Province runaway winners
By Channaka de Silva reporting from Matara
Western Province emerged champions of the 28th National Sports Festival
as expected, as the four-day sporting showpiece ended here at the
Uyanwatte Stadium last evening with a spectacular closing ceremony.
Western Province were the runway winners as usualclaiming a gold
medal haul of 72 and a total of 166 medals. North Western Province
were the runners up with 26 golds while Central Province finished
third with 20 golds.
created a record of sorts when she was adjudged the best athlete
of the meet for the eighth year. Kulawansa-Fonseka who represented
the North western Province won the women's 100 metres Hurdles. Best
male athlete was W.M.R.Weerakkody of Sabaragamuwa Province who won
the long jump.
athletic events Jani Chathurangi Silva of North Western Province
snatched a sensational win in the 100 metres sprint over controversial
national sprinter Anoma Suriyarachchi.
Silva did not
have a good start but made a remarkable recovery to finish with
a timing of 12.20 seconds to relegate the much talked about Suriyarachchi
to second place. Suriyarachchi's time was 12.28. Suriyarachchi was
in the centre of a controversy just prior to the recent Commonwealth
Games when she challenged the athletic authorities in the Human
Rights Commission after she was dropped from the national 4X100
metres relay team and gained a free ride to Manchester. There were
six other relay runners including reserves when Suriyarachchi was
picked to the team.
selectors held another controversial selection trial to pick the
relay team for the Asian Athletic championships, which many of the
top sprinters boycotted saying it is a plot to include Suriyarachchi
in the team.
was even hailed by Susanthika Jayasinghe as the best in the next
generation of Sri Lanka's sprinters, but Silva yesterday proved
otherwise. Athletes who won medals at the recently held Asian Athletic
Championships, their present coaches and their first coaches were
awarded cash prizes at yesterday's festival closing ceremony.
Among the athletes
were Susanthika Jayasinghe (100, 200 Gold), Sugath Tillekaratne
(400 Bronze, 4X400 Gold), Ranga Wimalawansa (4X400 Gold), Prasanna
Amarasekara (4X400 Gold), Rohan Pradeep Kumara (4X400 Gold), Sriyani
Kulawansa (100 Metres Hurdles silver), Damayanthi Darsha (4X400
Bronze), Swaranamali Edirisinghe (4X400 Bronze), Menaka Wickremasinghe
(4X400 Bronze), K.L.L.Gunawardena (4X400 Bronze).
won the biggest cash award of Rs. 750,000, while Sriyani Kulawansa
and Sugath Tillekearatne won Rs. 250,000 each. Western Province
also won Overall titles in athletics, Volleyball (Men), Netball,
Elle (Men), Kabaddi (men),
Cricket (Women), Swimming (Men and Women), Gymnastics (Men and Women),
Badminton (Men), Table Tennis (Men), Wrestling, Judo (Men), Karate
(Men), Weightlifting (Men and women), Athletics (Men). They also
won Overall Team Championships titles for Men and Women.
Women's Triple Jump : 1. A.A.D. Dinesha (Central) 12.09m,
2. Dinesha Kumari Hemachandra (Southern) 11.78m, 3. Chathurika Udayangani
Throw : 1. Anne Maheshi Silva (Western) 51.97m, 2. Nadeeka Lakmali
(Southern) 46.48m, 3. Ridman Fernando (Western) 43.96m
metres Hurdles : 1. Sriyani Kulawansa Fonseka (North Western)
14.04, 2. Inoka Umayani (North western) 15.59, 3. Lakshika Maduwanthi
metres Hurdles : 1. V.G.N. Tharanga (Southern) 15.06, 2. Indika
Kumara de Silva (Western) 15.21, 3. T.M. Nawagamuwa (North Western)
metres : 1. Damayanthi Darsha (Western) 56.87, 2. Mangala Priyadarshani
(Southern) 58.92, 3. K.L.L. Gunawardena (Central) 59.24
metres : 1. Prasanna Amarasekara (Uva) 48.13, 2. I.M.R. Pushpa
Kumara (Norh Western) 48.74, 3. P.W.G.N. Pushpakumara (Central)
metres : 1. Jani Chaturangi Silva (North Western) 12.20, 2.
Anoma Suriyarachchi (Southern) 12.28, 3. Pramila Priyadarshani (Western)
blood to Sri Lanka
Will Sanath Jayasuirya play? Will Sri Lanka be able to maintain
the form of the Morocco Cup? will the unpredictable Pakistani's
be able to shake off the poor form in Morocco and Nairobi? All those
questions were answered a few hours after sunset at the Premadasa
Stadium last Thursday.
some discomfort Jayasuriya, produced his best. In Morocco he was
in superb touch. The feet moved with ballerina effect, the concentration
was rock solid, selection of strokes was near perfect - you couldn't
ask for more. An injured, loss of practice and a physical training
can so often put all that into disarray.
Jayasuriya demonstrated his mental and inner strength. That toughness
is required to succeed at t he highest level and to be able to overcome
all obstacles. The captain was able to slip into top gear almost
from the momen t he made first touch until he completed piecing
together a master craftman's days work.
of Aravinda de Silva was immeasurable. He too continued from where
he left in the last innings. Shoiab Akthar and Sahid Afridi attempted
to rattle his concentration. It was a rare sight to see de Silva
drawn into words - with Afridi. The composure was regained almost
instantly and he went about his task showly but steadily decimating
the Pakistan attack.
the first hours play was completed Pakistan had lost their way.
At 17 for 3 they had dug themselves into a big hole. With Saeed
Anwar not able to time his strokes and the bowlers not giving much
away, the Pakistani's were forced with a daunting task.
was at his best . His miserly bowling cost just 27 runs in ten overs
for one wicket. Spin wizard Muralitharan did even better and was
in fact the best claiming 3 for 22 off his allotted ten overs. Dilhara
Fernando and Pulasthi Gunaratne also chimed in with five wickets
collectively and Younis's men could muster only 200 runs.
The pitch was
good, although occasionally some ball kept somewhat low. Pakistan
relied on four pacies. That was not helpful as the ball came onto
the bat nicely for the batters to play strokes. Afridi and Shoaib
Malik are not good enough to trouble batsmen in the calibre of Jayasuriya
and de Silva - players with class and tons of experience.
When Sri Lanka
had reached the half way mark of their innings in terms of overs
the writing was very much on the wall. Both Jayasuirya and de Silva
seemd hell bent on seeing it through to the end. They took no chances,
as they did not have to . In the end it was a very handsome victory.
performance of the home team was heartening. They did not come up
with their best fielding performance. That they will be aware of
and work towards reaching perfection.
questions on the minds have had the answers. There is one minor
hurdle to clear in this competition, to reach the semi finals, in
the form of Holland. Who will be the opponents ? That should be
known by this evening.
Once again the 4 Club plus Putter Competition organized and sponsored
by the Hong Kong Bank at the Ridgeways of the Royal Colombo Golf
Club was an outstanding fun filled success.
21 flights of
5 each took off to a shot gun start from the 18 tees with the tees
on the long holes taking 2 flights each. They were shot off at 7
a.m. with a few participants knock-kneed after the hectic party
the previous night. Most were quite comfortable off the tee but
the choice for the 2nd shot invariably an approach shot was always
tricky. Ajanta Mylvaganam, Ananda Jayasekera, Norman Chandraratne,
Shirley de Silva and Padmasiri Dias revelled in the bunkers.
Anel de Silva,
fresh from a busman's holiday regained form quickly to smash his
way to a praiseworthy 38 points and a handsome HSBC Trophy in the
" A" Division. Arjun Fernando, the elegant left hander
came a great 2nd beaten by a slender 1 point.
Standing tall and stalking the course Haris Serasinghe was a worthy
winner in the " B" Division beating Suranjan de Silva
with a better back nine. Both scored 36 points each.
In the "C" Division there was an absolute miracle. Dasarath
Hettiarachchi carrying a massive gut was identified as our absolute
raw rookie. He was given 28 strokes to fool around with and quite
unknown to him the bogeys were coming in with the occasional par
and at the end of the forenoon the man was stunned stiff with 41
points and a handsome HSBC Trophy for a performance identified as
the best. It took a few shots of Famous Grouse to loosen the man
and make him speak. A great personality loaded with charm he was
the most popular winner. Joseph Kenny was sailing superbly until
he encountered turbulence, played a few rough shots and then found
himself left behind.
Willie Barsenbach has spread like hell but he appears comfortable.
An ex-champion he still shows class and distinction when he is round
the greens. In impeccable style he chipped and putted to win the
Seniors with 36 points beating K.K.U. Perera and his Viennese waltz
swing who settled on 35 points.
In the Ladies
Division once again Usha de Silva was outstanding. She collected
40 points at the end of the day, heaps better than the men and just
one behind the overall winner. She beamed on the way to collect
her award amidst a rousing round of applause.
Sangani was most unfortunate to get beaten by one point. She appeared
to shrink away from the bash of great applause she received.
Petite Pat Walking show struck an impeccable tee shot on the 9th
to settle close to the pin and collect a special HSBC award. P.B.
Balaratnarajah a winner in this section on most occasions registered
another victory with a stunning tee shot to be identified as the
best and closest to the pin. A wag whispered that he will probably
be entitled to an interest free overdraft. The man is loaded and
will choose a trophy instead.
was absolutely impressive with a smashing drive of 306 yds. It's
a long time since anybody has hit the 300 mark and he was given
a great reception at the award ceremony.