Foreign invasion with clubs at Digana
The Sri Lankan Airlines Annual Golf Classic has now been identified as the most glamorous competitive event in the Sri Lanka Golf Calendar. This competition attracting at least 6 dozen foreign players was inaugurated 7 years ago at the Victoria Golf Club at Digana where Tony Whitham controls the whole operation in masterly style.

I have had the distinct pleasure of being an invitee on these occasions and can vouch that Sri Lankan Airlines hospitality, prize awards and organisation skills are unmatchable. Victor Abeysekera and Manuela Motha worked like beavers to ensure successful and rewarding results for Sri Lankan Airlines.

Foreign Invasion
It is anticipated that atleast a century of foreigners from about 20 countries will eventually build up the foreign invasion and when they combine with the Sri Lankan rushing to register Digana will have atleast 20 dozen competitors rushing for participation.

Victoria Golf Club without any doubt one of the prettiest in our part of the world, with an international class course backed by the organising skills of the duo Tony Whitham and Jannine Weeratunga will match these demands admirably.

Sir Lankan Airlines renowned for lavish hospitality have padded their promotion to make participants and visiting spectators comfortable and happy. The Beer Garden by Carlsberg will add to the high spirits of joyous camaraderie in fellowship.

Star Attraction
The other attraction will be the absolutely gorgeous playing conditions. Lush fairways, challenging bunkers and extremely refreshing weather. First Class & Business Class Air Tickets to exotic destinations will be some of the awards and Mahaweli Reach the host Hotel will stretch its organising skills to provide the best in service and hospitality.

Attractive Deshini Abeywardene Sri Lankan Airlines Public Relations Manager is on the planning boards dovetailing all the arrangements with her immense experience and skill. "A tremendous and unforgettable weekend is promised with much to offer our visitors" is what Deshini has to say.

Be a mermaid says Sujatha Principal
"Win or lose come out of the pool smiling. That's what matters, said Julian Bolling", skipper of the Sri Lanka Olympic team in 2000 who was the chief guest at the inaugural swimming meet of Sujatha Vidyalaya, Nugegoda held at the Sanhinda Leisure Centre Swimming Pool in Nugegoda.

Principal Mrs. L.A.H. Ariyapperuma speaking on the occasion asked more girls to join the Sujatha Swimming Club. "Be a mermaid", she said adding: "Enjoy the water". The Guest of Honour was Mr. R.D.A. Zoysa.

Rathnavali House with 215 points emerged overall champions followed by Hemamali (107) and Swarnapali in third position.

Diloki Makalande and Bhagya Padmasiri were adjudged Junior Champions while Pooja Cooray was selected the Senior Champion. A water ballet presented by St. Bridget's Convent drew rounds of applause from all present. Following are the champion swimmers in the various age groups:

Under 11: Diloki Makalanda; Under 13: Bhagya Padmasiri; Under 15: Megara Lankachandra; Under17: Pooja Nilanjani Cooray ; Under 19: Nadeeka Dulani; Special Award for excellent swimming career: Anusha de Zoysa; Junior Champions: Diloki Makalanda and Bhagya Padmasiri; Senior Champion: Pooja Cooray. Final positions: 1. Rathnavali House (215), 2. Hemamali (107); 3. Swarnapali; 3. Kalyani.

Mercantile basketball commences tomorrow
The annual Mercantile Basketball Tournament will get underway tomorrow and is sheduled to end on November 15. The preliminary round games will get underway at the D.S.Senanayake College courts with the semi finals and final due to be played at the Police Field courts in Bambalapitiya.

This is the 23rd consecutive year that this tournament is being conducted by Mercantile Basketball Association and after a lapse of five years they have been successful in getting a sponsor with Delmege Forsyth Group coming forward to sponsor this tournament.

Twenty one teams have entered for the tournament and all the top players are billed to take part. The teams have been divided into four groups A,B, C and D with the preliminary round games of all the four groups to be conducted on a league basis and the first four teams will qualify to play in the final round in their respective groups.

The finals of the C and D group will be played on November 14 while the A and B finals will be played on November 15.

The teams: HNB 'A', Seylan Bank, Sampath Bank, Delmege Forsyth, Ranawana & Co, Union Assurance, Akbar Brothers, David Peiris Motor Co, Commercial Bank, HSBC 'A', Maritime Holdings, Ceylinco Group, HNB 'B', Airport and Aviation, Lanka Bell. HSBC 'B', Union Bank, Pramuka Bank, Bartleet Group, Eagles Insurance and Metropolitan Group.-MSA

It's the skills that matter not the language
Cricket is played with the bat and ball, not with the language. One must speak the language one understands best to express his opinion.

He has to be proud of his country and the language he speaks on and off the field. In recent times in some quarters they have been critical of some sportsmen unable to express their views properly in English, when they were interviewed before and and after a game. In the end they apparently become a laughing stock.

It's better to talk in ones own mother tongue, even with an interpreter as done by great sportsmen drawn worldwide - be it in Japan, China, France etc. Why be shy to talk in your mother tongue, asked a former first class cricketer, who led the Reid Avenue Club with distinction to win 'A' Div. honours. I belong to a minority community. I am a Sri Lankan and proud to speak Sinhala, he said.

Even Heads of State speak in their own language at international forums assisted by an interpreter. If a sportsman breaks a world record it's done with his skills and determination, but not with the language. Take our own Susanthika Jayasinghe, the rural athlete, who has done proud to the country in the international scene. She always prefers to speak in her mother tongue when interviewed with the assistance of her manager. Today, she may be able to speak a few words in English, but express her views in Sinhala. Language which has no barrier on and off the field .

It's the job that matters in the end. Some have even forgotten from where they started life. Apparently it's a common trend among some of the locals here.

Whilst on a cricket tour in Pakistan, I got the permission from the Pakistani Manager Brig. Nazir, to interview 'Rawalpindi Express', Shoaib Akthar. He said, Shoaib can't speak much English, but I will get an interpreter to assist him. Give Akthar the red cherry. He hurls it with venom (with his own mother tongue) to the opposing batsmen, who will be seen constantly running for shelter. He proved this in the recent Test against Australia at the P. Sara (Neutral ground) - four wickets in 11 balls. This is not confined to Akthar alone, there are many in the sub-continent.

They perform with their skills but not with an alien language. Apparently why are some of the locals trying to speak in English when they are not conversant with the language. One should be proud of the country and ones mother tongue. Fame, material gains and alien language will not take anywhere on the longer run, but what matters is your character. Everything is temporary in life. "Humility is the Wiseman's Rod". (BW)

Rover Pinpoints

How Crazy?
In two consecutive weeks two referees were assaulted at the Bogambara grounds in two football matches organised and conducted by the Kandy Football Association. Rover learns that all referees are deciding to pull out from blowing at matches due to the assault.

At long last
The Women's Cricket Association which is an affiliate of the World Women's Cricket Association is now duly recognized as the real one since the Minister decided not to recognize its rival Association which he said, is now defunct.

Out of turn
How is it that the authorities concerned are allowing a leading female athlete to talk out of turn and blame the officials for the lapses? Isn't there a contract where the athletes are bound not to hurl insults at the officials?

How True
The Sri Lanka Rugby team was humiliated when they finished eighth out of eight at the Asian Games, while in some matches being thrashed like in cricket scores with over centuries scored against them?

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