Rajitha Guruge of S.Thomas' College Mount Lavinia, won the Mens badminton singles event beating U.D.R.P Kumara 18/13, 5/15, 17/14 in the 1997 Western Province Open Badminton Championships which was concluded at S.Thomas' College Indoor Stadium at Mount Lavinia.
Rajitha Guruge who is an aggressive player is expected to clinch the National title in the near future.
Rajitha Guruge's worthy opponent Kumara who was seeded number one was adjudged Most Improved Player in 1997 at the National Championships last month could not cope up with the brilliant overall play of Rajitha.
Chandrika de Silva won the womens singles title beating Dilhani de Silva 11/2, 11/3.
Sanath Bandaranayake, Operations Manager of Commercial Bank of Ceylon Ltd. was the Chief Guest.
Mens Singles- Rajitha Guruge beat H. Kumara 18/13, 5/15, 17/14.
Mens Doubles- Niroshan Wijekoon and Anuraji de Silva beat Rajitha Guruge & U. R. D. P. Kumara 15/8, 15/10.
Womens Singles - Chandrika de Silva beat Dilhani de Silva 11/2, 11/3.
Womens Doubles - Chandrika de Silva and Inoka Rohini beat Dilhani Silva and Pamisha Nishanthi 15/5, 15/5.
Veteran's Singles (Mens) - K. D. Nallathamby beat Hiran Fernando - walk over
Veterans Doubles (Mens) - K. D. Nalathamby and Ajith Wijesinghe beat K. D. Gunaratne and T. N. De Silva.
The first 15 minutes in the Asian region World Cup qualifying round match against Malaysia tended to be sluggish, but when the boys settled down and took control, the outcome was never in doubt. Sri Lanka beat Malaysia by 37-15 in a keen contest, said Ajith Abeyratne, the Associate coach to The Sunday Times, on his return after this successful mission.
Abeyratne, along with national rugby coach Ana Saranapala, well supported by the Rugby Union headed by Dr. Maiya Gunasekera gave the team all the encouragment with men and materials, to achieve this victory.
Ajith Abeyratne, himself a tough forward playing as No. 8 for the country and for the CR & FC, with internationally famed Priyantha Ekanayake leading from the front with spirited team effort, did the country proud.
According to Abeyratne, the next tie against Taiwan is bound to be a tough hurdle to overcome. It will be played in Bangkok in January. Sri Lanka was to host this match, but due to security reasons the venue has been changed by the World Controlling Body. The World Rugby Union, will meet most of expenses, including airfare he added.
Q - Did you notice any shortfalls after this match against Malaysia?
A - Nothing extraordinary. But the lads must improve their fitness 30 percent more before the match against Taiwan to hold them on an even keel. This is not impossible as the boys are now playing as one unit and also indulging in cohesive rugby and determined to win he added.
The Sri Lanka forwards gave an excellent performance against the gritty Malaysians. It was no cake walk, but eventually they were the ones, who put the icing on the cake, Ajith said.
Q - Any outstanding players on the field?
A - Well, the entire back-division co-ordinated well. But it will be failing in my duty if I don't mention some of the forwards, who played their hearts out when the Malaysians were probing the line in the last ten minutes. Players like Shantha Rohana, Haris Omar, Champaka Nishantha, Suranga Amerasinghe, Asoka Jayasena, etc. Jayasena got injured in the second half. Alfred Hensman, who replaced him, was also in the thick.
Q - What about the three quarters?
A - They played to a pattern sans much frills. Centres Harin Perera and Lasantha Wijesuriya paired off well. Both are hard runners and gave of their best.
The squad will be continuing its training and I am confident that the lads with a disciplined approach are bound to maintain the same rhythm against Taiwan on January 17, in Bangkok too, to further uplift the sport in the region, Abeyratne stated. (B. W.)
Samitha Manju Ranaweera (Tennis) has been picked as the Most Outstanding Sportsman for the year 1997 of Ananda College. He will receive this award at the 'Colours Nite' to be held on December 9 at the Kularatne Hall at 5.00 p.m.
The Ananda Padma Award winners are P. Eranga Weerasinghe, C. D. Ratnayake (Basketball), Indika Konara, Rajitha Basnayake (Cricket), Samitha Manju Ranaweera (Tennis) and Aroshana Fernando (Rugby).
The Deputy Minister of Education and Higher Education, Vishwa Warnapala will be the Chief Guest and give away the awards.
Ananda has had a successful season and emerged champions in:
Athletics - Colombo South overall champions, Colombo South relay champions, Colombo Zonal overall champions, Colombo Zonal relay champions, Western Province overall champions, Western Province relay champions,
Sri Lanka Schools Sir John Tarbat Senior champions, Sri Lanka Schools Sir John Tarbat Relay champions, National Schools relay under 19 boys champions, National schools relay carnival overall champions.
BADMINTON Under 14 all island inter schools champions.
Cricket - Under 15 all island A division champions.
Gymnastics - All Island champions. National Schools champions, Junior National champions, Under 17 all island champions, Under 17 National schools champions.
HOCKEY- Under 17 Colombo schools champions.
Rugger - Winners of the William Gopallawa award.
Tennis - Sri Lanka Public Schools under 20 champions.
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