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21st March 1998

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Firebrand Abu Fuard turns the tide

By Callistus Davy

Ex-firebrand cricket manager Abu Fuard can be considered one of the key men responsible for the current shake-up prior to the election of office bearers to the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka.

An incumbent vice president, he is not only a candidate for the same post, but the main voice behind the candidacy of Clifford Ratwatte who is opposing present President Thilanga Sumathipala at the election to be held next Sunday.

"I came to serve cricket and I am free to decide for whom I should vote. I don't belong to any team," Fuard told journalists at a packed news conference organised in support of Ratwatte last Tuesday.

An articulate speaker, Fuard did not mince his words and charged that administrators were working against laid down procedure in decision making. "I am a person mindful of my responsibility. I have always advised the Executive Committee to act with tact and wisdom.

"There were occasions I thought of resigning, I just could'nt stomach what was taking place," added Fuard who is challenging the same people he promoted only last year.

For ethical reasons Fuard declined to reveal deep details of alleged controversial expenditures, but his main cause for shifting the tide is the sanctioning of 400 million rupees for the construction of a stadium in Dambulla.

An area which he describes as sparsely populated and not worthy to play host to an international stadium.

"The way funds were used are best known to them (Executive Committee). I always told them to follow procedure all the time. But they saw me as an obstacle to their work", said Fuard.

The neglect of future cricketers and the failure to take stock of ageing players has also made Fuard fall out with the current administration. Fuard reasons that existing venues in Kurunegala, Matara and Radella in the central highlands, should instead draw the attention of administrators for upgrading to international standards.

Fuard promised that under a changed administration, Kurunegala could be redesigned as a Test venue with just 10 million rupees and Radella be transformed into a first class ground.

It will be also used as a training centre for Sri Lankan teams preparing for tours in cold countries like New Zealand and England.

He said a sum of 50 million rupees could be set aside (from the Dambulla fund) for the construction of a hotel in Kurunegala to boost the venue's image.

Fuard's crucial insight into the present administrative system prompted reporters to direct the majority of their questions at him.

One reporter, a foreign correspondent apparently spellbound by Fuard's rhetoric, asked the former leg-spin bowler why he was contesting the vice presidency and not the top post.

"I would go to any length, but I know my limitations. I want to serve cricket but I don't want to creep into places where I'll be uncomfortable", Fuard shot back.

Fuard supported Ratwatte's decision to challenge Sumathipala by remarking that the best cricketers don't become the best administrators. "Some of the best administrators have never held a bat and Jagmohan Dalmiya did not even play marbles," declared Fuard.

Dalmiya, an Indian, is the current head of the International Cricket Council (ICC)

Both Fuard and Ratwatte shared similar views that the Sports Ministry will have to be advised on the need to change existing regulations that prevent potential administrators who have not played cricket from holding office in the Board.

Yoonoos: His last goal was the best

Like a bruising boxing title fight or a free-for-all football final, the role of veteran Sam Yoonoos in the pages of sports journalism of Sri Lanka will be remembered for all its dynamism and boldness, not to mention the tumult and the controversy.

Sam YoonoosShahul Hameed Yoonoos, better known as Sam to colleagues and friends, emerged from the Muslim heartland of Maradana and a sobering Methodist moulding at Wesley College into the hustle and bustle of sports journalism. He cut his teeth first at the old Times group, then at Lake House and indeed they must have been sharply cut because his sports articles had lots of bark and lots of bite also.

Having laid the tracks there, he emerged as a front-runner in sports journalism as the sports editor of the Sun group where for almost ten years he held sway. Interesting anecdotes woven about and around him are still being talked about, with most of them being in good spirits and with one for the road.

Sam Yoonoos also worked at two Pakistani newspapers - the Times and the Dawn. Taking a break from journalism after the Sun group was sealed in 1974, Sam Yoonoos moved to other fields, including a long stint as publicity director at the Foreign Ministry during the diplomatic heydays of A. C. S. Hameed.

If he reached his highest points in journalism at the Sun group, then perhaps, it was natural for him to come back there for the last lap of his colourful career. He ended his full-time journalism career just a few months before the one-time mighty Sun group - built by giants like D. B. Dhanapala - closed down in crisis.

Mysteriously and perhaps miraculously, the last seven years of Sam Yoonoos' life turned out to be a period when he found the deepest meaning and purpose in it. Family members and friends said it was a transformation that gave him meaning, direction and courage to face the struggles and uphill challenges. Those last seven years were spent in prayer and in meditation on the principles and values propagated by the Holy Quran.

He grew to love this holy book and gradually conquered the fear of death so much so that with deep peace of mind he would often say that he was 'waiting for the call.' Physically, he was frail and his once-booming voice was reduced to a whisper largely because of various ailments. But there was inner strength and a deepening relationship with his God to the extent that a few days before his death he gave his much loved Holy Quran to his brother-in-law, saying he feft his time had come. May Allah grant him Jannathul Firdhouse.

What a match !

When the Royalists rattled up 288 for 3 declared on day one it appeared that the Thomian skipper Naren Ratwatte's gamble to field first had backfired. Royal were still calling all the shots well into day two when the Thomians were on the ropes at 75 for 5. But then as they say read on ........! The fairy tale was about to begin.

Meshad Peiris had other ideas. That his century turned the match completely on its head is now history. The poor Royal skipper Thushan Amarasooriya will have nightmares about his dropped catch off Meshad (when on 2) for quite a while! If Meshad turned the match by 90 degrees the remaining 90 degrees turn was achieved by Thomian left armer Suranga Peiris who had the Royalists all at sea in the pre-lunch session on day three when 41 for 1 became 80 all out to send the Mount Lavinian boys cartwheeling in delight. But then 112 runs had to be scored and the Thomians ultimately came out winners by 4 wickets after some major hiccups.

In terms of amazing reversals this match had the hallmarks of the incredible 1981 Ashes Test at Headingley when Ian Botham and Bob Willis churned out a suspense thriller that would have made Alistair Maclean proud. Another point worth mentioning is the impact the Peiris' had on this memorable match. For Royal, Ravi Peiris scored 90 to help Royal to a seemingly match winning first innings score. Then Meshad Peiris' centrury brought back life into the Thomian camp. Next it was Suranga Peiris' turn to bamboozle the Royalists and send them skidding on the slippery road to defeat on the third day. Finally, a belated bid by Royal to change the tide in the fourth innings was foiled by the Thomian opener Heshan Peiris with a mature 45 not out.

What a match it was!

Sumith Peiris,


DSS,Bens settle for dreary draw

By Saif Izzadeen

D.S.Senanayake set a difficult victory target of 164 in 11 overs were 18 for no loss at close of play as their eighth inter-school big match against St.Benedict's which ended in a tame draw at the R.Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

The eighth encounter between these two schools could be described as a big bore.

D.S. Senanayake were set 164 in 11 overs to win after St.Benedict's batting in their second turn with a lead of 56 runs made 108 for the loss of two wickets in 31.3 overs

St.Benedict's got their second innings off to a rousing start through a 64 run opening stand between Asanga Wickremasekera (27) and Chinthaka Perera (50). This partnership helped the Kotahena school to reach 108 for 2. Perera made his half century in 90 balls. The Innings had one boundary.Early in the day D.S.Senanayake resuming from their overnight score of 32 for 2 lost three quick wickets at start of play which had them struggling at 47 for 5.However, a face saving sixth wicket stand of 80 runs between vice captain Mudith Maduwantha (37) and Nalin Pradeep (50 not out) helped them to reach a respectable 144 for 8 at which stage D.S.Senanayake skipper Lafir declared the innings. Pradeep's unbeaten 50 had 4 boundaries

Scoreboard{tc "Scoreboard"}

St.Benedict's first Innings - 200 for 8 dec

D.S.Senanayake first Innings - (33 for 2 overnight)

M.Maduwantha ct Joel b Devabandu 37

S. Lafir bowled Gunatiilake 14

M. Gajanayake run out 2

L.Dias ct Joel b Gunatillake 7

R.Gunasekera run out 0

N.Abeywickrema ct Teeban b Perera 2

N.Pradeep not out 50

S .Rajakaruna run out 6

M.Alwis lbw b Devabandu 0

P.Liyanarachchi not out 4

Extras (lb 2 b1 nb 14 w 5) 22

Total in 67 overs 8 wickets dec 144 Fall of Wickets - 1 -23(Lafir); 2 - 26(Gajanayake); 3-38(Dias); 4 - 39(Gunasekera), 5- 47(Abeywickrema), 6- 127(Maduwantha), 7-138(Pradeep); 8- 138(Rajakaruna)

Did not bat - Manjula Sumeda

Bowling - A. Gunatiilake 18-6-27-2; S. Fernando 7-1-20-0; R.Munasinghe 6-1-12-0; N.Fernando 14-5-31-2; S.Perera14-4- 36-1; C.Devabandu 6-2-6-2; Jeremy 2-0-9-0

St.Benedcit's Second Innings

A.Wickremasekera ct Gunasekera b Maduwantha 27

C.Perera not out 50

C.Devabandu ct N.Pradeep b Liyanarachchi 9

S.Fernando not out 1 8

Extras (lb 1 nb 2 w 1) 4

Total in 31.3 overs for 2 wickets dec 108

Fall of wickets - 1-64(Wicklremasekera); 2-80(Devabandu)

Did not bat -Teeban Jeremy, Munasinghe,Gunatillake, Joel, Fernando, Perera

Bowling - M.Sumein 7-1-30-0; M.Maduwantha 6-0-11-1; N.Pradeep 7-0-23-0; P.Liyanarachchi 7.2-1-20- 1; N.Abeywickrema 4-0-23-0

D.S.Senanayake Second Innings

S.Lafir not out 7

S.Rajakaruna not out 6

Extras (b 1 nb 1 w3) 5

Total in 11 overs for no loss 18

Bowling - A.Gunatillake 4-2-9-0; S.Fernando 2-1-2-0; C.Devabandu 3-1-3-0; R.Munasinghe 1-0-2-0; G.teeban 1-0- 1-0

Dull draw at Galle

Channaka de Silva reporting from Galle

Both Richmond and Mahinda were guilty of killing the interest and spirit of their 94th 'Battle of the Lovers' big match which drifted to a dull and dreary draw at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here yesterday.

After Richmond batted for 84 overs to score 189 for 8 on the first day, Mahinda provided an even more lethargic batting show in response, crawling to 231 for 3 in 99 overs. Their innings contained three half centuries by Chandana Wickremasinghe (53 in 231 balls), Roshan Nalinda (76 n.o in 165 balls) and Rodney Pradeep Kumara (50 n.o in 69 balls). But their negative approach which saw that they were only at 143 for 2 at tea on the second day in 78 overs of batting, showed what little interest they harboured towards a decision.

Earlier on the first day, Richmond who were put into bat, slumped to a dangerous 11 for 3 before recovering largely due to a brave fourth wicket stand of 84 between allrounders Oshad Sumathipala (40) and Chamil Perera (65)

Ari as AAA President

S. Ari Kannangara will be elected uncontested for the post of President of the Amateur Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AAA) at its annual general meeting fixed for Sunday March, 28 at its Headquarters at the Race Course.

Nine will contest the post of vice president among them being P. Don Victor, Brig. R.P.Liyanage, Ranjith Weerasena, Rohan Amarasinghe, N.A.T.Jayasinghe, Bandara Gunawardena Anil Weerasinghe, P.H.D.Wadiyatilleka, Dunstan Fernando and Brig. Palitha Fernando. The post of Secretary will be a contest between Prema Pinnawela, Ashely de Abrew and Brig. Palitha Fernando.


Richmond first innings

Manoj Chaturanga c Sumanasekera b SAmendra 6

Dilan Bahar c Sumanasekera b Ambawatte 0

Avantha Rideegammanagedera b Ambawatte 0

Oshad Sumathipala run out 40

Chamil Perera c & b Kumara 33

Dilantha Sumathipala c Tharanga b Kumara 31

Omesh Wijesiriwardena not out 3

Tharindu Wickremasuriya run out 1

Extras (b-1, nb-8) 9

Total (for 8 wkts. dec in 83.4 overs) 189

Fall: 2, 6, 11, 95, 148, 163, 188, 189

Did not bat: Swaraj Weerawarne, Chamil Perera.

Bowling: Sulalith Samendra 6-2-15-1; Manoj Ambawatte 10-5-12-2, M.M.Tharanga 5-0-15-0, Thushara Rupasinghe 6-0-21-0, R.P.Kumara 33-7-57-3, Isuru Suriyarachchi 13- 0-39-0, B.K.Suneth 10.4-3-16-0.

Mahinda first innings (17 for 1 overnight)

B.K.Suneth lbw b Perera 5

C.Wickremasinghe c Rideegammana bWeerawarne 53

Ranil de Silva b Perera 28

Roshan Nalinda n.o. 76

Rodney Pradeep Kumar n.o. 50

Extras (b-4, lb-3, 1-2, nb-10) 19

Total (for 3 wkts. dec in 98.4 overs) 231

Fall of Wickets: 9, 65, 147.

Bowling: Chamil Perera 17-7-28-2; Dilantha Sumathipala 6-2-22-0; Omesh Wijesiriwardena 11-3-23-0, Tharindu Wickremasuriya 13.4-3-30-0, Manoj Chaturanga 26-8-46- 0; Swaraj Weerawarne 5-0-19-1, Oshad Sumathipala 11- 5-17-0, Chandimal Gunasekera 9-1-20-0.

Did not bat: Thushara Rupasinghe, M.M.Tharanga, N.S.Sumanasekera, Manoj, Sulalith Samendra, Isuru Suriyarachchi.

Richmond second innings

Manoj Chaturanga n.o. 5

Oshad Sumathipala run out 17

Nuwan Ratnayake c Suneth b Kumara 9

Dilan Bahar n.o. 4

Extras (b-in 10 overs at close) 7

Total (for 2 wkts in 10 overs at close) 43

Fall of Wickets: 19, 33.

Bowling: Rodney Pradeep Kumara 5-3-12-1, Thushara Rupasinghe 5-0-23-0.

Ranga Dissanayake shines in 'Battle of Babes'

By Shane Seneviratne

A good bowling and batting performance by Ranga Dissanayake was the highlight of the 41st Battle of the Babes cricket encounter between St. Sylvester's and Vidyartha which ended in an exciting draw at the Asgiriya Stadium yesterday.For his performance, Ranga Dissanayake was picked as the Man of the Match.Batting first St. Sylvester's scored 214 for 8 dec, helped by two half centuries by A.Perera (58) and T.Liyanage (60), supported by Ranga Dissanayake (26). In reply Vidyartha were bundled out for 105 with Ranga Dissanayake capturing four wickets for 26 runs. Forced to follow on, Vidyartha were 69 for 4 at close. In fact St. Sylvester's should have won this match if play had started on time on the first day. As it was play commenced only at 11 am as the appointed umpire failed to turn up and a substitute had to be found.

Both teams shared the Yasaratna Tennekoon memorial trophy as the match ended in a draw.St. Sylvester's - 214 for 8 in 76.1 overs (Ranga Dissanayake 26, K.Konara 33, A.Perera 58, T.Liyanage 60, S.Mahatotarachchi 14; S.Ranaweera 6 for 58)

Vidyartha - 105 in 57.2 overs (T.K.Ranaweera 17, T.Jayakody 21, D.Wanasinghe 13; Ranga Dissanayake 4 for 26, C.Ratnayake 4 for 19) and 69 for 4 in 49 overs (K.G.Ranjith 10, D.Ranaweera 18, H.Nanayakkara 20 n.o; S.Mahatotarachchi 2 for 6).

Moratu-Sumangala ends in exciting draw

By S.M.Sirisena

Moratu Vidyalaya who set an ardous victory target of 191 in 20 overs by Sri Sumangala settled for draw as their inter school big match ended in a exciting draw at Moratuwa yesterday.

The match had all the excitment which is usefulfully withnessed in a cricket match played in Moratuwa. thrills and spills were in plenty which had all spectators at the edge of their seates.

Sandakan of Sri Sumangala and Oshadi Warnapura of Moratu Vidyalaya missed their personnel marks of making 1000 runs by two and one runs respectively.

Moratu Vidyalaya replying to Sri Sumangala's first innings score of 220 made 202 after resuming from their overnight score of 91 for the lost of three wickets.

Moratu Vidyalaya made their score thanks to a well compiled knock from Oshadi Sumathipala(87). Quintus bowled fine spell to calim five wickets giving away 50 runs.

Sri Sumangala batting in their second turn with with a lead of 18 runs made 163 for the loss of five wickets this left Moratu Vidyalaya with a victory target of 191 in 20 overs but they settled for a draw.

Scoreboard{tc "Scoreboard"}

Sri Sumangala first innings- 220

Moratu Vidyalaya first innings -(91 for 3 overnight)

O.Warnapurs lbw b Deepal 87

C.Fernando run out 20

A.Indrajith ct Jayatillake b Quintus 15

A.Peiris lbw b Quintus 0

C.Dilruk ct Deepal b Quintus 15

P.Martinaz b Qiuntus 2

W.Mendis lbw b Quintus 0

N.Fernando not out 0

Extras 13

Total all out in 48 overs 202

Fall 91, 125, 125, 163, 194, 199, 201, 202

Bowling - D.Maduranga 11-1-53-2; A.Jayatillake 4-0-19-0; A.Deepal 5-2-24-2; N.Quintus 17-3-50-5; A.Perera 6-1-21-0; D.Perera 4-0-22-0

Sri Sumangala second innings

A.Buddika lbw b Dilruk 11

S.Silva bowled Dilruk 35

A.Perera lbw b Mendis 11

A.Jayatillake ct N.Fernando b Martinaz 19

J.Sandakan ct Peiris b Nalin 37

D.Perera ct N.Fernando b L.Fernando 4

D.Maduranga not out 19

Extras 26

Total in 51 overs 5 wickets dec 163

Fall of wickets- 52, 59, 86, 102, 163

Bowling - P.Martinez 7-2-37-1; N.Deshapriya 3-0-23-0; W.Mendis 12-3-24-1; C.Dilruk 13-4-26-2; C.Fernando 6-2-8-1; A.Peiris 2-1-7-0; O.Warnapura 1-0-6-0; N>Fernando 2-0-5-1

Moratu Vidyalaya second innings

M.Deshapriya b Perera 34

S.Perera ct C.Perera b D.Perera 12

C.Fernando ct Mendis b Quintus 13

O.Warnapura run out 11

A.Indrajith not out 30

W.Peiris run out 1

C.Dilruk not out 0

Extras 8

Total in 20 overs for five wickets 108

Fall -3, 48, 67, 89, 107

Dutch ladies arrive

The Dutch Ladies Cricket team arrived on Friday March 19th to play six limited over games, one of which will be the first ever day/night match to be played by the Ladies.

This day/night match will be played on Tuesday March 30th at the R. Premadasa International Stadium.

This tournament will be a forerunner to the women's World Cup next year according to Mrs. Gwen Herath, the President of the Women's Cricket Association of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has already qualified for the Women's World Cup.

Rasanjali de Silva will lead the Sri Lanka Ladies team with Guy de Alwis as coach and Tony Opatha coaching the Dutch team.

Sumathipala says he will retain status

By Callistus Davy

Thilanga Sumathipala lambasted his rivals and claimed that the majority of voters are behind to propel him into another term as President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka.

In a show of strength and solidarity, dozens of representatives from clubs and districts turned up last Thursday to outnumber journalists at a news conference convened by Sumathipala to spell out his progress and confidence at winning next Sunday's election of office bearers.

"I've been from bad times to good times and good times to bad times and I'm sure I can take it. My status as president will continue," said Sumathipala

The conference was initially marred by a near 45-minute power failure just minutes after Sumathipala began his introductory address.

Sumathipala had some words of caution for rival candidate Clifford Ratwatte, but fired some shots at the man considered to be his arch enemy, Abu Fuard who is the current vice president of the Board.

"You don't stay in the system and fight the system. If you don't like the system, you just get out," said Sumathipala in a direct reference to Fuard who has accused the incumbent Board chief of mismanaging large sums of money and working against laid down procedure.

But Sumathipala defended his administration saying that the past year marked the most financially productive period. "We had the best fund management system and there was no fraud. Allegations of misdirecting funds are baseless. Some people are disgusted for personal reasons and they are putting themselves above cricket," said Sumathipala.

Asked what he thought about Ratwatte confronting him, Sumathipala replied: "He's my friend, I don't know whether he's quite capable of taking it. Good luck to him."

Ratwatte, who hails from a premier political family, has moral support from two ex-Board presidents Ana Punchihewa and Upali Dharmadasa.

But Sumathipala said he hoped that politics will not come in-between the two contestants. Ratwatte denied last week that he had the backing of government politicians.

Analysts have so far refrained from making any predictions on the outcome of the election but judging by the number of supporters of both candidates who attended press conferences last week, securing a thumping majority from a total of 128 votes may not be an easy task.

Sumathipala said that among his projects planned for the upcoming term is a second floodlit stadium and the appointment of zonal selectors. He declined to name the location for the new stadium. The present Board has already passed 190 million rupees for the first stage of a 400 million rupee stadium in Dambulla. The current Board president regretted that one year was inadequate to complete development programmes but in a report handed out to the media he cited a Youth World Cup to be held in Sri Lanka next January and the attention paid to international and domestic cricket, finance and development of infrastructure as achievements.

Murali to play for Lancs despite BCCSL opposition

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Sri Lanka's leading Test wicket taker and the world's number one off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will go through with his contract with English county Lancashire this season despite the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) strongly advising the bowler not to go ahead with the contract.

MuraliThe BCCSL is of the view that Muralitharan may be called for throwing in England and hence warned the bowler of the possible consequences he will have to face in these circumstances.

However The Sunday Times learns that Muralitharan is keen to gain experience in county cricket and has not heeded that advice from the BCCSL.

The Sunday Times also learns that the Cricket Board had offered to pay a certain percentage of his contract fees to pursuade the bowler to stay back. But the CB offer has not stopped the bowler from making his debut with the county. Two former Indian captains Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri and a few senior Test cricketers have also advised the bowler to refrain from playing. But Muralitharan is determined to go ahead with the contract.

As some knowledgeable critics point out it's not only the threat of being called for throwing but the fact that English batsmen will also get the ability to face and get used to Sri Lanka's champion off spinner. Infact one must remember that it was only last year that Murali mesmerised the English batsmen and captured a record 16 wicket haul at the Fosters Oval to lead Sri Lanka to a historic triumph.

At the last Executive Committee meeting of the Cricket Board it was decided that the BCCSL will not take any responsibility if Murali is called for throwing in England this season. A senior official of the BCCSL was shocked to note that Muralitharan is not taking the advice of the CB on this crucial issue. "It is unbelieveable that Murali is acting in this manner. After all he should have some gratitude towards the Cricket Board which has spent a huge some of money and time to clear his name after he was called for throwing in Melbourne ( 1995) and Adelaide (1999)

Murali is set to play for the county soon after the World Cup and will return to Sri Lanka by the end of August to face the Australians at home.

Lankan kid (aged 5) aims to be Tiger Woods (No.2)

Five-year-old Gajan Balasingham, who scored an 85 last summer at the Unionville Golf Centre (par 54), shows off his fluid swing, top and his Tiger Wood head cover above.

"I like Tiger Woods the best." the youngster said. He played at my age, just like me.

Joel Baglole in the Toronto Star adds that Gajan did achieve it in the first visit to the golf course.

"A-four- year-old child shooting an 85, even on a par-three course, is excellent," says Steve Jubb, Director of the Junior Program administrated by the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) in Palm Beach Gardens, FIA. "I'd say a score like that is cause for notice.

Gajan, who is now 5, began swinging the golf club in his family's Markham backyard when he was two years old, while his father Siva Balasingham practised, little Gajan would grab a club and take a few swings.

"At first I thought he was just kidding around, imitating me" said, Balasingham, 50, a Management Accountant who came to Canada from Sri Lanka ten years ago.

By the time Gajan was 3, he was pestering me to take him to the driving range said Siva. Gajan can now drive a ball 110 yards and has a swing most golfers would envy.

Woods, who stood the golf world on its ear in 1977 by winning the Masters title as a 21 year old rookie, took up the game shortly after he learned how to walk. He scored a 48 on a full-length nine golf course at age 3. By the time he was Gajan's age, Woods had already been featured in Golf Digest magazines and made television appearances.

Earlier this week, the Star took Gajan to the Metro Golf Dome, an indoor driving range in Scarborough, and asked Paul Wilson, a teaching Professional at the Angus Glen Gold Academy and host of Score Gold TV, a weekly show on the Golf Channel, to comment on Gajan's technique.

"He is pretty fantastic," said Wilson as he watched Gajan hit the balls. "He is going to be really good. He hits the ball solid time after time. You can tell just by watching him that he has the fluidity of it is in his body. And that's not something he'll lose with age."

Brian Kennedy (21) who helps teach junior golf classes at the dome, couldn't help notice Gajan as he practised his short game.

"Just by looking at him, I'd say he'd be in the top of any of my classes", Kennedy said.

"He's better than most of his juniors I see. He does all the fundamentals well. He's got good technique and holds his finish. Everything (he hits) is dead straight on him". (AF)

SAFF football in Goa

The second SAFF - South Asian Football Federation football Championships involving six countries will be played in Goa, India from April 22 to May 1.

Sri Lanka will meet Maldives in the second match in Group B on Friday April 23.

The other matches are: Thursday April 22 - India vs Bangladesh; Saturday April 24th - Bangladesh vs Pakistan; Sunday April 25 - Sri Lanka vs Nepal; Monday April 26th - India vs Pakistan; Tuesday April 27th - Maldives vs Nepal; Thursday April 29th- First semi-final, second semi-final; Saturday May 1st final.

Rover pinpoints

Umpire manhandled.

A Sri Lankan cricket umpire standing in a key inter-club tourney in Bangladesh was severely assaulted whilst in the middle by a team captain for supposed-to-be wrong decisions given against the team.

This was highlighted in the press in Dhaka.

In fact Rover learns that this umpire was not in the original list of selectees which numbered three but on instructions from a certain VIP he was sent but certainly not to the liking of the Cricket Umpires Association in Sri Lanka.

Selectors should they resign?

The Cricket Board selectors have been pushed around on many occasions since of late but not very much to their liking.

The Minister of Sports who appoints them has confidence in them but he overrules their decisions and includes players. Many are of the opinion that the Minister should take over the selections if that is the case.

Not qualified

How come that Sports Ministry officials are allowed to contest posts in controlling bodies. According to the Sports Law a person drawing a salary from the Sports Ministry is not permitted to contest. Are double standards prevailing in such situations?

Who runs rugby?

Who runs rugby in Sri Lanka. The Rugby Union, the Sports Ministry or an outside individual? Rover learns that the Rugby Union, which is the legitimate controlling body, is thoroughly cut-up with the sacking of the national selection committee by the Sports Minister and the installation of a new selection committee which in turn has picked a fresh squad for next week's Hongkong Sevens tournament. Can anyone expect the Rugby Union to be a puppet.?

Who is the one who will take responsibility if the Sri Lanka side performs badly? Rover learns that with picking and dropping players, the squad to represent Sri Lanka is not in the best frame of mind with training also disturbed by the boycott of practices by some players who have got too big for their boots.

Is this true?

The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, recently purchased cricket equipment to be distributed amongst clubs and district associations.

But Rover learns that going through the inventories, good stock of equipment were found missing. Who is to be blamed.?

Athletes let down

The closing date for an international marathon to be held in Iran on April 8 is fast approaching with runners keeping their fingers crossed awaiting confirmation whether the four picked for the race could go for the event.

Rover, learns this has happened, since no Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) members could be contacted as the office is locked up and messages are not answered.

Not qualified

At least eight leading sports controlling bodies are going to hold their AGMs on Sunday, 28 March. Rover learns many seeking election as Presidents are not those qualified to do so under the Sports Law but only could do so with the Minister's sanction. One wonders why the sports law ever exists.

To hell with the law

Is the Sports Ministry aware that in the same way rugby selectors cannot coach or have connections with teams or clubs, office bearers in the Referees Society too are prohibited from doing the same. Last week the Sports Minister sacked the rugby selection committee citing a case of a selector coaching a club. But the president of the Referees Society and his vice president are either coaching or are involved directly with rugby clubs. It's foul play all the way.

Chess Seminar

The Chess Arbitor Seminar conducted by the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club will be held on Monday March 22, and will be held at the Russian Centre from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This seminar will be conducted by International Chess Arbitor Igor Vereshchagin. A training programme for school teachers on coaching and the conducting of tournament will also be held.

Lankans dinner-dance

The dinner-dance of Lankans Cricket Club will be held at the Empire Ballroom of Mount Lavinia Hotel on Saturday March 27 in a fund raising campaign.

The Lankan Cricket Club, was formed in 1984 and has passed many milestones participating in Division 1,2 and 3 cricket winning the runners up trophy in the limited overs tournament.

The popular musical group Zodiac will provide music with Rohan Unantenne as compere.

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