1st February 1998

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Zaman wins junior title


“Brainwashing” took Lankan cricketers to the top - Sobers

By Lawrence Machado

Dubai: For Sir Garfield Sobers, what has taken place in Sri Lankan cricket is the result of “brainwashing” he had begun as the first coach of the national team.

The greatest all-rounder the world has seen is proud of what the Sri Lankans have achieved since he was in charge, classing Aravinda de Silva as a top batsman that youngsters can learn from.

However, the master of the googly and chinaman, also tossed up some flippers which could be read either way, depending which way you look at his comments.

Sir Gary was in transit at Dubai International Airport after watching the Bangladesh Independence Cup tournament but still had time to speak about matters close to his heart, specially the West Indies team and the danger of one-day cricket eclipsing Tests.

Regarding the Sri Lankans, Sir Gary had commented during his last visit to the UAE some years ago, that the islanders will never be world beaters.

Reminded of that statement, which was turned upside down by the Lankans two years ago, he replied: “When I first took over (in the early eighties), I found that they had brilliant techniques but had to be brainwashed about certain things like fast bowling.”

“They had to be prepared mentally and that was going to be the hardest part,” said Sir Gary, who wears his greatness easily, unlike several modern-day cricketers, who are now called great without actually achieving it.

Sir Gary was the first coach of the Sri Lankan team after it achieved Test status in 1981 and this writer covered his arrival to Colombo.

He is also credited with predicting that a youngster named. Arjuna Ranatunga, who played in the historic first Test against England at the Sara Stadium, would be a world star.

Meanwhile, Sir Gary also said that one-day cricket should not be taken seriously and should be regarded as mere entertainment and not allowed to supercede Test cricket. For Sir Gary, there is nothing sillier than limited over cricket. “That is only entertainment,” is Sir Gary’s acid comment to what is the most popular version of cricket in the world.

The very popularity of the game frightens the life out of the great West Indian, who does not look his 61 years. One-day cricket is only entertainment though the administrators should be careful it does not take over from Test cricket. Teams, specially in the Asia area, with limited class cricketers, can get by in one-day cricket unlike in Tests where it is more difficult. This is what is frightening,” he said.

By mentioning the Asian teams, Sir Gary was probably hinting at Sri Lanka’s world champion status in light of their dismal Test form. However, there was no time to clarify that remark as he was whisked away to catch his London flight.

Talking about the serious decline of West Indies cricket, Sir Gary said that the selectors have to discard some of their older players and blood new ones.

“The West Indies have to rebuild if they are to get back to their winning ways, and the main objective is to try and bring in new players,” said Sir Gary. “People say we don’t have any new players but we have to go and find them,” said the Barbado’s native.

The West Indian, considered the greatest all-rounder in the sport, said, however, that he did not mean that veteran pacemen Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh - two of the finest fast bowlers in the world today should be dumped in favour of new players. “Ambrose and Walsh will anyway be out in a few years time though Walsh is still bowling well. I mean players like Phil Simmons should be phrased out.”

The West Indies, who were Test and one-day kings for nearly 15 years, are now in the doldrums with team spirit absent, several players unable to connect with the public as in the past.

“No team can stay at the top forever. The West Indies decline is somewhat expeced beacause all countries, including England and Australia, go through this cycle. And always our later teams will be compared to the golden era when we reigned in the world.

“However, the selectors should have brought in new players even when we were winning though it goes against the idea of not changing a winning combination.

“When stars like Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Jeff Dujon, Malcolm Marshall all left about the same time, it was difficult to replace them. Inter-island politics, which was missing earlier, is creeping back in the West Indies and could be a possible reason (for the decline).”

Recalling about the golden age of West Indian cricket, Sir Gary said: “We were very lucky that we were able to produce at least seven extraordinary bowlers who bowled at express speeds. Some countries have been unable to produce even one good fast bowler while Pakistan has been fortunate in Sarfraz, Imran, Wasim and Waqar.”

Sir Gary, who was also worried that the huge money deals that some players make might make them reluctant to retire, said that it is good that countries like the UAE and Bangladesh host top tournaments.

“This will help the youngsters to learn the right techniques from such players like the Waughs, Tendulkar, Lara, de Silva, Anwar. Cricket can only be learnt by watching,” he said.

Sir Gary was received at the Dubai International Airport by Vikram Kaul, a former Indian first class cricketer and Leeroy Lindsay, an ex-West Indian state player. The two senior hands at the Dubai Cricket Council had both vivid memories of their first meeting with Sir Gary, with Kaul - first cousin to the Gandhi family - recalling how thrilled he had been to greet the West Indian great when he played in Kanpur around 30 years ago.

Lions in UAE

The Lankan Lions, one of the premier Cricket teams in the UAE, are unbeaten in the annual floodlit tournament at the Sharjah Stadium. The defending champions have been creaming all their league opponents, including those from Oman, as they go for their third title. The Lions include UAE’s top all-rounder Johanne Samarasekera, Heshan de Silva, Chintaka de Mel, Tuan Ahamath and Shane Fernando.

Susanthika takes Duncan White Award for 3rd time

Susanthika Jayasinghe will be receiving the Duncan White Award for the third consecutive time on March 1, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo 7 at 6 p.m.

Associated with the Duncan White Award is the 1997 Eddie Gray Trophy for the Most Outstanding Boxer of the year, presented by Eddie Gray, now resident in Melbourne, Australia. This award is made independently and on exclusive recommendation of the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA).

Susanthika is lying in 5th position in the 1997 World Women’s list with Marion Jones (US), 21.76 seconds, Marlene Ottey (Jamaica) 22.06 seonds, Z. Pintusevich (Ukraine), M. Gainsford-Taylor (Australia) 22.23 seconds, J. Cuthbert (Jamaica) 22.48 seconds, J. Campbell (Jamaica) 22.61 seconds, M. Perec (France) 22.47 seconds.

The criteria for selection of the 1997 Duncan White Award is precise and straightforward. Since a superior performance at an International Competition of any Olympic Sport has been recognized; such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian games, held in their established frequency, a superior performance/s at other International Competition is/are also recognized, eg: the annual IAAF World Championships for Track & Field, FINA World Championships for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, FIFA World Cup, AIB Championships for Boxing etc..

1. The 1997 IAAF World Championships held in Athens, Greece, August 2-10, 1997, has been taken as such other international competition and an athlete (as defined by the Foundation) who would achieve a superior performance, be placed in the Semi-Finals or better, the Award is automatically made as provided in the rules, unless at a subordinated Championship/s an athlete established a superior performance which the Foundation would take into consideration, has not taken place by the end of December 31, 1997.

2. At the 1997 IAAF World Trck & Field Championships, a Sri Lankan sprinter gave of such a superior performance and became the sole contender for the 1997 Duncan White Awrd. The Technical Committee did not sit for selection, but the rules of the foundation permits the recommendation of a single nomination for you to determine the electee unanimously, as was done in the past seven years. Thus the only nominee to have given such an oustanding superior performance is:

WOMEN’S 200 METRES; WR 21.34/1-MJones (US) 21.76/ 2-MOttey (Jam) 22.06/ 3-ZPintusevich (Ukr) 22.17/4-MGainsford-Taylor (Aus) 22.23/S.Jayasinghe (SrL)22.33 10-JCuthbert(Jam) 22.48/ 15-JCampbell(Jam) 22.61/20-MPerec(Fra)22.67.

Champion Symons is now cycling coach

Anthony Symons has been named the National Cycling Coach by the Cycling Federation of Sri Lanka, its President, A.H.M. Fowzie confirmed.

Symons, a veteran racing cyclist from Ratnapura from 1958 to 86 was the first Sri Lankan to set a cycling record in 1960 on a standard machine averaging a speed of 20 miles per hour over a distance of 125 miles.

In 1972 Symons led the Army team to victory many times and was awarded colours in 1976.

He had over 500 wins and won the “Paragon Champion of the Year” ‘Most popular cyclist’ award after he won the Batticaloa open over-55 miles in a time of 2 hours 3 minutes averaging 25 miles per hour.

Symons had also participated in all open cycling events held in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Kegalle, Nikaweratiya, Ratnapura and Nuwara-Eliya.

In 1982 he represented Sri Lanka at the first ‘International Bicycle Week’ in Holland, France and Belgium.

In 1985 he participated in the All Oman 75 Kilometre open event which was held in collaberation of Oman National Day.

Symons is the President of the Ratnapura District Cycling Association and still does his regular training while coaching the youngsters in Ratnapura.

Symons intends to take part in the Masters Classic to be held in USA and is looking out for sponsors.

Volleyball to celebrate jubilee

Results of the Netball Elle and Volleyball competitions held at Bandaragama divisional secretariat division to celebrate golden jubilee.

Volleyball (Men) Eighteen teams participated in the competition held at Vedagama Maithree grounds.

The challenge shield was won by Rambukkana Gamini S.C.

Vollyball (women) Twelve teams participated. The challenge shield was won by Arukgoda S.C.

Elle (Men) Eighteen teams participated. The challenge shield was won by Millaniya Shakthi S.C.

Netball - Eight teams participated. The challenge Shield was won by Dileneatharu S.C., Alubomulla.

The winners will participate in the final to be held at Kalutara esplanade on February 6.

Chess Nationals on last week in Feb:

The Sri Lanka Chess Federation will be conducting the Chess Nationals (Premier Division) in the last week of February .

The tournament will be conducted on a round robin basis over 14 rounds. Fifteen players will be selected among the order of priority:

1. Internationally rated players.

2. Players with a national rating of 180 and above.

3. Former National Champions.

4. Those who performed best in 1997 Nationals (Major Division) tournament now in progress.

Players who belong to the categories 1 to 3 are requested to indicate their availability for this tournament to Sidath Dharmaratne, Serecretary, Sri Lanka Chess Federation, 8/1 Ramanathan Avenue, Dehiwela on or before February 12th.

Meanwhile the Zonal Tournaments for the Women’s Chess Championships will be held in Colombo and Kandy. This tournament is open to all players and will be conducted on the Swiss pairing system.

The Colombo Zonals will commence on February 10 at Hewavitharana MV., Rajagiriya at 8 a.m., while the Kandy Zonals will commence on February 7.

Thusal shares title with Nalin

Sri Lanka’s undisputed windsurfing champion, Thushal Gunawardena had to be content with being joint champions with Nalin Narendra in the first of the series of the championships sponsored by Old Spice, conducted by the Broadsail Windsurf Club at Berjaya Mount Beach Hotel, Mount Lavinia.

Priyantha Gunawardena, the brother of Thushal, took the third place in the championships conducted for three rounds, with 17 windsurfers coming under the starter’s order. Each round was run over 45 minutes.

D. Subash and Sandasiri de Silva finished in joint 4th place followed home by Anura Gunawardena, Dinesh Kosala, Gihan Kurukulasuriya, Kalum Ratnayake and Mahinda Seneviratne.

Gayan Priyantha and Gihan Kurukulasuriya two 14-year-olds showed promise for the future.

Michelle sails in first

Michelle Gunawardena won the first race in the Ladies Sailing championship. The race was conducted by the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club at Bolgoda. Pam Peiris and Kirsten Hennekens took the second and third places respectively.

The final race will be sailed on February 1 at Bolgoda with Trevor de Silva the Commodore of the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club as the officer of the day.

The Ladies race has been sailed for many years and is an annual event with the challenge cup being presented by Mrs. E.B. Creasy.

Korea wins: Lanka 5th

Sri Lanka did well to finish in 5th position overall in the 10th Asian Universities tennis championships concluded in Hong Kong last week.

The Sri Lanka University Men’s team who finished in 5th place was represented by Dishan Herath, T.D. De Silva, Boshan Dayaratne and N.N. Gamlath and was managed by Miss N.W. Hewage.

Korea won the championships with Japan and Chinese Taipei as first and second runner-up with Qatar in fourth place.

Sri Lanka finished ahead of Singapore, Bangladesh, Brunei, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Philippines.

In the Women’s section Sri Lanka was represented by A.P.S.R. de Silva, C.D. Gajanayake, R.C. Senaratne and S.N. Jeganathan.

Sri Lanka finished last with Chinese Taipei winning the overall championships followed by Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Col Varsity win Men’s, Women’s tennis titles

Colombo University won both the Men’s and Women’s tennis titles in the Inter-University championships conducted by the Department of Physical Education.

In the Men’s section Colombo University with 8 points beat University of Moratuwa who took the second slot with 6 points, followed by University of Peradeniya 5 points, University of Ruhuna 4 points, University of Kelaniya and Sri Jayawardenapura 1 point each.

Ruhuna beat Sri Jayawardenapura 3-1,

Peradeniya beat Kelaniya 3-nil,

Colombo beat Peradeniya 3- nil,

Moratuwa beat Ruhuna 3-nil,

Peradeniya beat Ruhuna 3-nil,

Colombo beat Moratuwa 3-1.

In the Women’s section Colombo University remained unbeaten to take the title with 7 points followed by Kelaniya, 5 points, Moratuwa 4 points, Peradeniya, Ruhuna and Sri Jayawardenapura nil.

Colombo beat Moratuwa 3-nil,

Colombo beat Kelaniya 3- nil,

Moratuwa walk over Peradeniya.

Merc E Div 40-over cricket tourney from Jan. 31

The Mercantile E Division Cricket tournament conducted by the Mercantile Cricket Association and sponsored by Prestige Automobiles Private Limited will get underway on January 31.

This year’s tournament will be played for 40 overs for the first time.

The semi-finals will be played on March 28 and 29, with the finals fixed for April 4.

The semi-finals and finals will be played at the MCA grounds.

Last year, Maritime Holdings won the title with Singer B as runners-up.

This year the teams participating and their groupings are,

Group A:

Unilevers, Hemas Group, Asia Capital, Lanka Bell, Singer B, Tristar Apparels.

Group B:

Hayleys, Amico Industries, Confifi Group, Colombo Dockyard, Union Assurance, Lankem Ceylon Limited.

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