandy Municipal Council, Kandy Police, Road Development Authority, and the Kandy Mayor His Worship Harindranath Dunuwila have given their blessings to go ahead with the meet on schedule.

According to the President of the KMSC Ananda De Alwis the gate collections of this year's Speed Hill Climb is to be given to the Mayor's fund for the development of the Kandy town.

The Wace-Park Hill Climb will be conducted on the 17th from 7.00 a.m to 4.00 p.m. and the necessary applications can be obtained at no 36, Torrington Road, Kandy, and at Park 'n Shop, 128 High Level Road, Nugegoda.

' Though we have had some hiccups in conducting this year's meet we are fully committed to move forward with staging this year's competition come what may.

In the name of motor sports and for the benefit of motor sports fans in the country we are confident of giving the motor sports fans value for their money with this year's hill climb' said Palitha Rathnayake.

The Streak of white lightning from Cuba

There are few who can match the speed and power of Alberto Juantorena, the man who won a unique 400-800 double in the Montreal Olympics where no one has achieved such a feat in the Olympics.
The Cuban possessing a nine-foot stride was called "White Lightning". He was also called "The Horse" and 'EL Caballo', in athletic annals. There are few who can match the speed and power of Alberto Juantorena, the man who won a unique 400-800 double in the Montreal Olympics where no one has achieved such a feat in the Olympics.

Paul Pilgrim had done the double in the "unofficial" Interim games of 1906, but the Cuban did, mattered - the Olympics. The muscular, 6 foot 2 ins. Juantorena had not seriously attempted the 800m prior to the Olympics year, but won the race with a world record time of one minute 43.5 sec. 

During his preparation he had run seven races with a best of 1:44:09 which looked just good enough to give him hope. As was his wont, Junatorena got off to a sedate start but paced himself smoothly to cover the 400 metres in 50.8 where India's Sriram Singh having momentarily led the pack at the "bell". By the 500m the Cuban had taken command.

At 600m American Wohluhuter seemed to be testing Juantorena's capacity but by the 700m mark his resistance collapsed. The Cuban had won a great race. Wohluhuter finished behind the brilliant Belgian Ivo Van Damme, who died a few months later in a car accident. Briton Steve Ovett finished fifth and Sriram Singh was seventh in that memorable race.

Juantorena went on to win the 400m in 44.26 sec. the best till then at sea level, though it was way behind Lee Evan's 43.86 achieved at the higher altitude of Mexico City. The Cuban trailed American Fred Newhouse, who was a joint favourite with fellow American Maxie Parks. For the better part after a slow start by the 300m he accelerated magnificently to come up with another gold. Newhouse finished second in 44.40 and another American Herman Frazier was third 44.95 while Parks was fifth.

Juantorena talking to the western journalists used to say "My second family name, Danger, is meant for the Americans." The remarkable double had not been achieved even by giants like Ted Meredith Arthur Wint {first and second in 1948} and Mal Whitfield. Rudolf Harbig who set the world record for both distances, did not get a chance in 1940, as the games were not held. "He's phenomenal" gasped Mal Whitfield after watching Juantorena in Montreal. "He's what the future's going to be like in running" At Montreal, Juantorena competed in the 4x400 m relay also and in the final ran the first 200m in 20.1 sec. He sustained his speed for another 100m but soon became exhausted and could manage to finish only seventh. 

Juantorena began as a basketball player, but his Polish coach Zyamunt Zabierkowski encouraged him to switch to athletics in 1971. Years later, it was Zabierkowski who insisted that Juantorena run the 800m as well, though the Cuban authorities had entered him in the 400m only in the Montreal Games. Juantorena failed to make the 400m final in the 1972 Munich Games, by five hundredths of a second but in the next year he won the World Universiade 400m ahead of Britain's David Jenkins and in 1974 topped the world rankings with 44.7 sec. A double metatarsus operation left his left toe without sensation and he had to skip most of the 1975 season. He suffered a shock defeat in the Pan American Games at Mexico City against Ron Ray of the US but recovered in time for Montreal.

Juantorena was the No. 01 for two years in the 400m after Montreal. He did suffer an unexpected defeat against Seymour Newman of Jamaica by one hundredth of a second in 1977. In the World Cup at Dusseldorf the same year, the 400m had to be run twice, because Juantorena and Robert Taylor (US) protested that they had not been able to hear the gun due to noise from an aircraft and a cameraman's clicking, Volker Beck of the GDR had won the first race in 45.79 [Juantorena finished third in 45.83] but in the re-run Juantorena clocked 45.36 for the gold and Beck's fastest ever of 45.50 was just not good enough.

In 1977 Juantorena met the marvellous Mike Boit, with the Kenyan having missed the Montreal Games, there was no way to assess the two in major competition till then, the first was at the Weltklasse meet in Zurich on August 24, 1971. Three days earlier, Juantorena had bettered the world record in the 800m in Sofia, Bulgaria in the World Universiade with a 1:43:4, Kenyan Sammy Kipkurgat tried to tire the Cuban out at Zurich in an effort to help his team-mate, Boit, with a fast first lap, but it proved to be of no avail as Juantorena won in 1:43:04. The second meeting came at the world cup in Dusseldorf, Juantorena won again, though by a narrow margin 1:44:04 to 1:44:14. In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Juantorena having just recoverd from a surgery was a creditable fourth in the 400m with a 45.09. In his later years, Juantorena suffered a series of injuries that prevented him from achieving further glory.

Thushara Kumarasinghe.

When McInnes heaped the ashes on his head

The fourth Test of the 1958-59 series between Australia and England played at Adelaide was marred by several bad decisions by the two upmires - Ron Wright and especially Mel McInnes. McInnes had stood in the three previous tests and made several blunders and the England team protested and did not want him to stand in the rest of the series. But the Australian cricket authorities snubbed them and appointed McInnes again for the fourth Test.

Peter May won the toss and made the biggest blunder of his life when he put Australia into bat. In fact Benaud got such a shock, that he asked May what he said, and when, told him that he could bat first, Benaud said, "thank you Peter, you have given us this Test."

On the first three days of the Test, McInnes was involved in three controversies. The most unwelcome hat-trick in Test cricket. The first one came just before lunch on the first day. England's attack of Truman, Statham, Tyson and Lock had bowled their guts out trying to remove one of the opening batsmen. At last in the last over before they broke for lunch, and with his score at 24, Burke got a glove to Tyson and Evans diving in front of Graveney at slip caught it. Evans appealed and Peter May, who had been standing at mid off came running in to congratulate Evans. But all of a sudden he stopped dead in his tracks, when he noticed that McInnes was not raising his finger. Burke stayed where he was and the England fielders froze in different attitudes looking up the wicket. Then came the verdict, not out. The England team waited for a few moments for the shock to sink in and then Evans threw the ball back to Tyson. As they came off for lunch a few minutes later, May went upto Evans and asked him a question. And Evans looking grimly in front nodded. There was an eerie feeling on the field for almost an hour after McInnes had given Burke not out. The umpires began to treat the players with suspicion. There was one occasion when Tyson fielded the ball at mid on and walked alongside the bowler Fred Truman. McInnes turned his back on the rest of the field and stared at the two of them till Tyson handed the ball to Truman. 

McInnes' next blunder was to come hardly 24 hours later and again Evans was in the thick of it. Ken Mackay was the batsman and he got a touch to a ball from Statham that left him outside the off stump and this time Evans took the precaution of making a big issue about the appeal. As soon as he got the touch, Mackay swung round to see if the catch had been taken. Quite natural a thing for a batsman to do if he has got a touch and wants to see if the catch has been taken. Mackay the sportsman that he was started off for the pavilion. Then paused for a moment or two then continued to walk off while McInnes reversed his verdict.And now on the third day, came the 'Daddy' of all McInnes' blunders. McDonald was batting and was seeing that ball as big as a pumpkin. He was well on the road to a double century, when he needed the help of a runner. And Jim Burke came out to run for him. McDonald drove a ball into the covers and Burke took off. Now, instead of standing at square leg the usual place a runner stands Burke had been standing at a deepish point. As soon as the shot was played, instead of moving to the legside, McInnes moved to the off side and had his back to Burke and Statham who was sending the return into the bowler's end. Statham sent in a perfect return to Tyson who whipped the bails off. To the appeal, McInnes first gave McDonald out, and then realising that he had not seen all that had happened, he changed his verdict. The England players were walking round in a daze. Whether McDonald was out or not was a different matter. McInnes had made the blunder of his life by giving a decision without seeing what had actually happened. Burke had just finished his canter and did not know what was happening. While at the other wicket stood McDonald the unwilling victim of this fiasco. It was then that McDonald decided to sought things out. He first went and spoke to May and then walked over to Brian Statham and had a longer talk with him. Statham just shrugged his shoulders and pointed to McInnes. McDonald then began to throw his bat at every ball and a little later threw his wicket away.

By these blunders McInnes had heaped the Ashes on his head and displayed before his own Adelaide crowd that he was a boob who gave verdicts without seeing what had exactly happened. 

-Bruce Maurice

Arjuna: a cool and calculated captain

Arjuna is a rarity in the world of international cricket. We and that means all those who watch the game from the stands or on T.V. are able to evaluate his performance as a player and as a captain, but we also feel we know the inner man, his thoughts and feelings. It is a rare gift this ability to transmit one's personality in the playing field and it explains more than slightly Arjuna's popularity Arjunaamong enthusiasts of the game.

Arjuna learnt the value of professionalism in his late teens. (He played in his first Test match against England in 1981.) Back home we have seen many clever and stylish batsmen at work, but more often than not we have thought of them as dilettantes. We wouldn't have been surprised to see them the next day disporting themselves on the golf course or the Tennis court with equal verve and dash. To Arjuna, however, cricket has always been a serious business. It's in his blood, a game to which he has devoted himself exclusively. (Cricket actually runs in his family. Three of his brothers have played in Test or one-day matches, and Sanjeeva, one of his younger brothers, has shone as a batsman here in Australia.) And so after a period of 19 years Arjuna graduated from being a player in his side to being vice-captain and finally captain. As a batsman he always maintained a certain unflappability, even in difficult situations. He kept a cool head and piled up the runs, often against the odds, through skilful placing of his shots and fluent driving. As a captain he knew the value of self-discipline, and emphasised its importance among his team-mates.

In this context a reference to the Emerson affair is relevant. At the time of the one-day match against England in Adelaide early last year the Muralitharan controversy had died down to all practical purposes. Muralitharan's bowling action had been passed by a committee set up by the International Cricket Council and by reputable umpires like Harold Bird and David Shepherd, old hands at the game. Emerson's decision to no-ball Muralitharan for throwing was sudden and unexpected; it seemed he had come to the match with preconceived ideas. When Arjuna confronted Emerson on his action, which later became the subject of an official inquiry he was acting spontaneously in defence of a team-mate. 

Arjuna has some strong opinions on other matters as well. A cosmopolitan at heart, he believes that the emphasis which is given to racial differences in Sri Lanka today is spurious. He also believes as indeed we all do - that the term "ethnic conflict" is a misnomer. The conflict in Sri Lanka today is not between the Sinhalese and the Tamils, but between the Government and a rebel group. The fact is insufficiently publicized, both at home and abroad.

The future of Sri Lankan cricket is a matter of concern to him. He knows that standards have slumped since the glorious days of 1996, and that they can only be raised through concerted action on the part of several parties, the Government, the cricket executives and the general public. He believes that some of the best talent in the country has not been utilized (an unhappy fact which has to be accepted), and that the selectors should throw their net out wider to reach out to the outstationers as well. He hopes that a National Centre will be set up some day soon to provide accommodation for selected outstationers and training for all. To Arjuna this is not a pipe-dream. It is an objective, which can be realised through co-operative effort.

Vernon Abeysekera

Analysis of the league rugby tournament, now....

The League Tournament has brought out the best in most teams. Let's begin with the giant-killers - the Navy. Inam Ahamath is a good coach with tremendous enthusiasm. They improved on their game as the season progressed and played good rugby. They lost their first game against CR. Next was Kandy. The Navy did well in this game. They followed up with a fine game against the Army just losing by one point. Thereafter the Navy never looked back. They sorted out their strategy - game by game, used replacements effectively and finally were rewarded when they beat the Army convincingly in their return match.

The Army started the season well. They played with determination and purpose and beat some of the fancied teams in the tournament. They gunned down Kandy-reigning champions in Colombo by 26 pts. to 24pts. They lost to CR I9 pts. to 24 pts. Against the CH they were 8 all at halftime but lost 1l pts. to 18 pts. These were close games. The 2nd round saw the Army performing well again, but it was noticeable that there was a need for adequate replacements during a game. They also need tall/heavy forwards as reserves. They should do well in the knock-out tournament. Their officers in charge of rugby should be commended for the encouragement given to the players.

The Havelocks have come a long way. Congratulations to coach Ana Saranapala for his untiring efforts in moulding this team. He had limited resources at hand. There was a shortage of heavy and tall players. The Havelocks also had a number of injuries which also impeded their progress. Nevertheless, the Havelocks president and offlcials have contributed to a very large extent in assisting to build the team to what it is today. The Havelock's win against the CR was great. The game against Kandy was one of the best seen this season. It was a rejuvenated team that was seen in action. Havelocks should do well in the knock-out tournament, and should be at full strength.

The Police have been playing in fits and starts. One day they play dazzling rugby and the next day we find a lethargic Police team lacking the will to win. They are a good side with much talent and need a lot of motivation. They must believe in themselves. This is important. Their pack is their strength but they should have adequate replacements. Getting over the advantage line and keeping play in their opponent's territory must be priority.

The CH&FC - League Champions. Tony Amit deserves all credit for working hard on this team. When the CH were injury-hit, he very cleverly brought in senior players who others thought were 'over-the-hill'. He studied the opposition carefully and used these players at the correct time. His game-plan also revolved round these players so that the team could benefit from their individual skills. Possession was priority to Amit. The CH rarely 'threw' possession away. Their secret - "Team-work" - with fine communication. Well done. The knock-out tournament will be a real test for the CH.

The CR&FC - They had their share of good games but then again I found some inconsistency in certain matches. Probably, with a side like the CR, the game-plan was sometimes forgotten. On many occasions I saw their centre three quarters trying to 'cut-in' and also change direction, thereby ending up by being tackled by the opposition third row! This cost them many tries and games. This is a young side and the three quarters must learn to run the ball to the wing instead of being selfish. Wait for the chance to make a break. The forwards played well with coach 'Laga' making effective replacement changes. Should do well in the knock-out.

Kandy - A team that is coming to terms with itself. A lethargic 1st round where they depended on their past glory and as a result played badly. Then came the 2nd round and Kandy was a different side. Playing in Colombo, they gave a good account of themselves against the CR and the Havelocks. They drew with the CH who had beaten them by a large margin in the 1st round. I feel that the Kandy team needs more motivation during a game by the pack leader. Their game plan should be clear and understood by all. More team-work is required - not so much individuai brilliance.

The Airforce - wooden spoonists, maybe, but a team that never gives up. I watched their game against the Navy, where they had their chances of scoring and failed. Their dedicated coach Vijitha Tennekoon is a man who has sacrificed much when one sees him at the Airforce games. Whether the Airforce are led by a large margin or not, he is there on the touch line offering them encouragement. They seem to have sorted their pack with some good forwards. Their lineouts and scrums are good. However, their three quarters need to practice defense and tactical kicking. In the knock-out, should they play with a maintained momentum in both halves, securing their own possession well, they could upset the opposition.

Countdown to the Olympics - 11 days [24]

Selections are foul in every respect

Part II
By Annesley Ferreira
Continuing our foray in to the bizzare selection of our Olympic team to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, can be termed as most foul in every respect. The recent vulgar "Extravaganza" of the national sports festival, and the disclosure of Sugath Tilakaratne and Sriyantha Dissanayake says it all. 

Sports are for the few by a few and never for the many. These columns would fill countless number of weekends, and would yet find insufficiency to picture the whole sad and sordid ordeals that takes place everyday. A few have enriched themselves to such a level that they have become mega-millionaires, coming from village level surroundings to the lavish luxury of their recently gained lifestyles. 

Government, even at the highest levels show the Nelsonian eye to these events and those in authority exploit and rape the system just for money. Never have in all its history has sports reached to such abysmal levels and there are scribes that extol the virtuies of those in authority for small and shallow gains, giving a damn for the suffering athletes that lament in the huts of our remote hinterlands. 
Track & Field events 100 Metres Hurdles/Women Sydney Olympic Competitor: Sriyani Kulawansa Fonseka World Record: 12.21 Yodanka Donkova [Bulgaria] 1988 Olympic Record: 12.38Yodanka Donkova [Bulgaria] 1988 Asian Record: 12.44Olga Shishigina [Khazakstan] 1995 Asian Games Record: 12.63Olga Shishigina [Khazakstan] 1994 SAF Games Record: 13.12 Sriyani Kulawansa [Sri Lanka] 1999 Sri Lanka Record 13.25 Sriyani Kulawansa 1999 Swimming Conrad Fancis: 100 Metres Butterfly Stroke Radheesha Daluwatte: 50 and/or100 Metres Freestyle Theekshan Ratnasekera: 50 and/or 100 Metres Freestyle To report world record and Olympic games timings would only insult our young swimmers. Undoubtedly, they would post their personal best times in the ideal setting of the Olympic games, thus improving substantially on the present national records. [In association with C. Vijitha Fernando, Trustee, Duncan White Sports Foundation]

Mahaweli Cricket, Sept.9 

The Mahaweli Inter Division Cricket organised by the Welfare Society of the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka will be played on Saturday, September 9. 

This tournament will be played at the Philip Gunawardena grounds at Maligawatta commencing at 9 a.m. 

The competition has gathered a lot of interest with all participating teams practising hard to win the coveted title. A keen competition is on the cards. Pure Beverages and Nestles have agreed to sponsor this tournament. 

Kings cager 

The most popular "Kings" inter club cager tournament for men and women will be conducted from September 15 to 30 at the Otters Aquatic Club Courts at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7. 

This tournament is conducted by the Colombo District Basketball Association. United Breweries Lanka Private Limited will sponsor this year's tournament too. Over 30 teams are expected for participation. 

Entries will close with Ranjith Kodikara Vice President and Chairman CDBA Tournament Committee at No. 1 Block N Bambalapitiya Flats, Colombo 4 on September 7. 

Trinity get-together

Trinity rugby types will get-together at the Hotel Serendib on the beach at Bentota when the Trinity batch of '52, '53, '54 conduct their annual family get-together on September 16 and 17.

Those who wish to attend this get-together are requested to contact Ranjan Edirisinghe on Tel: 519023 or 519835. Fax: 518896 or Ajit R. De. Silva: Tel: 592068/9 or 599163. Fax: 506192

Junior squash postponed

The Sri Lanka junior open squash championships hosted by the Squash Federation fixed from September 13 to 16 has been put off for October/November due to the general elections being held during this period. 

The new dates as suggested by the Asian Squash Federation is end of October and first week of November the President of the Squash Federation Lt. Col. Sarath Jayawardena said. 

The countries participating in this championships will be India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Netherlands.

The events to be held at this championships will be for the age groups of under 11,13, 15, 17 and 19 for both boys and girls. 

This championships will be conducted by the Sri Lanka Squash Federation for the second successive year in Sri Lanka and will be held at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

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