racing despite bad weather
Pradeep, Ravi, Nalin and Rohana dominate at Arena Cross,
By M. Shamil Amit
Pradeep Jayawardena and Ravi Mayadunne in the motor car category
and Nalin Perera and Rohana Jayaratne in the motor cycle category
excelled in the the first ever Army Arena Cross 2003 organized by
the Sri Lanka Army Sports Committee and conducted by the Motor Racing
Association that was held at the newly laid motor track in Embilipitiya
The new track
at Embilipitiya has been built on a land owned by the Army and had
taken them a period of nearly four months to clean the massive shrub
jungle and build the race track which was designed by Richard de
Zoysa, Mahen Hurulle and Lt Col Ravi Mayadunne. The track, paddocks
and the spectators enclosure is laid on a 40 acre plot. The track
in whole is 2.8 kilometres in length with a straight run of 500
metres and 80 foot width.
of this beautiful track was done by the trainee plant operators
of the Sri Lanka School of Military Engineering in Embilipitiya.
The new track gives the drivers plenty of opportunites in overtaking
their challengers and in time to come it will be one of the best
tracks for racing in Sri Lanka. This is the third track of this
sort that belongs to the Army, the other two being the Foxhill track
in Diyatalawa and the Saliyapura (Gajaba) track in Anuradhapura.
With rain hampering
the trials the previous day conditions underfoot were not possible
to get the motor races being held on schedule. Rains again in mid
afternoon made things more difficult for the organizers. The ground
was sticky which was one of the reasons that delayed the motor car
events for almost an hour.
But the spectators
never moved or did want to be denied of watching some top class
racing which were scheduled to be held. Come rain or sun they were
under their umbrellas waiting to see the top drivers in action.
A chance they had got for the first time in their home town. The
motor cycle events which were held prior to this saw former champion
Ananda Wedisinghe bid adieu to motor racing in style.
commencement of the only event he was participating in, which was
for Racing Bikes Upto 125cc he had announced his retirement from
full time racing and what a way to end the career which had spanned
nearly one and a half decades. He won the event in style with another
up and coming rider Gayan Sandaruwan who later met with a mishap
in another race coming second and another champion Nalin Perera
in third place.
But motor cross
specialist Nalin Perera who in fact had a fall in the previous event
made amends when he had a double for the day winning the Racing
Upto 250cc and the Racing Open event. Nalin had returned from Dubai
having participated in the Asian motor races a few days back.
Trail events were white washed by Rohana Jayaratne when he won all
the three events 125cc, 250cc and the Street Trail Open giving him
a triple. The event for Racing Upto 80cc (Under 16 years) was won
by Pasindu Peiris while Rehan Buultjens won the open category for
80cc. L/Cpl Ranjith Samaraweera won the special event for Army.
There was a race for the kids between 6-8 years which was won by
Shanuka Jayana followed by Shammi Perera and Tharindu Gamage.
In the motor
car events three drivers Upulwan Serasinghe, Lt Col Ravi Mayadunne
and Pradeep Jayawardena had a successful day winning two races each.
But the most impressive of the three was the double by Pradeep Jayawardena
in his Mitsubishi V. He has become a cool customer as he picks and
choses his events and wins his races with ease.
He first won
the event for cars 1600cc to 3500cc with Nalin D. Perera in second
and Dinesh Deheragoda in third. Dinesh had the disadvantage of being
placed last in the grid, as he had not taken part in the trials
that were held the previous day.
that he was unable to participate in the trials as the computer
wires gave way and it took the mechanics almost five to six hours
to repair the shortcomings. But he gave a fight in the open event
for cars putting his experience to full use when he came second
In this event
Pradeep won the MRA Challenge trophy which was on offer. Ace driver
Aravinda Premadasa was unfortunate as his car met with a mishap
and had to bow out. The most happiest participant of the day is
none other than Lt Col Ravi Mayadunne one of the individuals responsible
in designing and building the track.
He won both
his events with little fuss winning the petrol and diesel open class
event and the event for Group 'A' upto 1600c. Another driver to
win a double was Upulwan Serasinghe winning the Group 'N' Diesel
Cars pto 2000cc and the Mazda/Laser upto 1500cc. Veteran driver
Rohan de Silva too impressed winning the Group 'A' over 1150cc upto
The others to
win were Sasitha Gunawardena winning the Mini car event. Nihal Weerasinghe
the Group 'N' upto 1150cc. Mahesh Parakrama winning the Armed Forces
upto 1600cc. Dinesh Senanayake the Unmodified Petrol upto 2000cc.Rohan
Priyantha Ratnayake took the Unmodified Diesel upto 3500cc. Indu
Samarakoon won the Armed Formed Jeep and Truck event.
the Group 'A' upto 1150cc event. Ishraq Wahab the Group 'A' over
1150cc. Wasantha Madola the Jeep and Truck event. Duminda Wedisinghe
the Group 'M' 1150cc upto 1400cc event. Javed Wahab the Group 'N'
Honda 1600cc event and Nalin D. Perera the Group 'N' over 1600cc
upto 2000cc event.
Big day for Wanderers
India take on Australia in 8th World cup final
The picturesque Wanderers Cricket Stadium, one of the most beautiful
venues in the world is set to stage the eighth World Cup final today
when India take on the reigning champions Australia.
It is one of
the greatest happenings in the history of South Africa cricket.
Hosting the World Cup in SA is the result of an united effort on
the part of so many people. Of course the legendary Nelson Mandela,
set the ball rolling giving all support and encouragement.
It was a project
for a life-time, SA took up the challenge after their re-admission
to international cricket - the membership of world community in
1992 after Apartheid.
The Wanderers Stadium prepared years ahead had the markings for
staging this epoch making final. Rumours of attempts to sabotage
the holding of the final had spread among the organisers.
But Ali Bacher,
the executive Director of the 2003 cricket World Cup, when interviewed
by The Sunday Times during Sri Lanka's tour there in December 2002,
said that everything will go smoothly without let or hindrance.
Over 3000 volunteers
have been drafted. The government is backing us to the hilt. All
security measures have been taken and it is in the hands of Ron
Strydon, director Security of Nelson Mandela's personal security
The whole country
and people from all walks of life is supporting it. The entire Johannesburg
is under surveillance for the final. At the ground the M.3000 security
system is in attendance. Everyone has to go through it. No special
treatment will be given for anybody.
to the venue all arrangements at this venue was noted. Dr. Bacher
the former SA cricket captain and UCBSA chairman means business.
"People may doubt what he says, but they will believe what
you do," Ali, a man of few words, but adhere to this saying.
If SA cricket is something today during this short span of ten years,
thanks to his total commitment and support given by all cricket
He never took
the credit for himself, but said that several hands worked for the
right reasons. The Wanderers Stadium has got a new face-lift for
the final. It could accommodate 32,000 fans. Tickets were sold out
in July 2002. No crash landing whatsoever.
Even a rehearsal
was held at the Wanderers during one of the overs games against
Sri Lanka. The entire area was being barricaded. The S African team
thrashed Sri Lanka 4-1 in the one dayers and the strong Pakistan
team too suffered a similar debacle against the Proteas, which preceded
the WC. They had high hopes of coming to the last four, but surprisingly
their aspirations were shattered.
It proved that
cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Imagine neighbours
Kenya - a non Test playing nation being among the last four. Lanasia,
virtually is an Indian colony where Mahatma Gandhi spent most of
his time whilst in SA. It is predominantly a rich Indian business
colony. They will be there in their numbers to support them.
a hardened team sans some key players due to injury problems are
a professional outfit who have been playing to a plan. They have
the batting depth and bowlers who bowl skillfully.
maestro batsman Sachin Tendulkar is a blend of youth and experience.
They have the courage and young talent to match their opponents.
They have planned well ahead. The youth have been given that much
needed exposure. The likes of M. Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Nehra, Harbajhan
Singh, Zaheer Khan have proved their mettle under pressure.
No doubt the
Wanderers is one of the fastest pitches tailor made for fast bowlers.
But the Indians are quite adapted to the conditions-led by Sachin
Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dravid and Ganguly. They could make it really
hard for the Aussies.
For Bacher and for the 40 designated WC staffers it will be a project
for a lifetime to be remembered despite trials and tribulations.
Even an electronic scoreboard is installed there and a big screen
near the venue for those who could not enter the ground to watch
the final. -BW
Lanka team eyes the Bowl again at HK sevens
By Bernie Wijesekera
For Last year's Commonwealth Games rugby sevens tournament Sri Lanka
fielded a virtual schoolboy team due to various factors. For the
forthcoming Hong Kong Sevens to be held there from March 28 to 30.
The Lankan team has prepared well in advance with the future in
mind, said team manager Chaminda Rupasinghe in an interview with
the Sunday Times.
The squad was
practicing at Longden Place under coach Asanga Seneviratne. Both
Rupasinghe and Seneviratne have been handling this Sevens squad
since year 2000 after the Singer-SriLankan Airlines Inter-Clubs
Sevens organised by Kandy SC.
The team is skipper by Nalaka Weerakkody and has been training hard
for over a month and is in full trim. A lot of hard work has been
done to this effect. Weerakkody as captain has trimmed his frills
and is fully fit and is leading by example.
The team is
pitched in a tough Group E - along with S. Africa, Argentina and
S. Korea. "Our main objective is to at least win one match.
Both Asanga and I have instilled on the players the pride to play
for the right reasons and give of their best and take the game up
to the surface," said Rupasinghe.
game has hit a new low. Sri Lanka has made a name in the shorter
game and was held in high esteem in the past. Sri Lanka won the
Bowl at the Hong Kong Sevens in 1984 under the able leadership of
Expenses for the tournament are all found by the International Rugby
Board-including air fares.
Last year England
won the Cup. "This will be the last assignment with the Rugby
Union as officials for Seneviratne and Rupasinghe. They will relinquish
office once they return," added Rupasinghe. When asked for
the reasons for leaving the Union after the Hong Kong Sevens tournament
Rupasinghe said that it's time to spend some time with their families.
Further Rupasinghe has been appointed 'Director of Rugby' at S.
Thomas' by Warden David Ponniah since January 2003.
to give something back to the school which helped me to go places
in life", said Rupasinghe. About the Sri Lanka Sevens team
Rupasinghe said the team has been motivated. They have abundant
Sevens knowledge and they have some strongly built, hard runners.
The likes of Indrajit Bandaranayake, Radhika Hettiarachchi, Sajith
Mallikarachchi, skipper Nalaka Weerakkody and Asanga Rodrigo who
could breach any defence with their zig-zag running.
It is a blend
of youth and experience. There is a schoolboy from St. Anthony's
Kandy in Mahes Liyanage. Hopefully, if the team shows application
and commitment Sri Lanka will be striving to be concerned in the
Bowl competition and break the 18-year-old drought. A good performance
is long overdue.
In 1984 the
team had players like Saman Jayasinghe, Shan Perera, Nalin de Silva
(the present Secretary of SLRFU), Chula Dharmadasa, Chandana Abeygunawardena,
Hubert Ryan, Len Silva, Rohantha Peiris, and was coached by Jeff
Ratnam. They created rugby history at the Hong Kong Sevens for the
Asia is assured to be staged more often. Quite a number of international
Sevens tournaments are staged in the region. Before long there may
be another addition - The Singer-SriLankan Airlines Club Sevens
tournament to be orgaised by Kandy SC, which is quite popular since
The tour party:
Nalaka Weerakkody, I. Bandaranayake, R. Hettiarachchi, D. Pushpakumara,
C. Withanage, Mahes Liyanage , Lakala Perera, Lalindra Rodrigo,
Sithara Fernando, Sumith Jayasinghe and Asanga Rodgiro. The team
leaves for Hong Kong on March 25.