‘Court of Appeal’ bags Thai Pongal Cup
By M. Shamil Amit
Anurath Abeyratne's 'Court of Appeal' was victorious at the Thai Pongal race horse meet held at the Nuwara Eliya race course and bagged the Thai Pongal Cup sponsored by Master Divers. But the cynosure of all eyes was the horses of owner trainer Nigel Austin. Nigel had a field day when three horses 'Pretty Girl', 'Millenium Debutante' and 'Satin Streak' which he trains grabbed three of the six prizes on offer. Court of Appeal ridden by one of the top jockeys in Sri Lanka V. Mathialagan had a double winning the fifth race too. Jockey Ashok Kumar too won a double winning the first and third race.

Nigel owns two of the horses Pretty Girl and Satin Streak while the third horse Millenium Debutante was formerly owned by him has now changed hands with Roshan Motha purchasing the thoroughbred but is trained by Nigel. He has been one of the most successful owner trainer in the horse racing fraternity in Sri Lanka.
The Abeyratnes also won the fifth race on 'Orange King' and two other horses 'Singing Melody' and 'Sonali' came second and third in the race won by Millenium Debutante. Master Hasanga Jayaratne was the other successful winning owner of the days proceedings.

There was a large crowd present to witness the races which was organised and conducted by the Sri Lanka Turf Club. The next scheduled races are due to be held on February 2 which is the Independence Meet.

Results:(1) Sita Eliya Trophy for 1/2 Bred Horses in Class I- (5 Furlongs-Handicap) - 'Pretty Girl' Owned by Nigel Austin - Jockey -Ashok Kumar. 'Bold Venture' -Nigel Austin - R. Selvaraj. 'Titanic - Sridhar Selvaratnam - Arul Prasad. (2) Kelani Valley Trophy for Thorughbred Horses Class III - (5 Furlongs - Handicap) - 'Helen of Troy' - Hasanga Jayaratne - R. Siva Kumar. 'Nuclear Power' - Miss. Nishara Jayaratne - L. Ravi Kumar. 'Simply Inspiring' - Thiyagarajah & Monaro - Punitha Raj. (3) Ginganga Trophy for Thoroughbred Horses Class IV - (5 Furlongs- Handicap) 'Millenium Debutante' - Roshan Motha - Asok Kumar. 'Singing Melody' - Master Saveen Abeyratne - V. Mathialagan. 'Sonali' - Master Saveen Abeyratne - A. Christopher. (4) Thai Pongal Cup for Thoroughbred Horses in Class I - (7 Furlongs - Handicap) 'Court Appeal' - Anurath Abeyratne - V. Mathialagan. 'Libo Queen' - Gamini Kodituwakku - S.D. Mahes. 'Turn to Gold - Ashif Noohu - R. Razik. (5) Mahaweli Sikuru Trophy for Thoroughbred Horses Class II- (7 Furlongs - Handicap) 'Orange King' - Mrs. Malani Abeyratne - V. Mathialagan. 'Nicomadus' - Ashif Noohu - R. Razik. 'Savage' - Kumar Abeywardana - Selvaratnam. (6) 'Satin Streak' - Nigel Austin - S.D. Lalith. 'Tamana' - Nigel Austin - Asok Kumar. 'Flowra' - Sridharan Selvaratnam - Vijaya Anand.

Sri Lanka crush Singapore in the 5th Asian Cup Baseball Championship
The 5th Asian Baseball Cup Championship held in Bangkok, Thailand from the 9th of December -15th of December 2003, opened the eyes of the International Baseball Community, when the young Sri Lanka National team pulled a mammoth 15-4 win over Singapore to record Sri Lanka's first ever International win in a tournament of this standard.

Being the new entrant to this tournament, our team made Sri Lanka proud by putting up a spirited performance against strong National sides of China, Hongkong, Thailand and Pakistan.

This year’s tournament was attended by many top officials of the baseball federation of Asia, who were highly impressed by the skills displayed by the local lads. The current Sri Lanka team is well represented by players from around the country, mainly from schools such as Richmond and Mahinda from Galle, Kingswood from Kandy, Royal and D S Senanayake from Colombo.

The team is as follows: Mahendra Prasad - Captain, P Jayawardena - V. Captain, W. Somaratne, S. Kumarage, S. Jayaweera, S. Gunaratne, A. Darshana, N. Weerasinghe, B. Nandana, D.S.M. Silva, A. Pathiraja, T. Vithanage, H. Thilakaratne, N. Shashika, B. Suraweera, L. Illeperuma, R. Ekanayake, N. Bandara, Mr.K.Ueda- National Coach, I. Abeyratne - Coach, C . Jayasekera - Coach, Y.Hewage - Umpire, D.Pinto - Manager.

This team is coached by Mr Kazuhisa Ueda, who is a highy reputed coach in Japan. Mr. Ueda will provide voluntary services for the next two years with the involvement of JAICA.

Baseball was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1985 and since then has progressed steadily. At the moment 12 schools and 8 clubs are actively involved in the sport.
This tournament was a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to realise its true potential to develop baseball to the international standard in the near future.
The Sri Lanka Amateur Baseball/Softball Association is grateful for the generous contributions made by M/s. Captains Holdings, Junior George, Union Assurance, Expeditors and many individual donors, who made this tour a reality and Hiru FM for bringing live updates from Bangkok.

Lanka created history in 1996
By Shamseer Jaleel
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka hosted the 6th edition of the World Cup. Earlier in 1987 India and Pakistan Co-hosted the World Cup. In this World Cup 12 teams participated. The non-test playing nations were Kenya, U A E and Holland. After the group matches 4 teams from each group were selected for the quarter-finals for the first time in the history. In this year there were 30 matches at the qualifying stage, played over 21 days and lot of travelling for teams. Zimbabwe was the only test-playing nation, which could not secure a Quarter Final place.

Australia and West Indies cited security reasons and stayed away from their matches against Sri Lanka, which the home team got full points. In one of the semi final matches played at Calcutta between Sri Lanka and India, the match was abandoned due to crowd violence where bottles were thrown at Sri Lankan players who were fielding close to the boundary line. Correctly, the Match Referee, former West-Indies captain Clive Lloyd stopped the match. After the restart again the crowd behaved in the same manner after India were chasing the Lankan score of 251/8 off 50 overs.

When India was 120/8 the match was abandoned and victory was given to Sri Lanka who marched there way to the first World Cup final at Lahore in Pakistan. In the other Semi-Final Australia edged out the Windies by 5 runs and qualified to meet Sri Lanka in the Lahore final. The shocker came when the Kenya beat the Windies at Pune in India. Windies were shot out for a low 93 and the Kenyans knocked the required runs in a very few overs.

Sri Lanka created history by becoming the 3rd Asian nation to win the World Cup after India won in 1983 in England and Pakistan won in 1992 in Australia. But Sri Lanka became the first country to host, chase and win in the World cup history. Sri Lanka also scored the highest ever One Day score of 398 for 5 against Kenya in Kandy where Aravinda De Silva cracked a masterful knock of 145. South African Gary Kirsten cracked an unbeaten 188 against the U A E at Rawalpindi in Pakistan.

1st semi-final
Sri Lanka batting first scored 251-8 off 50 overs with half centuries from ever dependable Aravinda de Silva and Roshan Mahanama while Sanath Jaysuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana were out very cheaply. India in reply scored 120/8 when the match was abandoned for bad crowd behaviour.

2nd semi-final
In a thrilling 2nd Semi Final Australia defeated West Indies by 5 runs. Australia batting first scored 207-8 off 50 overs and in reply West Indies could only manage 202 all out.

So the centre stage was Gadaffi Stadium in Pakistan saw Sri Lanka and Australia battle it out for the 6th World Cup. The two most senior umpires stood in (Shepherd and Bucknor). Batting first Australia scored 241/7 off 50 overs with skipper Mark Taylor stroking a beautiful 74. In reply Sri Lanka scored 245/3 off 46.2 overs with ever dependable Arvinda De Silva scoring an unbeaten 107 and Asanka Gurusingha scoring 65 after in form openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana got out cheaply. Aravinda de Silva was named man of match for his wonderful century. Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Runatunga scored the winning run.

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