13th September 1998
Avishka's 107 blasts Jamaica
Kuala Lumpur, Saturday - A sparkling century by former Anandian Avishka Gunawardena helped Sri Lanka to record their second victory in the tournament beating Jamaica at the ongoing 16th Commonwealth Games yesterday.
In women's badminton Sri Lanka scored a thrilling 3-2 win over Wales but in rugby sevens competition SriLanka turned a cropper when they were drubbed 80-nil by the powerful New Zealand team and in the second game Malaysia pulled off a 35-26 win over Sri Lanka.
Cricket is been included in the Games for the first time. Gunawardena with this century became first man to score a century in the tournament.
Sri Lanka overcame the host nation Malasiya by seven wickets on Wednesday and their victory over Jamaica was Sri Lanka's second victory in a row.
Sri Lanka led by Test player Hashan Tillekeratne batting first made 211 for 6 in their allotted 50 overs with Avishka leading the way with a dazzling century.Avishka put on 80 runs for the first wicket with Lanka de Silva who made 25.Russel Arnold chiped in with 18 runs.
Avishka's power hitting took the stuffing out of the Reggae country bowling attack.and had one six and seven fours in his innings Jamacia then chasing a victory target of 212 to win couldn't cope with their accurate bowling and tight fielding of the Sri Lankans and succumbed to a 67 run defeat.
Meanwhile Indika Gallege, who was in the Sri Lanka cricket pool for the Commonwealth Games returned to the island due to the sudden death of his father.
Sri Lanka - 211 for 6 in 50 overs (Avishka Gunawardena 107. Lanka de Silva 25, Russel Arnold 18)
Jamaica - 144 for 8 in 50 overs(Jimmy Adams 34n.o; Upul Chandana 2 for 26, Russel Arnold 2 for 17).
Sri Lanka women's badminton team won their Group match againstWales 3-2 in the badminton competition at the Commonwealth Games.
Renuka Chandrika lost the first game but Inoka de Silva made amends by defeating Gail Osborne. Other winners for Sri Lanka were Inoka de Silva, D.Dharmasena and Dilhani De Silva.
Sri Lanka beat Wales 3-2
Renu Chandrika lost to Kelly Morgan 3-11 2-11
Inoka De Silva beat Gail Osborne 6-11 11-6 11-0
D.Dharmasena beat N.Groves-Burke 11-6 11-2
Dilhani De Silva/D.Dharmasena lost to Gail Osborne/Katy Howell 0-15 5-15
Renu Chandrika/Inoka De Silva beat N.Groves-Burke/Robin Ashworth 8-15 15-5 15-7
Sri Lanka were surprisingly beaten by Malaysia in their second match in the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens competition 35-26.
In the earlier game the Sri Lankans were mere spectators as the powerful All Blacks drubbed them 80-0. The All Blacks are favourites for the title.
The Sri Lankans were all at sea against the power and speed of the New Zealanders.
Sri Lanka: Tries - Mohammed Jiffrey 2, Nazem Mohammed, Alfred Hensman; Goals - Asanka Rodrigo 2, Mohammed Jiffrey.Meanwhile Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand by 0-80 in their first match.
KUALA LUMPUR, Saturday Australian world champion Michael Klim qualified a suprisingly slow sixth for the men's 200 metres freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday, outshone by teenage team mate Ian Thorpe. The 15-year-old Sydney schoolboy sensation cracked the Games record, finishing 1.7 seconds ahead of Klim in a time of one minute 48.51 seconds in the heats.
England's Sue Rolph also set a Games record to top the women's 100 freestyle qualifiers, and Canada's Joanne Malar was fastest into the women's 400 individual medley final to let the Australians know they would not have all their own way on the first day of the swimming programme.
Australia's Simon Cowley led the qualifiers for the final of the men's 100 breaststroke, just ahead of England's Darren Mew. Thorpe became the youngest world champion in men's swimming history .in January when he won the 400 metres freestyle in Perth.
By Saif Izzadeen
Are we downhearted no no! Are we happy oh, yes! These are the famous words which has echoed and re-echoed through stadia in Sri Lanka, as well as all over the world for the last 40 years from Percy Abeysekera.
Percy, the oneman cheering squad of Sri Lanka,who has been the unofficial mascot of the Cricket Board, completed 40 years of cheering for Sri Lanka this year. He started his cheering career in1958.
Sri Lanka cricket has benefited immensely by the oneman cheer squad Percy Abeysekera, who was born in Balapitiya. He started his cheering career at the age of 15. He used to cheer from the days of whistle stop tours where England, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and India used to drop in to play some matches against local sides. During this period of cheering, Percy has cheered vociferously from 1958 to 1978 without the flag and from 1979 to 1998 with the flag.
Percy was educated at St.Aloysius College, Galle and represented St.Aloysius from under15 to the Second Xl. Percy did his SSC in 1957 and after sitting for the exams,he joined Aquinas University College in 1959 to do his London (A/L) in economics.
Some of his batchmates at the Aquinas University College were Tyronne Fernando, the former president of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and cabinet minister of the UNP government, Sunil Silva, former Solicitor General, Kumar Ponnambalam and Vasudeva Nanayakara, a politician in the present government.
Percy has met and seen the cream of the local and foreign cricketers during his extraordinary cricket cheering career. The past Sri Lanka cricketers he has seen in action are: F. C. De Saram, C.I.Gunasekera, Mahadevan Sathasivam, Ben Navaratna, D.S.Jayasundara and L.de Saram. Now he likes Arjuna Ranatunga, whom he rates as the best captain in the world, Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.
The foreign cricketers whom he has admired and seen in action are the three Ws, Worrell. Weekes and Walcott, Sir Garfield Sobers, Ramadhin, Leary Constantine, Rohan Kanhai and Alf Valentine of West Indies. From England Tony Greig, Len Hutton, Jim Laker, Tony Lock, Fred Trueman and Brian Statham, whom Percy says was an accurate bowler, Hanif and Fazal Mahmoud, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar of Pakistan, Sir Donald Bradman, Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller of Australia and Sir Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe of New Zealand.
Percy has had many good moments during his cheering career. One particular incident he recollects was when Sri Lanka won the ICC Trophy beating Canada in the final. "This win enabled us to be promoted to play in the World Cup, which was held in England during the same year". He said that he will never forget how Sri Lanka, led by Anura Tennakoon, beat India in the 1979 World Cup in England. At that time Sri Lanka were without Test status and overcame India, a Test playing nation who had players of repute such as Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar, Bishen Singh Bedi and Gundappa Vishwanath.
He said this victory by Sri Lanka was the beginning of the island nation's recognition as a Test playing nation.
Percy has also got many awards from famous cricket greats. Imran Khan is one such person who has given him a book autographed by him in Australia during 1989.
In another incident he says Martin Crowe, who won the Man of the Match award in an one day match played in Sri Lanka in 1993, came with the cheque and the trophy and told Percy that he could take both of them but Percy only took the trophy and promised him that he will return it to Crowe before he takes wing to New Zealand. But when he went to give the trophy back Percy got more presents from Crowe. One of them was a sun hat from which Crowe has used for his first ten Test matches.
Crowe has also given Percy a silver and gold coin which he won as a Man of the Match award as well as the Man of the Series awards to him.
He has also got a cap from the Little Master Sunil Gavaskar who sent it through Sidath Wettimuny. He has also a book on cricket signed by Sir Garfield Sobers.
A thing he treasures most is a souvenier he got from Javed Miandad. When Percy went to Australia to support the Sri Lanka team he was eager to watch the Pakistan vs Australia game but didn't have tickets. However when he called Javed Miandad a day before the game in his hotel room and explained the situation, Miandad told Percy to come to the ground on the day of the match and that he will have some tickets for him. When Percy went to the ground five tickets had been left by Miandad. But the story doesn't end there. The ground authorities didn't allow Percy and his friends to enter and when Javed was informed of this, he personally requested the ground authorities to allow them in.
These are the fond memories that he has during his long and illustrious career in cheering. He also narrated a situation where the SriLanka team managed by Abu Fuard in 1979 and led by Anura Tennekoon, collected money from team members to give him as a present. But Percy had his own pride and turned down the gift of 100 Dollars. .However the money was forced on him, with skipper Tennekoon gifting him the money.
Amongst his souvenirs is a tee shirt given by the Indian team which took part in the Nidahas Trophy Tournament, autographed by all the Indian players.
Percy has got several encouraging words from world class cricketers. One such cricketer is Ravi Shasthri who told Percy: Don't lose the tone of your voice, the country needs it more than you.
Then Sunil Gavaskar quipped: May you boom and bloom with SriLanka cricket for many more years to come. English cricketer David Gower said: Don't lose your voice Sri Lanka needs it. Sir Richard Hadlee had presented Percy with the official tie of the New Zealand cricket team. Percy has also got a colour photograph of the New Zealand cricket team.
Percy said that he would like to thank Chairman of ACL Cables Ltd., Upali Madanayake, who is the pioneer in cables manufacturing in Sri Lanka and also thanked his son Suren Madanayake for having helped him to reach this level in cheering. He also had a word of thanks to the late Gamini Dissanayake who got his visa from the UK embassy and the ticket from AirLanka to go to England in 1983.
He has also got many letters from admirers such as Christopher Martin Jenkins, the famous cricket reporter, Sir Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe and many more cricket players and admirers. We wish Percy well.
Lop sided ratings
According to the ratings of Sri Lanka cricketers, Roshan Mahanama has been ranked 19th.What is baffling Rover is if Mahanama was ranked 19th how come he couldn't find a place in the cricket team for the Commonwealth Games? Also note that six regulars are not in the squad.
It has been stated that at last there are no splits or factions in the Sri Lanka cricket team which won the Emirates Trophy beating South Africa and England and the one off Test against England at the Oval.
Rover likes to know whether there were splits when Sri Lanka won the World Cup and many more success achieved by the team.Who is trying to bluff whom?
Down the drain
It is a common tale that if there is no money involved no reputed cricketer wishes to win a gold, silver or bronze medals.
It seems as if the country's reputation as good sporting ambassadors has gone down the drain.
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