Sri Lanka 7s is one of the best in Asia - Leslie
By Bernie Wijesekera
It was three days of fascinating rugby. One of the best I've seen
in my career said, former All Blacks rugby captain Andy Leslie,
who led the Black Caps from 1974 to '76.
Andy was interviewed
by The Sunday Times after the great happening. I have played and
seen lot of rugby worldwide, but this little one staged in the historic
Hill Capital of Sri Lanka, is one of the best I've seen in Asia,
amid pomp and pageantry. It was a rare sight - the march past with
elephants on parade. The organisers have done a tremendous job and
left no stone unturned (all facilities for the participating nations
and the fans).
It was good
7s rugby dished out for all to enjoy. This tournament has come to
stay and should gain IRB recognition before long Andy said. Even
the Lankan team played well though beaten by the sleek running Kenyans
in the semi-finals. Jamie Scott ARFUS Secretary General, IRB Council
Rep. - Asia who was here to make his observations opined the same
Lankan Airlines 7s deserves recognition. Imagine a club like Kandy
SC organising a 7s tournament of this magnitude. It's good for the
progress of the game. It's progressing fast in Asia. A country like
Khazagazthan - a part of the Russian Republic is developing fast.
All had the development gave an opportunity of staging a qualifying
match to 92 nations in 2002 - including Sri Lanka. In 1987 only
16 countries participated.
This is part
of the IRB regional programme, Scott said. Rugby has a great following
here. The big crowd proved this. The fans need good, fast and open
rugby to watch. This 7s tournament dished out to the fullest. The
hotels here were packed to capacity for this 4th annual contest.
With harmony prevailing at present, there should be more nations
taking part. All the nations when contacted were too keen to come
here regularly. Of course the sponsors Singer-Sri Lankan Airlines
and Connaissance Group (Le Kandyan) and other sponsors back to the
The Lankan 7s
team despite limited exposure did reasonably well to enter the semi-finals
for the second successive year. The Lankans don't enjoy much facilities
unlike some of the affluent nations. Regular nutrition to them give
that much needed vim and vigour. Lankans have the skills and the
grit. But lacked the mental toughness and the lasting power to counter
This need proper
planning and continuity for the players to indulge with confidence.
Despite all this the 'the little Lankans' did well to win against
Belgium and the youth team South Korea, S.K. sans some of their
seniors, but they were physically strong and played professional
rugby. Sri Lanka lost the services of hard-running Sanjeewa Jayasinghe,
who is being sidelined due to a serious ankle injury. Had Jayasinghe
played he could have matched the fast running Kenyans. Some of the
Kenyans could be compared to the running ability of Olympic champion,
It was their
sheer speed that bemused the Lankans in the semis. Imagine Sri Lanka
beat Kenya in the Dubai 7s. Since then they have improved leaps
and bounds. The local controlling body should take note of that
"One Swallow does not make a Summer".
played pretty well and was most outstanding. Coming in as a substitute
in place of Puspakumara scored the winning try at the nick of time
to beat S. Korea 17-14 to enter the semis. Diminutive Lakala Perera,
impressed with his sleek running, while dusky Radhika Hettiarachchi
and everygreen Indrajith Bandaranayake (despite nursing an injury)
played his heart out. It was a good team effort all round.
Seneviratne, Manager Chaminda Rupasinghe and trainer P.G. Gunawardena
should be commended for a dedicated job. The Lankans were in no
way disgraced in the end.
No doubt the
sponsors will assist if there is total commitment, but not for social
rugby. The media will give its fullest support to achieve its objective.
In this three-day fiesta the organisers did well for the media facilities,
with Hafiz Marikar (a sports Cor). in attendance.
Jayamaha top muscleman
Kapila Jayamaha, a soft spoken, powerfully-built 19-year-old student
from Batuwatte MV, Batuwatte carried away the Mr. YMCA Body Building
title. Prasad Buddhika built like a young Tarzan and an old boy
of President's College, Maharagama was adjudged the Best Poser.
They were the top two at YMCA Protinex Body Building Championships.
The event was organised by the Central YMCA Colombo.
The event brought
together a host of past and present body builders Amongst them was
former Mr. Sri Lanka, Pathmasiri Perera who represented Sri Lanka
and the Mr. Asia and Mr. Universe contests and P.A.Karunaratne who
is the consultant and chief instructor of the YMCA Physical Culture
Section. Mr. Maurice Heyzer, a former Chairman of the YMCA and now
a key figure in the Nugegoda YMCA was another prominent figure.
produced high calibre fare interlaced with music and gymnastics
displayed by YMCA students trained by Thushara Indika. More than
the muscle show itself the courtesy extended by the Central YMCA
was heart warming.
In this context
the YMCA Organising Committee consisting of P.A.Karunaratne, Terence
Samuel, Samaranayake, Sunil Jayaratne, Chandrasena. Shane Block
and Jayasundare deserve a big bouquet.
Mr. Pathmasiri Perera, the older a muscleman gets he should train
more regularly with light weights. He pointed out that after 50
years of age it is best that those training with weights should
eat less. The chief guest was Dharshana Senerath, Consumer Product
Manager, Astron Limited.
win 'The Colombo Ashes'
A friendly cricket encounter between British and Australian High
Commission staff teams in Colombo ended with the British team winning
the match. The match was recently played at the SSC grounds and
was titled "The Colombo Ashes".
batted first and were able to manage a respectable score of 130
all out. In reply the British team made 134 for 3 wickets in just
24 overs out of the allocated 35.
The score card
for the British highlighted the performance of Mark Mudalige and
David Samuel who made 37 and 58 respectively. In the bowling department
for the British Mahendra Ratnaweera and Shaun Mudalige made noteworthy
raises its ugly head again
Money is the cause of all evil. The game of cricket started in the
meadows of England has spread its wings worldwide for all to enjoy.
It is being played in all its true traditions. But sad to mention
at present it has been polluted by few individuals due to lust and
greed (material gains) at the expense of the game.
To win at all
cost - apparently ball tampering, bowling with a bent-arm action
has caused unwarranted problems to the ICC (the governing body)
put aside promoting and developing the game, but has to probe into
these matters. It has further deteriorated apparently due to match-fixing
in some quarters pertaining to 'black money'.
acts has ruined the very spirit of the game. Even in the on-going
ICC Championship staged here questions were raised in the opening
game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan for alleged incidents (ball
tampering and the batting of the Pakistani team).
Mark Harrison would not comment. There was no untoward incident.
The matter is finished in a statement made by the ICC to Pakistan
manager Yawar Saeed.
It never happened
in the past when the game was played according to its traditions.
The players played within the laws and its true traditions. They
lived with dignity and honour until the last breath. A good example
is the late Sir Don Bradman who led a simple life for others to
went in search of money or cheap publicity. If he made any material
gains it was by honest means. In turn ploughed back for the development
of the game at grassroots level. Players or otherwise money can't
give a peace of mind or everlasting happiness. Everything is temporary.
One must try to live with what he has and be happy with it rather
than tarnishing the game and his own image.
is good for the sportsmen to lead a comfortable life and establish
themselves for a better future in later life. They deserve it for
their toiling. Then they have something to fall back.
world recalls the little 'Bowral Boy' Don Bradman from Australia,
who learnt the game from his backyard. Without doubt an All-Time
Wake up Call
It's a wake up call for all who are playing cricket to play for
the right reasons and look to the future of the game rather than
their own needs, which is one of the reasons why there has been
a downfall in the game at present times, said Steve Waugh, the Aussie
captain, in his new book celebrating Don's 90th birthday.
away on February 25, 2001. The entire cricketing world mourned his
passing away. Two of the present greats in the game who are playing
in the on-going ICC Trophy Championship - Sachin Tendulkar, the
maestro from India and Shane Warne, Australia's spin wizard, were
both fortunate to attend his 90th birthday at his residence, in
This is what
Tendulkar said, after meeting him on his b'day August 27 in 1998,
'Recalling his meeting with Sir Don. It was a dream come true. Not
many had the opportunity to meet him and I was very fortunate to
do so. He was a great man and I will never forget that experience
for the rest of my life.
he climbed the cricketing ladder via an secalator has not lost his
head nor where he started his life today he is on a record-breaking
run, but no one could touch Sir Don's feats, Tendulkar said, is
one of the finest gentlemen on and off the field - a symbol for
the youngsters to follow.
now more matured unlike in the past acts with responsibility. He
has a young family to look after. Past is forgotten. He, too like
Tendulkar must have learnt much what life is all about after meeting
Sir Don at his 90th b'day. Shane too knows that records are secondary,
but character is what matters in the end.
to Steve Waugh he has learnt a lot from him like his teammates.
Steve's human qualities very well known away from home - in India
to overcome suffering especially the girls leprosy home. Ice-cool
Steve, has done much for Australia to reign supreme in both formulas
where Ricky Ponting, the present captain playing in his shade in
continuing his good work. The Aussies play hard on the field but
their hearts melt off the field. The outcome is forgotten.