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2nd May 1999

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Rugby is very much the talk in the local sports scene but with an ear to Sri Lanka's cricket team's performance in England. This engrossing picture of the CR-Police inter-club game at Police Park was captured by Dunstan Wickremaratne.
CR went on a late spree to down Police 20 - 0.
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Women cagers on the wings

By Saif Izzadeen

The Sri Lanka women's basketball team who are scheduled to take part in the 18th Asian Women's Basketball Championships in Japan and who were to leave for the contest last Friday had their wings clipped when the Japanese Embassy refused to issue them visas.

Guyruka Perusinghe, the coach of the team said: "We applied for the visas on Monday but before that we had a tough time raising funds for the tour. The Japanese Embassy normally takes 48 hours to process visas. Since it is a holiday in Japan on Wednesdays, the Japanese Embassy here too follow the same procedure and we were told to collect our visas on Thursday.

"However, prior to all this, Japanese Embassy officials informed us that letters from our employers should be submitted to the effect that we are genuinely employed here.

"We managed to submit these documents as well. We applied for a Group Visa as our tour party consists of 17 including officials. However, our application was turned down because one of our officials, an assistant coach, had not submitted all the necessary documents in order to obtain the endorsement.

"This official had pointed out to the Japanese Embassy official that the relevant document was in Kandy and that he will ask his wife to fax it. The Japanese official had however insisted that the original should be presented for scrutiny.

"Now it looks as if we may board the flight to Japan today or tomorrow (Monday) depending on whether the visas will be issued on time. We were originally scheduled to fly on Friday and all the necessary bookings were made in this regard.

"Another reason cited by the Japanese official for refusing the visas was that the team in question was not a national outfit".

Tour officials had then contacted the Foreign Ministry.

"Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has now assured us that he will intervene to see that we obtain the visas. Mr. Kadirgamar is in contact with Japanese Embassy officials here as well as the Sri Lanka High Commission in Japan regarding the tour. We hope the outcome will be fruitful," said Guyruka hopefully.

Guyruka said that he was in touch with the organisers of the tournament who are willing to alter the match schedule in order to accomodate the Sri Lanka team.

The team is led by Manjula Warnakulasuriya and consists of 12 players and five officials including a referee. There are ten new comers to the team, includingseven schoolgirls. The team had been selected on the performances of the senior and junior nationals and a series of trials held recently.

In recent times the Japanese Embassy had been wary about issuing visas to Sri Lankan sportsmen and women because there had been several cases where these sporting ambassadors had decamped and not returned to the island.

India retains football title in Goa

There were wild scenes of jubilation as India beat Bangladesh 2-0 in the final of the second Coca-Cola South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, India yesterday.

It was a game of fluctuating fortunes as India went on to retain the title. India were awarded $ 50,000 for their trouble and Bangladesh were awarded $ 25,000 for taking second spot in the competition. The Indians led 2-0 at the breather.

Striker Baichung Bhutin of India was selected the Most Valuable Player in the final.

The game started off at a fast pace with the Indians being cheered by a full house of nearly 35,000 spectators.

In the 27th minute Ranjani Kanka Bauman of Bangladesh was shown the yellow card by S. Selvarakan of Malaysia for a rough tackle on centre forward Bhutin S.Meerel outside the penalty box.

In a passing duel India got ahead in the 27th minute with a neat goal which beat the Bangladesh goalie all ends up. Bangladesh missed an easy chance of drawing level but no striker was in position.

India went two up when a cross from skipper Bruno rebounded off the Bangladesh custodian's hand for center forward Baichung Bhutin to tap the ball with a minute before half time. Half time was taken at this stage.

India had a chance of further consolidating their position but a solo effort by defender M.Fernandes of Goa, saw the ball sailing over the net. Indian captain Bruno Coutinho who played tirelessly, feeding his strikers with good ball at every available opportunity, was replaced in the 34th minute of play. From this time onwards India went on the defensive and the Bangladeshis nearly made use of this opportunity but their strikers were sadly out of form and India triumphed in the end.

In the third place play-off Maldives, the runner up of the competition held in Nepal in 1992, beat Nepal 2-0 after a scoreless first half.

India qualified for the final defeating Maldives 2-1 in a hard fought encounter while Bangladesh showed improvement in their style of play to beat Nepal 2-1. Earlier Nepal, who qualified for the semi-finals, beat Sri Lanka 3-2 for the first time in the annals of the game with Sri Lanka showing immaturity.

Revamped Havies meet CH today

By Bernie Wijesekera

Havelocks will entertain CH&FC in the Carlsberg Trophy A Division rugby first round match at Havelock Park today. Kick-off will be at 5 p.m. In the second week of this premier tournament. the clash between these two leading club teams is bound to draw a lot of spectator interest.

In the opening week the Havelocks went down to the Army in a cliff-hanger: 7-6. While the CH&FC got the better of Air Force without much fuss. Though the Havies lost to the Army on the post, they are bound to be a force to be reckoned with.

It was their poor handling of the ball which cost them dearly against the soldiers. Against the CH, the revamped Havelocks are bound to bounce back before their home supporters.

The Maitland Crescent club too is not short of talent. With the inclusion of former Havies lock forward Thushara Jayalath, the 'eight' will carry more power and strength than their counterparts.

Asanga Seneviratne the utility player playing as fly half made an impact in their first outing against the airmen.

Both teams possess rugby skills, but the fitter team will tilt the scales in the end. A keen contest is on the cards.

At Nittawela Kandy SC play hosts to the Air Force. Kandy thrashed the Police 32-5 in the first match. Kandy should be able to give a repeat performance against the inexperienced airmen. The airmen on the other hand should be commended for fielding a team despite exigencies of duty, thanks to their die-hard rugby promoter Air Commodore Vijitha Tennekoon.

On Friday at Galle Face the high-riding Army had to use all their resources to get the better of the gritty Navy 18-12. The sailors were leading 7-6 at the turn around. The winners were put under tremendous pressure by the Navy 'eight' in the loose. It was nice to watch a rugby match at Galle Face after a long lay-off.

The points for Army were scored by Narantota and Kapila Knowlton (a try each), while fullback T.S .Silva converted a try and put over two penalties. For the sailors it was Prematilleke and Kaluarachchie who crossed the line. Nizam Jamaldeen refereed. In the other match between defending champions CR&FC and the Police at Police Park, the red shirts drubbed Police 28-0.

Desmond in ICC Code of Conduct Commission

Eminent Sri Lankan lawyer Desmond Fernando, a former president of the International Bar Association, has been appointed to the nine-member ICC Code of Conduct Commission headed by Lord Griffiths.

Making the announcement of the new committee on Friday, ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya said:"I am delighted that the Commission will be led by such a distinguished person as Lord Griffiths. He has had an outstanding legal career rising to become a Privy Councillor and Lord of Appeal in the House of Lords.

"Lord Griffiths played first-class cricket for Cambridge University and Glamorgan. He has served as President of MCC and is currently chairing a MCC working party on the revision of the Laws of cricket. In golf, he has been Captain of the R&A at St. Andrews. He is also President of the Sports Turf Research Institute.

"He will bring to this important role his keen intellect and life-long love of the game of cricket.

"The Commission will comprise one nominee from each Test nation. The Members are: Australia-former Australian Captain and renowned commentator Richie Benaud.

England-retired High Court judge and former President of MCC Sir Oliver Popplewell, India-former BCCI President NKP SalveNew Zealand- Barrister Tim Castle, Pakistan-Retired Chief JusticeDr Nasim Hasan Shah, South Africa- Justice Albie Sachs, current judge with the Constitutional Court of South Africa,Sri Lanka-former President of International Bar Association Desmond Fernando,West Indies- former Chief Justice D. Williams, Zimbabwe-Don Arnott, former Rhodesian wicket-keeper and retired Chief Executive of ZCU.- Courtesy: Cricinfo

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