10th December 2000
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Three bright sparks on the Golf scene

Comparatively new to the game Wasantha de Silva, Sanjeewa Wickeramanayake and Rathven de Livera have shown encouraging evidence of absolute competence with a will to improve.

Wasantha de Silva appears to be the most dedicated of the three. His language is golf which often supersedes Honda. On the course he is strong-willed with a burning desire to succeed but then success goes to his head occasionally and he pays the price for flamboyancy. 

He needs a couple of hours at the nets regularly and possibly some games with or against a few seasoned players like Neil Chanmugam, Dr. C. Thurairajah or Willie Barsenbach when available. I am sure they will happily help to check the errors and advocate help. Sanjeeva Wickra-manayake can be outstanding. He has everything the game requires. 

Steeped in enthusiasm, he has the resolve to go for gold. 

Practice is what he requires most and if he can get under the wing of a coach and stay there awhile he will be beaming with success.

Rathven de Livera hits a great long ball with encouraging accuracy. He is confident of his short irons and plays them well. He is another guy who can get theatrical and go for extravagant strokes paying a price for which there is no recovery. His business takes his time and if he can spare an hour a day initially this young man will be seen more often at award ceremonies.

The three I speak about have got immense potential. 

They are all working Directors where time is pretty expensive and most unfortunately golf has to take a warm back seat until they can divide and rule.

Rover Pinpoints...

Already found guilty?

A senior official of the Cricket Board amongst the top, had confided to three journalists that the two Sri Lankan names involved in match-fixing are not innocents and they have played for money. The talking point, why then an inquiry, this official is known to always jump the gun.

Please make up, order from the Minister

An indoor sport at loggerheads between two factions have been told by the Minister of Sports to settle their differences for the betterment of the sport. It's good, but how can it happen when officials are more keen to go on trips than promoting the sport, picking themselves first even before the competitors.

Charges for solidarity course

The outstation clubs attending the swimming coaches clinic were charged Rs. 1,000 each. The clinic concluded last week at the Sugathadasa Stadium pool. The question posed: Why charge the outstation clubs when this was a solidarity course. Sometime ago too a course of this nature was held where an official wanted receipts for a bigger amount than the one given to NASSU.

Oldest Tennis Club taken over

Cosmopolitian Sport Club, one of the oldest clubs involved in the promotion of tennis in Dehiwela has been taken over by the authorities with a hope of opening up a bar. 

At a tidy sum

Rover learns that the AAA headquarters situated at Torrington Square is to be furnished at an expence of over Rs. 3 lakhs. Rover wishes to know from whose money the furniture is to be purchased. Government money or through sponsors?

Big mouth resigns

It is in the air that the 'big mouth' has resigned from the post of President of a Government Services Sports Association, since he is not a government servant anymore. One wonders whether the big mouth who was supported by a leading telephone company on vital issues and will have to resign from the post of President of a leading athletic body as well if he has stood for the elections. 

National player as national coach

Rover is informed by leading coaches who have produced results in the recently concluded Women's Basketball Tournament that the National Coach appointed to coach the National Women's team is a player at present in the Men's National Team that participated in the ABC Championship. Who selected this inexperienced and immature young boy to accompany the Team?

Why no selection from coaches association

Members of the Sri Lanka Basketball Coaches Association are highly disturbed about the manner the National coach for the Women's Team was selected because no applications were called from the members of the Coaches Association. The Coaches who trained hard their teams to win the Trophies in local Tournaments informed Rover that their knowledge and experience in training the leading teams have not been recognized by the member of the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation, why?

President rules 12 players only

Members of the EXCO of the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation informed Rover that the President SLBF gave a ruling that only 12 players must be taken for the 15th ABC Junior Women's Championship to be held next week in India. This ruling was given because it has been a habit of the Vice President taking unlimited and unauthorized players to foreign countries and issuing Sri Lanka National Colours to players who are not eligible. Will the President take steps to enforce the ruling as the standby players also has been requested to pay Rs. 25,000/- per player to make this trip to India?

Well done President SLBF

President SLBF acting on the article of Rover have ordered the selectors to select the best 12 players from the 17 names submitted to the organizers of the ABC Championship, said a parent. Will the selectors comply with the request by the president?

Collection of funds

Is the question of all the funds collected by the SLBF for the 15th ABC Championship from the parents and well-wishers be deposited with the SLBF Bank Account and paid to the travel agent by cheque being discussed by the parents of the children?

How strange

Why is the newly appointed Minister of Sports Lakshman Kirella looking scared to take decisions of his own in putting to right the wrongdoing of certain sports bodies.

The Sports Law clearly states that he has the power to dissolve any sports body not doing its work properly.

The former Minister dissolved three indoor sports and one outdoor bodies and appointed interim commitees to function with persons of his preference which are yet functioning.

Is the present Minister scared or is he under threat by the former to safeguard his henchmen.

Under 19 rugby carnival

By Jatila Karawita
It all points to an enthralling rugby carnival in Colombo during the Yuletide season as 12 top Asian youth teams vie for honours at the Asian Under 19 Rugby Youth Championships to be worked off from December 16 to 22 at Longden Place and Sugathadasa Stadium respectively.

The one-week long rugby showpiece will generate all the excitement and glamour during the festive season and it is bound to churn out fast and open rugby for the local rugby lovers. Sri Lanka is geared to host one of the biggest sporting events in the local rugby history when the fifth edition of the Under 19 Rugby Asiad is staged.

The tournament is expected to feature the largest number of nations seen in the history of this youth rugby extravaganza.

Holding the competition here will also serve as a huge boost for Sri Lanka rugby in general.

It will also enable the national selectors headed by Tikiri Marambe to scout for suitable replacements in the Sri Lanka team.

'It is another area we are looking for. This will be a part of the development process. If we could develop our youth team it will be an investment for the future.

Then we will be able to have a solid development squad which ultimately will be able to cater to the national squad' said Harsha Mayadunne, chairman of the organising committee in a brief interview with Sunday Times. The organisers of the Under 19 Asiad have also decided to impose harsh penalties on unwarranted play during the tourney.

Under the tournament rules, players who are ejected from the field will automatically run the risk of being banned from the entire championships and any effort for a re-scrutiny of the case could cost $ 200 which will be reimbursed if the appeal is upheld by a disciplinary committee.

Tournament and match director Ibrahim Hamid told journalists at a news briefing last week that there would not be any extra-ordinary rules but that the existing regulations will be imposed with no concessions granted.

Sri Lanka led by hardy third row forward Jeewan Gunathileke is expected to mount a stiff challenge to the favourite teams according to rugby analysts here.

The hosts and Hong Kong will kick-start the event with a curtain-raiser match on December 16 following the colourful opening ceremony to be graced by Sports Minister Lakshman Kiriella at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

According to Mayadunne the cost for the running of the tournament will be rupees six million of which the Asian Rugby Union has given Rs 2.4 million.

The event is the first of its kind to be held on home soil and organisers hope to stir up a new revolution in rugby promotion in outstation areas with schoolboys from the provinces to be invited to the venue free of charge. Sri Lanka is listed along-side Hong Kong, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Japan for the main Cup Championship while Kazakhstan, India, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and the Arabian Gulf battle in another segment for the Plate trophy.

All teams will be housed at the Galadari Hotel and provided with adequate security under the direction of Deputy Inspector General of Police Camillus Abeygoona-wardene.

Competing teams will have to play one another once and the country with the overall best performance in the championship will be declared the victor. Three points will be awarded for a win and one point for a draw.

The match tickets have been priced at Rs 10/= and 30/=.The tournament will conclude on December 22.

Win over Chinese Taipei, nothing to shout about

By Bernie Wijesekera
It's great for SriLanka to have got the better of the Chinese Taipei's young national team sandwiched with a couple of seniors on home soil. 

Sri Lanka rugby hit rock bottom in the Asiad, staged in Japan.

One must not be carried away with this series win. 

Lankan rugby has a long way to go to reach the top bracket. 

This series win could be tagged as a reconciliation victory to bring about togetherness among the players and officials for a better future. 

It needs an infrastructure that could help the game, with men who could discharge their duties with better professional skills on and off the field. 

After this win against a development squad, the platform is laid to put the game on a firm footing. In some quarters individuals are apparently striving to gain credit. But the ones, who got the act together are the players, with a dedicated effort, plus the coach who did the spade work.

Sri Lanka failed to impress in the recent past losing badly in the Asiad, got a drubbing in the H.K. 'Sevens' but did well in the Singer international 'Sevens' staged in Kandy. 

In some quarters arm-chair critics were blaming it was due to the lack of discipline among some players and even blaming the coach. 

In whatever quarter if their is in discipline be it rugby, cricket or otherwise it attributes to weak management.

It's in the rural areas that the future of rugby lies. 

Talented players are found aplenty be it Kandy, Galle or Ratnapura. 

It's here that the development committee headed by burly Y.C. Chang should spend more time to advice and put it on the track. 

The Red Cow sponsored juvenile rugby in Talduwa, was an instant success, thank to Arjun Dharmadasa's personal interest. 

Last Tuesday Dec. 4 certificates were awarded to the coaches were at Avissawella. 

Even in the Ruhunu territory the game has come to stay with limited resources among the rural schools. 

It's here that officials in any sport must spend some time and look into its needs and for its continuity rather than going for cheap media publicity thereby creating an impression that augers well with the sport and its development.

There should be continuity and a concerted effort by all. The performance against Chinese Taipei could be lauded but one swallow does not make a summer. 

People that matters with professional background should be harnessed to run rugby affairs, and not figure- heads. 

The powers that be do not usually offer love. But we must do what we can do, for the development and uplift the standards among the havenots. 

The rest is not our business. Once this is assured they will continue to bloom and do proud for the country. A good example is village girl Susanathika Jayasinghe, who fought her way to do proud for the Asians by being a solitary medal winner in the track events.

Rugby, too is not short of talent if one goes by the performances of the Services especially the Army, when they hit a purple patch in Bangkok.

The present Minister of Sports Lakshman Kiriella, should be commended for picking the correct people to the Sports Council, sans petty party politics, thereby running out some of them, who were a stumbling block for its development. 

Kiriella, needs some time. The future of Sri Lanka sport is on the right track. 

Kiriella, believes in this saying. 

"Your wealth can decorate your house, but only your virtues and conduct can decorate you''. 

Let some of our power hungry officials in sport bodies take note of. 


Our soccer refereeing on the straight, correct path 

By Gamini Perera
Having written on professionalism in local football, the value of trained coaches for football leagues, and the importance of coach education, The Sunday Times now delves into the standard of refereeing in Sri Lanka.

Considering the tremendous achievements Sri Lanka had made in the refereeing domain, especially during the 1995/1999 period, one can feel satisfied, because today our own referees are not inferior to any other Asian country in their refereeing qualities.

The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) organizes various tournaments throughout the year and the clubs and the leagues have only a few complaints about the standard of refereeing in different competitions.

The complaints, we have noticed are usually made by some clubs that have made it a habit of objecting whenever they lose some competition. However, it is the duty of the FFSL to accept their criticisms, as it is their right to express them.

One vital reason for the refereeing progress is due to the investment the FFSL had made since 1995, when they started holding referees courses and seminars for our referees. Many of our referees were sent abroad not only to follow international courses and seminars, but also to attend referees' instructor courses. The result was that the country yielded many referees who took correct decisions and officiated with distinction in the field of play. 

The second reason for the progress of our referees was the decision taken by the Asian football confederation (AFC) to afford every member-country an yearly share of refereeing in four to five international matches, as a test of their abilities. 

The designation of the best referees is done according to their own competence, regardless of the size and importance of the country. 

Sri Lanka has now acquired a place in the world of football with some of our referees and assistant referees officiating at top-level international competitions. The results have been positive with one of our assistant referees officiating in the last World Cup tournament in France. 

Although we are proud of the standard of our referees, we cannot ignore the fact that some of them lack seriousness and attentiveness, taking for granted the place the FFSL has entrusted in them in the competitions, and have officiated some matches carelessly. Nevertheless, they will surely have to assume responsibility for their actions. 

With some qualified referees' instructors in the country, Sri Lanka is in a very stable position in helping the referees to progress further. The referees committee of the FFSL must follow closely the standard of the referees as not to lose the level that was so hard to acquire. 

The referees and the assistant referees, especially those who have entered the fraternity lately, must be advised to prepare themselves physically and psychologically in order to perform their duties in a perfect manner.

Sri Lankan CC of Geneva to play six matches here

The Sri Lanka Cricket Club of Geneva (SLCCG) will be undertaking its first ever tour to Sri Lanka from December 16 to 24 this year. They will play six one day games against teams from Colombo and Kandy.

SLCCG, are the Swiss League Champions of 1998 and 1999.

Cricket in Geneva is played by players from the sub-continent purely for pleasure though the games themselves are taken seriously. Sri Lankans residing there form the core of most teams and almost all teams have at least one player from the island nation turning out for them.

The club membership is multiracial and multinational. Other members are from India, Pakistan, the West Indies and the UK.

The SLCCG has matured over the years and has taken on the added responsibility of promoting the game in Switzerland. Club membership is open to any person who is either a Swiss national or having a resident permit to live in the country. It also allows visiting cricketers to participate in friendly games. For the current tour the SLCCG has invited a few players from other clubs to participate so that more 'Swiss Cricketers' would get the opportunity to experience playing in Sri Lanka.

The tour squad comprises Sunil Perera, Dugal Jansz, Milroy Perera, Sarath Dayananda, Nanda Dias, Praminda de Almeida, Ranjith Katukurunda, Rohitha Yapa, Anthony Neil Bernard, Azad Jabbar, Riyange Gedera Kumarasinghe, Hilmy Marikkar, Udara Elapatha, Ravindrakumar Damotharan, Chinta Rajap, Janaka Wengappuli Arachelige, Sanjeevan Thevar, Mohideen Nistaq and Lasantha Subasinghe. 

They will arrive in Sri Lanka on December 14.

The schedule of matches is asfollows: December 17 - vs Sebastianites CC at Moratuwa; December 18 - vs Hatton National Bank at Moratuwa; December 19 - vs Negombo CC at MCC; December 21 - vs SriLankan Airlines at Colombo; December 23 - vs Kandy CC at Asgiriya Stadium.

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