4th February 2001
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Rohana right on course

By Laila Nasry

The Colombo Golf Course was his play ground. Living in it's close vicinity, heading there after school was only natural. Be it trudging behind his father who was a caddie or just messing around with his friends, those were times he looked forward to. Day in day out in the hot boiling sun he watched the greats at their game, only heading home at sundown, with the one thought that someday it will be him out there.

R.A. Anura Rohana, was only a young boy of seven then. Nevertheless twenty years on he is right on 'course' with his dream.

Recalling the early days he says "golf was never an easy game to learn and to add to it all the clubs were too big for me." Having got small clubs he practised hard. "I used to practise my swing and then walk the length and breadth to collect my balls." Those were difficult and tiring days, "my hands and legs used to hurt all the time."

At 14 years he started caddying for Sal Chetty and did so for 10 years. An opportunity to play competitive golf presented itself in the form of a tournament organised for caddies and Rohana then around 19 years, had a 'swing' at it. "I wasn't scared or nervous at all because I was really used to the course," he says of this tournament which he went on to win.

Shiran de Soysa having spotted the promising youngster helped him get into the national pool and since then there's been no turning back. Donning the national blazer on several occasions he brought glory and recognition to the country, winning the Sri Lanka Amateur Championship in '98, The Bangladesh Amateur Open, The Malaysia Amateur Open in 2000, placed 2nd in the Singapore Amateur Open and winning a silver medal in the US last June. At the recently concluded All India Amateur golf Championship, held in Mumbai which saw countries like Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Britain and India participating he emerged runner-up. "Our standards of golf are good. At these tournaments we can be sure of a 1st or 2nd place," he says hoping to achieve just that at the upcoming SAARC Open for which he is practising daily playing around 400 balls for a week.

In the US Rohana had the rare opportunity of watching Tiger Woods play. " His arms are strong so his swing is powerful. While we average around 285 his average is three hundred odd." However Nick Faldo is his favourite. "I watch his game often but we can't play like them. His swing is different because he is taller and his shots are powerful."

Currently Rohana is married and the father of two sons. "My wife comes for the tournaments held here and she cheers me on. Everyone at home is really thrilled when I win on the green," he says with a modest smile.

His five-year-old has already shown signs of being a chip of the old block, having tried his hand at swinging a ball under the watchful eyes of his dad.

Rohana hopes to become a pro in golf, however getting a sponsor seems to be the formidable barrier. "But I know within the next ten years I can achieve it."

Fitness, key to success: Amrith

By Bernie Wijesekera

"Key to my success in golf, is due to my regular practises and fitness," said 13-year-old Amrith de Soysa after winning the inaugural OminiBis Stableford golf championship at the RCGC greens, recently.

De Soysa, was interviewed by The Sunday Times, after his fine effort against some seasoned golfers to emerge overall champion sponsored by OmniBis, which proved a roaring success. There were 132 golfers, who took to the greens.

A student at the CIS International School, said that he was happy that his success attributed to his regular training- six days a week and fitness.

"My coach Pheroze Billimoria, a former Sri Lankan player has taken special attention to improve my skills. I owe him a token of gratitude for his guidance."

Q: What's your ambition?

A: Firstly, to gain selection to the Sri Lanka amateur golf team. It's going to be a long walk. But nothing is impossible if one is dedicated and works hard. I want to be one of the best golfers in the world and do proud for my country. My parents are giving me all the support and encouragement.

Q: For your age you have been consistently performing well in the local circuit. Any performances away from home?

A: Last year in the Premier Am. Pacific Championship held in December, in Philippines - Under-16 I was placed fourth. 13 countries took part. I enjoy playing golf.

Despite my parents giving me all support, I managed to find a sponsor-Maxfli for equipment. Further I am planning to get a scholarship to the U.S.

Q: Who is your idol?

A: Tiger Woods no doubt. He's an example for a young golfer. Hard work is the key to his success. His parents too have been behind him all the time to reach stardom.

Q: Are you indulging in any other sport than golf?

A:Yes, basketball which sport too needs abundant fitness and regular training.

Besides me, my brother Haresh, plays rugby.

Amrith de Soysa, has a future in this sport. He has a coach to help him and a sponsor, too.

But how much encouragement and support do the poor caddies get despite their talent and skills than for a few crumbs here and there given to them by their masters. This was highlighted by Shiran de Soysa who managed the Lankan team for an international championship staged in Mumbai when Anura Rohana, emerged runner-up.

De Soysa said, that the foreign officials were surprised and commended Rohana's performance despite limited resources.

Vintage cars hit the roads

By Bruce Maurice

Old cars, anywhere in the world, have a habit of attracting the young and old. Most of the old beauties in Sri Lanka were on the roads recently in a rally organised by S.Thomas' College,Mount Lavinia,one of the oldest educational institutions in Sri Lanka which is celebrating 150 years of its existence in March this year (2001).

The vehicles paraded the streets of Colombo in all its glory and gathered at S. Thomas' Junior Grounds where motor car enthusiasts were able to marvel at them.

Vintage motor lovers took in the looks of these beauties which traversed the roads of Sri Lanka or Ceylon, as it was known then, many moons ago.

The motor show was organised by the Classic Car Club, the Vintage Club and S. Thomas' Automobile Club to celebrate the 150th year of the founding of S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. It was sponsored by Hatton National Bank.

One of the vintage vehicles on display was an Albion lorry owned by Mr. Hercil Fernando. This was a 1908 model which bore the registration number Q 279. It is the oldest road worthy lorry that is running on the roads of Sri Lanka today. It runs on both petrol and kerosine oil and has many special features. It has no oil pump and the oil has to be changed every 20 miles. The tyres are solid and the vehicle is fitted with carbide lights, a magnitio ignition, a crash-on type five speed gear box with a reverse gear. It is an English product and it's maximum speed is eight miles per hour.

The grandad of the cars was a Fiat Tippo bearing number U 16 which is still in topping condition. Among the other cars was a Paltney, which was a custom made car for a soldier who was disabled in World War One.

A 1931 Standard Coventry (No: A3374) was another eye-catcher. A 1928 Morris Minor (No: X2643), a cute little Chummy Baby Austin (No: G 71), a 1934 vintage Fiat Balila (No: X 5459), the oldest Benz that was named Mercedes after the manufactures daughter. That particular vehicle can still be see on Sri Lankan roads, a Chevrolet Master De Luxe of 1939, A 1936 Riley Lynx, an Austin of 1937, bearing number Z 4609, a 1938 Standard Flying Saloon (Z. 7978), a Standard eight tourer (No: Z. 7876), a four door Standard Saloon and a 1938 Humber Hawke Super De Luxe that would have taken veterans of World War One down memory lane and reminded them of the famous German pocket battleship, the Emden that caused havoc in the Indian Ocean.

Among the motor cycles, the special attraction was a Parachute Motorcycle, bearing number H. 77 and is the only surviving machine of its type in the country. This bike was used in World War Two with parachuters when they were dropped behind enemy lines. The riders were also supplied with maps indicating directions to help them to steer clear of enemy lines.

It must be stated that all the owners of the vintage cars that were on display could take a bow for tendering such love and care on their vehicles and taking care of them like their own wives and not treating them like their Mothers-in-Law.

Confident Lankans to meet Bahrain

The Sri Lanka team has left for the Philippines via Malaysia for the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 3 event which will be held from 7th to 11th February in Manila, Philippines. Sri Lanka play their first match against Bahrain on 7th of February.

Last year Bahrain was promoted to group 3 after emerging victorious in group 4. Sri Lanka will play Singapore on the 8th and Philippines on the 9th of February. Sri Lanka's next opponent will depend on how well it fares in the first three matches. According to the Davis Cup rules the first two nations in both groups play each other to select position 1, 2, 3 and 4. The nations in position 1 and 2 will be promoted to group 2 of the Davis Cup next year. The last two nations in both groups will play each other to arrive at positions 5, 6, 7, and 8. The nations in positions 7 and 8 will be demoted to group 4 of the Davis Cup next year. The nations in the other group are Qatar, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia.

The Sri Lankan team consists of Asiri Iddamalgoda (Non Playing Captain), Renouk Wijemanne, Dinuka Ranaweera, Chamara Wijesekera and Ganendran Subramaniam. Roshan Razik will also travel with the team as manager. It is expected that 17-year-old Dinuka Ranaweera, the Men's Singles National Champion will play the first singles for Sri Lanka, while Renouk Wijemanne, the second singles. Wijemanne may then combine with Men's Doubles National Champion Ganendran Subramaniam to play the doubles.

'The team play a few practice matches in Malaysia before travelling to Philippines. These practice matches will sharpen and give more confidence to our players before the Davis Cup,' said Roshan Razik, Manager.

Sri Lankans oust top seeds at ITF tourney

By Annesley Ferreira

N.S. Nishendran and Amrith Rupasinghe scored a major upset over the Indian -Pakistan combination (number 1 seeds) in the boys doubles match of the ITF South Asian Under 14 Championships at the National Tennis Centre Courts, Greenpath yesterday.

The Sri Lankan pair (the fourth seeds) overcame the number 1 seeds - Dutta Anushman and Nazi Sharukh Khan - to book their berths into the finals.

The Lankan pair lost the first set and cheered by the crowd, won the second and third sets at 4-0, 4-1 to win the match.

They will now meet the Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan pair in the final.

Dimithry Ivanov and Syrym Abdulkhalokon beat the Sri Lankan pair of Oshada Wijemanne and Franklyn Emmanuel 5-3, 2-4, 4-3 in the semi-finals in matches which were worked off in short sets in accordance with new ITF rules.

Top seed Sanaa Bhambri of India beat her team mate Tara Iyer 6-3, 6-2 and will meet Karthi Bhat in an all-Indian affair in the girls' singles final fixed for 2 p.m. today.

Bhat beat Maria Vasilyeva of Kazakstan 6-1, 6-1. Earlier in the boys' doubles quarterfinals, Amrith Rupasinghe and N. S. Nishendran beat Baram Nawar and Lidzar Alexander of Kazakhstan 3-5, 5-4, 4-0 and Franklin Emmanuel and Oshada Wijemanne beat Huang Maung Nge and Tun Kay Zar of Myanmar 4-1, 5-4. Top seed Dimitry Ivanov of Uzbekistan toppled top seed Anushman Dutta of India 6-0, 6-0 to meet Abdulkhalikov Syrym of Kazakhstan in the boys singles final.

For the first time live TV coverage will be given on Rupavahini sponsored by Pepsi and Union Assurance on February 7 from 4 to 6 p.m and a recorded version on February 9 from 8 to 10 p.m.

Cambrians gain second win

By S.M.D.Sirisena

Prince of Wales scored their second victory in the current inter-school cricket season when they beat D.S.Senanayake College by ten wickets in their Lemonade Trophy cricket tournament match at Moratuwa yesterday.

The Cambrians declared at their first innings score of 226 for 6. This was in reply to D.S.Senanayake's first innings total of 89. Sri Lanka school's under 19 player Rashan Pieris scored 85 with five sixes and ten boundaries. Manjula Bandara scored an unbeaten 62.

D.S.Senanayake - 85 (Shanaka Cooray 6 for 35, Buddika Dananajaya 3 for 35 and 138 (Pasudu Liyanarachchi 35, T.Mihiranga 23, A. Dharmapriya 19; Buddika Dananjaya 5 for 39, S. Rajitha 3 for 29, Shanuka Cooray 2 for 24)

Prince of Wales - 226 for 6 dec. (Rashan Pieris 85, Manjula Bandara 61 n.o, Shan Galappaththi 15; R.Sunil 3 for 56 , A. Dharmapriya 2 for 53) and 3 for no loss.

Sukitha Peiris 69

By Bernie Wijesekera

Batsmen dominated play in the drawn inter-school encounter between Nalanda and St. Anthony's Katugastota at Campbell Place yesterday.

St. Anthony's - 215 and 201 for 5 in 61 overs (N. Ratnayake 35, Tyronne de Silva 60 n.o, M. Mutukuda 39, N. Ranawaka 35; M. Surappulige 2 for 61)

Nalanda - 207 for 7 dec. (S. Peiris 69, M. Porage 28, A. Kiriella 38, D. Jayasundare 16 n.o; N. Nizam 3 for 77)

Ratnayaka bowls best

A steady spell of spin bowling by Royal's Ganganath Ratnayaka restricted Ananda to a first innings score of 138, in their inter school match which was drawn at Reid Avenue yesterday.

Royal - 208 for 8 declared. and 99 for 6. (D. Perera 23, A. Kariyakarawana 37 n.o; L. Fernando 3 for 21).

Ananda - 138. (Y. Wickramage 42, M. Pushpakumara 27, M. Madapatha 17, M. Fonseka 16; A. Kariyakarawana 2 for 24, C. Vidanaaratchi 2 for 31, G. Ratnayaka 3 for 33). B.M.

Drab draw at the Park

By Shanaka Silva

The inter-school cricket match between Isipatana MV and Maliyadeva, Kurunegala fizzled out into a listless draw at the Colts Grounds yesterday.

Isipatana - 243 for 8 dec. in 77 overs (M. Abeyrathna 76, M. Priyankara34, C. Perera 39; D. Gunathilaka 4/81, D. Malmeewala 2/58)

Maliyadeva - 279 for 7 (B.Samarakoon 65, S. Atapattu 50 n.o, S.De. Silva 34; I.Vindana3 for 35)

India turns down Pakistan's quake offer

New Delhi, Saturday (AFP) - India's sports minister Uma Bharti today rejected a proposal to play cricket against Pakistan to raise funds for the devastating earthquake in Gujarat.

Cricket officials from the sub-continent had arranged a one-day series between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the Gulf emirate of Sharjah next week to raise money for the survivors of the killer quake which has claimed an estimated 30,000 lives. India's latest refusal raises serious doubts about the tri-series between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka scheduled to be held in Sharjah in April.

India twice rejected the team's participation in the annual one-day matches against Pakistan in Canada, and last month cancelled a scheduled Test tour of Pakistan by Sourav Ganguly's men.

BRC too strong for Police

By Leonard Ratnayake

Police Sports Club, who hardly showed any cricketing skills, were bowled out twice within a day as Burgher Recreation Club registered a rather easy innings and 164 runs win in a Premier League tournament match at Police Park, Colombo.

BRC v Police at Police Park: BRC - 355 for 7 95.4 overs overnight 338 for 5 (Jayasinghe 99 n.o, S. Silva 33, T. Perera 62, M. Warnapura 111, C Jayasinghe 107 n.o; D. Gunawardena 3 for 53, T. Abeyratne 2 for 70,

Police - 92 in 27 overs (D. Gunawardena 55, C. de Silva 5 for 16, C Jayasinghe 2 for 27, S. Weerakoon 2 for 28) and 99 all out in 36.5 overs (N. Udawatte 19, N.C Silva 40; C. de Silva 2 for 15, S. Weerakoon 2 for 10, C. Labrooy 2 for 31, B. de Silva 2 for 34)

Moors v Singha at Braybrooke Place: Singha SC - 359 all out in 122.5 overs -overnight 190/3 (Kumara 32 n.o., de Soysa 10 n.o, B. Ekanayake 69, S. Jayantha 66, M. Kumara 43, N. Weerasinghe 50, H. Rajapakse 43; R. Herath 3 for 91, C. Fernando 5 for 121)

Moors SC - 144 for 5 (D. Sanjeewa 46 n.o., B. Perera 38, N. Cooray 24,

S. Jayantha 2 for 22, C. de Soysa 1 for 9)

Panadura v NCC at NCC Grounds: Panadura SC - 305 all out in 99.2 overs -overnight 135/5 (D. Perera 82, S. Kumara 31, R. Wimalasena 40, N. Liyanage 33, A. Perera 72; R. Pushpakumara 3 for 60; A Ganegama 3 for 52; M Bandara 3 for 55)

NCC - 143 for two wickets in 54 overs ( R Tissera 53, P. Hewage 74; D. Perera 1 for 32)

SSC v Navy at SSC Grounds: SSC - 310 all out (H. Wickramaratne 121, T.Samaraweera 74; M. Perera 4 for 74) and 55 for 2 (I. Daniels 30 n.o)

Navy SC - 184 all out (S. Weerasiri 68, V. Buddika 22; T.Samaraweera 4 for 72, R.Dammika 3 for 15)

Bloomfield vs CCC at Reid Avenue. Bloomfield - 226 for 8 (S. Dissanayaka 56, C. Ruwan 44, R. Palliyaguru 43, H. Alles 19 n.o. N. Ranjan 3 for 30, C. Mudalige 2 for 56) BM

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