22nd July 20010
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Nalin Dissanayake holding back a 
CR player trying to make breakthrough. 
pic by M. A. Pushpakumara

CH thrash hapless CR - 26-6...

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Royal Ceramics sponsors WCASL tournament 
Royal Ceramics have come forward to sponsor Sri Lankan Women's Cricket at a time when they are making a mark at international level when Sri Lanka came out with flying colours at both World Cups of '97 and 2000 in India and New Zealand. With Sri Lanka already a finalist for the Women's World Cup 2004 in South Africa, the Women's Cricket Association of Sri Lanka is gearing up to meet the high standards expected. They have already invited several international teams to come over to Sri Lanka and play against the WCASL for exposure and more experience. The first to arrive will be West Indies followed by Pakistan both whom the Lankan girls have beaten at World Cup level. 

The annual inter-club tournament of the WCASL that will be played from July 26 to August 18 both in Colombo and outstation will commence with Pool selection for the West Indies tour of Sri Lanka. The inaugural match to be played at Sir Albert Pieris Stadium on the 26th will be between Negombo Ladies CC and Dankotuwa CC in the 50 limited-over match in the 'B' Group. The winners in the 'B' Group will compete in 'A' Group in Colombo. 

SAF swim trials postponed
The final SAF Games swimming trials scheduled to be held from July 26 to 29 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium pool, has been postponed. 

The new dates for the trials will be August 1, 2, 4 and 5 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium pool starting at 3 p.m. each day. 

Hameedia wins 7's title
Hameedia "A" team emerged victorious in the Mercantile 7's tournament beating HNB in the final which was played on Sunday at Pedris Park. Final results read 5/4 in favour of Hameedia. Hameedia beat many fancied teams such as Airlanka catering, HNB 'B' team, Tristar, Pelwatte Sugar, Grindlays Bank on their way to the final. In the semi-final HNB 'A' beat Tristar 1/0 and Hameedia 'A' beat Airlanka catering 1/nil. In the final it was nil all but on a penalty shoot-out the final score read 5/4. More than 20 teams from top Mercantile Companies participated in this year's tournament. The chief guest for this year tournament was Mr. Chandula Abeywickrema, DGM, Marketing at HNB, a news release from Hameedia stated. 
Bulls BC wins Moratuwa Super Inter Club Cager Trophy
Bulls BC clinched the Moratuwa Super Inter Club Cager Trophy defeating Colombo BC by 65 points to 51 in the tourney conducted by the Moratuwa Basketball Club played at the St. Sebastian's Courts at Moratuwa. 

Spectators who came to witness a match of high standard went away disappointed as they were able to see only the pathetic display of the Sri Lanka National team playing the colours of the Colombo BC before their departure to Hong Kong to play in the invitation tournament. 

Bulls BC - 65 points:

Sugath Thevapperuma 19, Duke Rajapaksa 14, Chathura Wickremage 12, Heshan Premachandra 10. 

Colombo BC 51 points: 

Chamath 16, Rasika Prabath 13, Thivaharan 12. 

D.S. Senanayake outplays Lumbini MV
D.S. Senanayake openers Roshan Kulatunga and Milinda de Silva put on 140 runs in enabling to beat Lumbini MV in their inter schools Division I semi-finals played at the Wesley College grounds at Campbell Park. 

The experience of Milinda and the baby of the team Roshan helped D.S. Senanayake to total 250 for 7 with contributions of 75 and 71 respectively. 

Milinda had a six and 10 fours while Roshan had 12 fours. 

Roshan aggregated 316 runs in this tournament, with four half centuries while Milinda scored his first half century. 

Lumbini were able to total 227 for 9 in their 50 overs in reply to D.S. total of 250 for 9 in 50 overs. 

D.S. Senanayake: 250 for 9 in 50 overs (Milinda de Silva 75, Roshan Kulatunga 71, Dinesh de Silva 30 not out, Udarawana 20; M. Pushpakumara 4 for 43, R. Silva 2 for 49). 

Lumbini MV: 227 for 9 in 50 overs (Malinga Perera 56, Subash Perera 32, Anuradha Perera 30; Tharindu Perera 3 for 37, Sandeep Rodrigo 2 for 29, Udaravana 2 for 52).

Golf Classic at Nuwara Eliya

By M.Shamil Amit
The inaugural Grand-Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic tournament organised by the Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya and the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club and sponsored by Sri Lankan Airlines will take place on August 3, 4 and 5 2001 at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club Course. 

This tournament will encompass a three day programme allowing amateur golfers to participate in Ladies and Gents events. The events are to be conducted in two separate divisions for each group. Individuals are being given an opportunity to enter either Division A (Handicaps of 0-24 and 0-16 for ladies and gents respectively) or Division B (Handicaps of 25-45 and 17-28 respectively). 

Winners in the men's division will recieve return air tickets to London, while winners of women's division will receive return tickets to Singapore, courtesy Sri Lankan Airlines. 

These events will be conducted on a stableford competition format and are open to all amateur golfers with a valid Club, USGA or LGU handicap. 

A stableford competition will also be held for juniors, both boys and girls aged 17 years and younger with handicaps of 15-28, while novices aged 16 years and under will be able to compete on a six hole stroke play format, with attractive prizes being awarded for putting, chipping, the longest drive and the shortest time on the first hole. 

Interested parties wishing to paticipate in the tournament must register at the Royal Colombo Golf Club or the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club on or before August 1, 2001.

Soccer Veteran's Eye Clinic 
An eye clinic is being organised by the Soccer Veterans Association of Sri Lanka in association with the Appropriate Technologies Institute at the Stanley Jansz Playgrounds Reception Hall at Kollupitiya today at 8.30 a.m. The eyes will be tested and spectacles will be issued free-of-charge according to their prescriptions. 

All former soccerites whether members or not, their family members and parents of present day players are invited to attend this clinic. 

Two players warned
The two CH&FC players who were involved in the Kandy SC-CH and FC rugby match played at Nittawela over last weekend got off with a warning.

But the main issue of the CH and FC team walking out for the alleged stone throwing will be decided on July 23, according to a member of the disciplinary committee.

The same source said they will be assisted by a video re-play before they make their final decision.

This is a serious offence, unless there was a free-for-all or the specatators invading the field. The referee has submitted his report, but still in fairness to everyone, the committee wants the assistance of the video so that justice will prevail. Its finding will be sent to the Rugby Union for action.

Learn to Swim Camp 
The Champ international learn to Swim Camp will be held in the last week of this month and the first week of next month at the newly opened Thurstan College Swimming Pool. 

This camp will be held on July 28, 29, August 2 and 3 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. This Learn to Swim Camp, the second in a series, will be conducted for adults, children and novices, and for children over three years. The entrance fee is Rs. 400/- and applications will close with Raja Weerasuriya, the Manager of the Thurstan College Swimming Pool Complex at Thurstan Road, Colombo 7. 

Village girls take to cricket

By Rohan Jayatilleke
The indefatigable steps taken by Mrs. Gwen Herat, (Presently President of the Women's Cricket Association of Sri Lanka, the only officials controlling body of women's cricket recognized by the International Women's Cricket Council) are now blossoming even in villages of Sri Lanka. These efforts span a period of nearly two decades. In the hill country, cricket was introduced to the schools by Kandy YMCA, with the writer as then Director of the Kandy YMCA Sports and Physical Education Department and then Assistant Secretary of Kandy YMCA, Mr. Christopher Pereira (now YMCA General Secretary) in 1984, organizing a limited over soft-ball cricket tournament at Bogambara Grounds and Mrs. Gwen Herat donating a Challenge Cup.

However, in this tournament only one match was played between Mahamaya Girls' College and Good Shepherd Convent, Kandy which was won by Mahamaya Girls' College. The tournament was aborted by the Education Ministry on the grounds that cricket was not a recognized game for girls' schools. 

However, Pauline Bunce, the former Western Australian University women's cricket captain, who happened to be in Sri Lanka on a teacher training assignment and on her return to Australia and then to The Keeling Islands (The Cocos), continued to represent matters to the then Minister of Education of Sri Lanka and eventually cricket was recognized as a game fit for girls' schools. 

Gwen Herat turned a new chapter taking girls to hard-ball cricket and Sri Lanka competing in the Women's World Cup. In this scenario, the game has taken wings to villages and perched in the idyllic setting permanently. In the former sleepy villages of Haragama, which was only synonymous with Ayurvedic physicians specializing in fractures and broken bones, blossomed into a populous village under the Mahaveli Scheme, as the main Raja Mawatha leading to Randenigala Reservoir cut through the heart of Haragama. 

Consequently the little school of Haragama got into new dressings as a Maha Vidyalaya. This school has now produced two outstanding soft-ball women cricketers, still at school, namely L.A.K. Mekhala Nilmini and S.S. Weerakkody. 

Gurudeniya Maha Vidyalaya emerged victorious in the soft-ball Women's Cricket Tournament conducted in the year 2000 by the Victoria Zone of the accelerated Mahaveli Development Scheme initiated by late Mr. Gamini Dissanayake, then Minister-in-Charge of the scheme. The contributions of the above named two players were pivotal to the victory. In the Inter-Zone (Mahaveli Scheme) Women's Cricket Tournament, these two cricketers representing the Victoria Zone led their team to success and were awarded Gold Medals for their performances. 

These two cricketers are adept at athletics too, Mekhala Nilmini excelling in the 100m, 200m and the discus throw, while Weerakkody in 400m, 800m and Long Jump. Weerakkody has continued to clinch medals in athletics from 1998 to 2000. 

The hour of reckoning came to these two soft-ball girl cricketers when they were drawn to the hard-ball cricket pool in Colombo organized by Gwen Herat and coached by Roshan Mahanama and Ruwan Kalpage. 

The winds under the wings of these up and coming crickets who will undoubtedly be 'capped' at the next Women's World Cup are the coaches Mrs. W.W. Jayatilleke and Capt. Palitha Attygalle of the tutorial staff of Haragama Maha Vidyalaya. 

James Bond, not tennis brought Amritraj fame

By Marisa de Silva
Vijay Amritraj, former top ranking Indian Tennis player cum UN messenger of peace, will be visiting a centre for displaced people to make donations, during his 4-day stay in Sri Lanka from July 17. 

Born and bred in Madras, his career record includes representing his country 17 consecutive years at the Wimbledon and participating in the Davis Cup for 20 years running. In his lifetime he has taken part in over 80 tournaments held in 40 countries.

Amritraj also served five terms from 1989-1994 as President of the Association of Tennis Professionals. He was the anchor and host of Wimbledon and other Grand Slam events coverage for ESPN Star Sports, since 1992.

An additional honour was recently added to his brilliant sports record, when Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, appointed him as a UN Messenger of Peace. This appointment is given to men and women world over, who excel in any field, varying from Arts to Sports and who wish to encourage aims enshrined by the UN Charter like, a world without war, respect for human rights, International Law and Social and Economic progress.

Other famous personalities cum Peace Messengers are: Mohamed Ali, Micheal Douglas and Luciano Pavorotti. At a press briefing Amritraj expressed his views on his visit to the Thambapanni Welfare Centre.

He said that, he was quite impressed with the standard of living offered there. He added that most of the inmates had their own little plots of cultivation grown in their backyards and that its main lack was electricity. Amritraj has suggested that they get a solar panel to meet this essential requirement.

He says that his main focus is on children and how sports can help them.

Sports can act as a healthy and effective means of releasing their stress and anxiety, he says.

When asked about political interference in sport, he said that in general, sports should be able to go on its own course without disturbance but, in an exceptional case, political interference cannot be helped. As for the extent of his popularity, he says that, he participated in thousands of tournaments in front of millions of people and not many people know him but he's taken part in one James Bond movie (Octopussy) and everyone knows him, he says laughingly.

Facelift for football in Galle District

By Bernie Wijesekera
Football, the poor man's sport was held in high esteem in the past in the Asian region. But sad to mention it has hit rock bottom, said the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Lakshman Kiriella, in an interview with The Sunday Times. 

Kiriella's vision is to bring about togetherness among all sports bodies under one umbrella islandwide - Schools (Education), the Federations and the Ministry of Sports. "Their objective is to develop the respective sports at grassroots level to help the rural schools. Due to petty politics, the main setback for its development, sports must not be confined to a few clubs and to the affluent schools. They have the resources and the respective OBAs to support them, he added. It had to be promoted islandwide, which includes North and East. This is the answer to many of the present problems. In turn it could help nation building. In the past the Education (Sports), the controlling bodies and the Sports Ministry hadn't a collective programme. 

A. "During my tenure I am going to bring about better co-ordination and work on a common programme, i.e., to make the schools the nurseries and give them all support. It has to be at Under-13, 15, 17 and Under-19. It's at school level that the children should be taught to indulge in sports without any divisions. There is no segregation in sport. During my school days, we mixed with friends from all walks of lives." 

Q. Are you aware that Galle has been one of the strongholds for football in Southern Province. The fisherfolk, the toddy tappers etc., indulged in football, some of them played at national level. 

Today the only ground available - the Esplanade is confined to cricket. Any comments. 

A. I agree. 

Q. How much of cricket is played here for a year. Where are the playing fields. In India and Pakistan there are open playing fields aplenty unlike here which is confined to a selected few. This is a great setback for development.

A. Cricket has all the facilities including stadiums and schools, too have their own grounds, but not the rural schools where there is immense hidden talent to be harnessed. I have instructed Manilal Fernando, the head of the Federation to find a suitable venue in Galle to build a ground for the footballers and the youth to indulge. This venue could be made use for rugby, too. This will become a reality shortly. It will not be confined to Galle alone. 

Imagine over 200 nations are playing soccer and the greatest crowd puller worldwide. While cricket is being played among ten nations and the ICC teams. A mass sports like football and other sports like track and field etc. haven't the same support to develop the skills of the rural youth. 

Football needs a face-lift to come on par at least among the Asian nations. Are you prepared to go to the North and East on a fact finding mission on your own. I am the Minister of Sports for the whole island and not for a specific region and must take up the challenge. 

Only last week I attended Under-13 schools football tournament in Anuradhapura where 700 schools participated and played over two months. Later it will go to the districts. 

I have told the schools section to find playing fields in their respective districts. 

No umpire is perfect

'Hawk eye' to replace umpires?

From a game played between Under Eleven Schoolboys to International Cricket umpiring decisions have always had its effects.

Gone are the days when the "Umpires word was law". Whatever the outcome to player or team, when the finger was raised, the journey back to the changing rooms was an absolute must.

In the last quarter of the twentieth century all that changed when winning trophies and earning money became accepted and inseparable from playing the game as gentlemen.

With passing time the pressure on the umpire has mounted to such an extent that the once supreme is now cajoled and cornered by all and sundry. Now the naked eye is not being trusted as modern technology forces its way into decision-making. Very soon the umpires' only duties could be to count the deliveries and call no balls and wides!!!

The latest innovation "Hawk-eye" was tried during the England-Pakistan Test series. Inventor Paul Hawkins says that technology already for umpires to carry miniature hand sets that can give LBW decisions on the spot.

In fact Hawk-eye is designed to judge LBW decisions re-creating the whole ground, as well as the ball, digitally. 

The system, it is claimed, can be calibrated to an accuracy of less than one millimetre. 

TV viewers will see a red line tracing the path of the ball onto the batsman's pad with the line continuing to predict the direction in which the ball would have gone. No technology is fool proof, but at this stage this seems to be more accurate than most.

The ICC expects to employ an experienced individual to oversee the training of umpires and fast-track them to international level. 

Who inherits this responsibility will have to work mighty fast to overtake the giant in modern technology.

"Hawk-eye" and such versions being used by various TV stations have not yet been accepted by the ICC's Cricket Committee headed by Sunil Gavaskar and included other former greats like Alan Border and Zaheer Abbas. 

They who have completed and succeeded at the highest level must have high respect for the men in white coat, even though there would have been many an occasion when they would have disagreed with them.

England's Peter Willey is amongst the top half-a-dozen of International Umpires, having played twenty six Test matches and five hundred and fifty nine first class games. He believes playing is easier than umpiring. In the recent interview he said, "Playing in a Test Match is a hell of a lot easier than umpiring one. Unless you have stood out there, you cannot know what it's like. 

There is a buzz, an adrenaline surge, because you have reached the top and are standing in the best games. But when you make a cock up - and we all do once in a while - you know it is being replayed time after time, then it can be hard to start fresh with a clear mind".

Willey goes on to say, "Some days every tricky decision seems to follow you. I used to worry about it a lot when I started but I'm more philosophical now. If I make a mistake, it's honest. My skin has got a lot thicker".

There is no doubt that the key to success is concentration. 

Every minute of the playing day, an umpire has to be totally focused. International Umpires now know they have an absolutely tough assignment. No umpire is perfect.

What they must be is to be consistent and then they can attain near perfection.


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