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5th December 1999

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Tillekeratne joins select band

In the recently published Millennium 2000 Year Guinness Book of World Records, names of three TilakaratneSri Lankans have been included for establishing world records.

In the chapter under World Leaders, Mrs. Bandaranaike's name is included for holding the record as the world's first woman prime minister and the oldest living prime minister.

Whilst her record is in politics, in the sports sphere names of two Sri Lankan sportsmen have been included. One is Arulanandan Suresh Joachim, for establishing the record for standing one one foot for the longest period of time.

The other is Hashan Prasanna Tillekeratne for establishing the record for holding the most number of catches in the Sri Lanka - New Zealand match in Colombo, three years ago.

In this match Tillekeratne held seven catches and equalled Australian Greg Chappell's and India's Yagesvinda Singh's record.

Paragon Pedallers again

One of the oldest cycling clubs in Sri Lanka, Paragon Pedallers was reformed recently by a brand of enthusiastic veteran cyclists, who rode for the club, many years ago.

The cyclists in their move to revive the club met at the residence of Nihal Kulasekera and the following office bearers were elected.

Patron-Capt Lionel. W.Siriwardena Vice Patrons- Nalin Mendis, C.T. Devaraja, President- Nihal Kulasekera. Vice Presidents- L.G. Wilmon Perera, Anton L. Gunatilleka, Sri Lal Perera, Rohan Wickremarathne, K.R. Puspharajan. Secretary - Trevine E. David. Assistant Secretary- M.A. Kumara Perera, Treasurer - Dinesh Senaratne, Australian Representative - Sam Kiel. Committee members - K.V.S. Maithreewardena, W.R. Costa, V.A.D.R. Nanayakkara, J.L.Dullewe, R.A. Senaratne.

Nelson at the helm

G.B. Nelson de Silva was elected the President of the Galle District Hockey Association at its Annual General meeting held at Galle.

M.W. Prasad de Silva was elected as Secretary with K.H. Nandathilaka as his assistant.

S.K. Pallatenna was elected as its Treasurer with H.T. de Zoysa as his assistant.

Mrs. N.S. Rupasinghe was elected as the Chairperson of the Schools Section with N.H.L. Amarasinghe as Chairman Social Section.

A.B. Prince, J.B.L. de Silva and U.G. Wimalasiri were elected to serve on the Finance & Tournament Committee with Asoka Hapuarachchi as Vice President.

Masters top Bridge event

The Masters team led by M.Chelliah won the MultiForm Chemicals Trophy for the contract Bridge team event held at the Bridge Federation Headquarters at the Race Course.

The Masters team comprised M.Chelliah, Fritsz Perera, Ismeth Magdon Ismail, T. Shanmugalaingam and Mrs. Sri Saravanapavan.

Baskaran's team led by K.P. Baskaran, Ashantha de Mel, Dr Keerthisena, Paul de Neise, Manel de Neise, Anton Warnasuriya finished second.

Anton's team comprising Anton Selvanayagam, Dr. Dilanjan Soysa, Nilam Magdon Ismail, M.P. Salgado and Y.R. Karunaratne won the third place with Cera's team fourth comprising, Mrs. Cera Fernando, Dr. Rose Peiris, Mrs. Glory Arasakumar. Mrs. Karmin de Silva's team of Mrs. Fainza Marcan Markar and Suren Jebasunderan finished 5th with Ria's team sixth.

In all nine teams participated.

Caltex sailing at Bolgoda

Twelve year old Rehan Dias of Royal College was at the helm with Sri Lanka's Bronze medalist at the last Asian Games. W.P.K. Janaka of the Navy, to win the Caltex sailing championships held at the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club at Bolgoda last Sunday.

Taking second place was Kamal Siri Gunatilleka of the Navy and Devaka Balasuriya of the Asian International School.

The father and son combination of Asitha and Avantha Tennekoon won the third place followed by Duncan and Gail Fraser and John D. Gorman.

The Royal schoolboy capped a fine day of sailing winning a double, the Optimist race for children with Graham Fraser 2 and Guus Thijssen third.

Peter Martin the Managing Director of Caltex was the chief guest and gave away the awards with Shibly Lattif and Zaharaine Rahaman Hameem of Caltex as guests of honour.

CRC turns down offer

The Colombo Rowing Club was offered five boats, free of charge by the Hong Kong Yacht Club, however they had decided not to make use of this offer since the importation of these boats will cost very much. its Secretary Sudhammika Hewavitarane, has stated.

He further states in his letter to the Sunday Times that it was not opportune to make use of this kind offer and instead had offered this offer to the Amateur Rowing Association of Sri Lanka.

He also states that the Colombo Rowing Club had recently imported 18 Boats and Oars for its institutional members.

Its Secretary admits in his letter that the Colombo Rowing Club has not held a press briefing for the last six months or more.

So many netball questions

By Nilika de Silva

The selection of Junior Coach for the World Cup 2000 in Scotland next July, took place with many questions raised by former Sri Lanka player Ms. Hyacinth Wijesinghe, as to the calibre of the Selection Committee.

Among the issues raised by Wijesinghe were why the Selection Committee was not chaired by a netball player, why so many representatives of the Netball Federation were on the Selection Committee when a single representative would have been sufficient, and why when the interviews were held in August and results were released to the Federation within a week things were dragged on without the coaches being named until November.

The selection committee comprised Chairman, Derwin Perera (Sports Ministry), Surangani Wijendra (former Sri Lanka player), Sunimal Kurumbulapitiya (Vice President Netball Federation), Latha Senanayake (former Vice President Netball Federation), Yasmine Dharmaratne (Deputy President and Representative of the Federation) and June Perera (Secretary of the Federation)

Wijesinghe also raises the question as to how Surangani Wijendra whose daughter will be facing the Junior Trials as a player and will be undergoing training with one of those selected as an Assistant Coach was allowed to sit on the Selection Committee.

Two of the three coaches selected were not Sri Lanka players, only Padma Gunewardena was a Sri Lanka player, Wijesinghe said, adding, the other two coaches can't demonstrate any skills so they can't guide the players. Another allegation being cast is that although these coaches will be training young players they are all above the age of fifty.

Up-to-date it remains a mystery who prepared the selection criteria, Wijesinghe says. The Deputy President says it was not the Federation, while Derwin Perera and Surangani Wijendra say they did not prepare it, it was given by the Federation, she said.

The Head Coach selected Ms. Sakuntala Wijeratne is the PTI Maliyadeva, Hyacinth Wijesinghe says and two Assistant Coaches have been appointed, Padma Gunewardena and Chandrani Pathiraja both from the Sports Ministry.

Meanwhile Sakuntala Wijeratne who was selected as Head Coach was not present at the interviews, appealed at a later date, and we also understand that she was asked by the Federation to appeal, Wijesinghe said. A separate interview was held only for her and she was selected as Head Coach, would this concession have been made for any other player, Wijesinghe asks.

Another issue being raised was why paper qualifications were being given prominence in the selection of coaches who have to work on the field. The know how needed in guiding players, making decisions regarding substituting players in a critical situation, advice re warming up and inculcating discipline in the players are assets which would be required by coaches rather than theoretical ability which is all that can be tested on paper.

One of the selectors Latha Senanayake, a retired Director of the Education Department, is good in translating netball books, but we dont agree on her being on the selection panel, Wijesinghe said, adding that in 1998/99 she has not stepped on to the grounds for a single tournament. Then how will she be able to select coaches, Wijesinghe questions.

Hyacinth Wijesinghe said she was raising all these issues to ensure that this king of injustice does not take place again. Furthermore she said her concern was for the future of Sri Lanka's netball.

However, the President of the Sri Lanka Netball Federation,Tamara Herath dismissing the accusations levelled against the Selection Committee said that she was very sad that Hyacinth Wijesinghe who has been a national player is acting in such a way as to destroy the game.

She said Hyacinth was tarnishing the image of the sport. "I am really sad, that she is trying to the game. She has been a national player and she is trying to bring it down to zero."

Condemning the way the former national player has acted Herath said it would be detrimental to the future of the sport. "We are going to lose sponsors," she stressed.

The President of the Sri Lanka Netball Federation, said Hyacinth Wijesinghe had been quite satisfied with the selection board when she was selected Assistant National Coach last year. "Except for myself it was the very same board that functioned, when she was selected Assistant National Coach," she stressed.

She also questioned the fact that only Ms. Hyacinth Wijesinghe was making an issue of this, whereas if an irregularity had taken place there should have been a much bigger hue and cry. "It is only she who is objecting, only she is trying to show that there is chaos," Herath said, adding that if Ms. Wijesinghe had any doubts regarding the matter she should have spoken to the relevant persons rather than speaking to the press.

"We're not here to reply on silly petty topics," Herath stated explaining why she did not respond to Ms. Wijesinghe's charges in the papers.

She also expressed disappointment that Wijesinghe had breached "The code of ethics for any coach," she said.

Countering the charge that a non Sri Lanka player had been selected as coach, the President of the Netball Federation said that even before this coaches were selected.

Herath says the selection criteria were the same which have been used last time in the selection of Junior National Coach.

Defending the strength of the selection committee, the President of the Netball Federation said that very often selection panels comprised people who excelled and coached in other sports as well as those who specialise in the sport being discussed, as their combined skills contribute in making it a stronger panel.

And as to why there were several representatives of the Netball Federation. Herath explained that there was no given limit to the number of Federation members who could sit on the selection board, there was no rule stating that it should be only one member.

Jayaratne unearthed from Eheliyagoda

By Bernie Wijesekera

In other countries talent scouts and coaches go in search of hidden talent, who later on do proud for the game at national level. In Sri Lanka, too there is talent aplenty be it in the paddy fields or in the thottams. They have the skills to match the best in the metropolis. With improvised gear. No sightscreens or covered pitches. But they play cricket on gravel pitches, with the ball lifting awkwardly, sans helmets.

Today most of our talented youth hail from the villages, and have done proud to the country at national level. A good example is W. Wimaladasa from (Alawwa), Susanthika Jayasinghe (Warakapola) and Damayanthi Dharsha (Ampara). Dharsha, was initially sponsored - thanks to Ceylinco Group sports loving chairman, Lalith Kotalawela. If Dharsha's memory is not short then she will not deny to this effect.

Most of our present day cricketers are not from the public schools or from affluent homes. Despite their limited resources, but through sheer hard work have worked their way to gain recognition.

West Indies have produced great cricketers, who have thrilled the fans worldwide with their broad blades. One of them is Rohan Kanhai - a sugar cane cutter, who could cut loose against any attack. He played under Sir Frank Worrell. At present there is that diminutive batsman, Shiv Chandrapaul a fisherman's son. His father puts his fishing net to train his son be it in the backyards or the beaches to give Shiv that much needed practise. Aussie fast bowler from the Sydney bushland Glen McGrath too had a humble beginning with their parents in attendance. There are many more like them.

The Sunday Times in its investigations was able to find a lad at present playing for the Tamil Union from Eheliyagoda. He is Sanjeewa Jayaratne a selfmade cricketer. Jayaratne, former student from Eheliyagoda Central is a strongly built fast bowler, who never played cricket for his school. The school could ill afford to promote cricket with their limited funds.

Whilst playing for the Tamil Union at the 'Sara Stadium, he was interviewed. Jayaratne, was introduced by the T.U. skipper Upul Chandana, a cricketer from the Southern Province, who too came up in a hard way.

Jayaratne, had a liking for the game, but hardly got that much needed exposure despite his desire to swing the ball.

"Firstly, I played for a small club called Olympics S.C. , in Eheliyagoda, I've got the real taste of it and moved to Sivali S.C. in Ratnapura to indulge in competitive cricket - Div. III. But I was fortunate to get that much needed support from two brothers Asoka and Nimal Wijenayake from Eheliyagoda. at the start of my career. I am grateful to them.

Q- Who coached you initially and helped you to run on course? A - It was former Sri Lanka cricketer, Asoka de Silva. He also helped me to get gainful employment through Mr. Ana Punchihewa at Pure Beverages. Asoka, too was attached to Pure Beverages. Undoubtedly it was a slippery climb, where I had to sweat hard.

Q- Who helped you to be a useful medium fast bowler? A - It was Rumesh Ratnayake, who nursed and nurtured me to go places, while playing for the NCC.

Aravinda de Silva was responsible in helping me to get a job at Access. Its chairman Sumal Perera inspired me a lot, with men and material.

Q- When an individual reaches the higher pedestal, he should not forget the ones who helped him. Today gratitude is on the wane. Any comments? A - You are right. I've not forgotten. Firstly, my parents, who had a hard grounding. I am grateful to them. Even at present at the Tamil Union I owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Rasiah and my skipper Upul Chandana. I am quite aware about my humble beginnings. I will strive to live that way on and off the field, Jayaratne observed.

Q- What is your objective? A- Will work hard to reach the top. Nothing is impossible if one has the determination. If I fail in the end then I am not found wanting. This year I had a stint at the MRF in Madras to be coached under Dennis Lillee, on the recommendation of Romesh Ratnayake.

Any good bowling efforts at club level? A - Last year I captured 5 for 92 against the Tamil Union, whilst playing for the NCC.

What made you leave NCC? A - NCC had fast bowlers aplenty. I've enjoyed my cricket, whilst playing for the NCC. I left the club, purely to get more playing opportunities at the Tamil Union and get that much needed exposure, Jayaratne smiled.

CCC's image too good to be tarnished

By Bernie Wijesekera

If the sub-committees blundered, then why penalise CCC for no fault of theirs. In the process it deprived CCC of winning the 1998-'99 Premier trophy Div. I championship.

This was revealed by the president of the CCC (Gymkhana Club) Sunil Peiris, at a press briefing.

Peiris, said that the interim Committee inquiring into a protest made by Bloomfield and Colts CC ruled out on Oct. 27, that the CCC-Sinha S.C. postponed match played on June 4 - 6, as null and void and Declared Bloomfield as champions, though CCC registered full points over Sinha S.C. to displace the Reid Avenue Club from the top spot.

This is an unfortunate incident which put this great game of character building to shame CCC, made a request for the postponement of this match scheduled for June 4-6, 1998, in writing due to the non availability of their grounds as it clashed with their rugby calendar.

It was the accepted practice that verball informed action is in order. But its another first in Sri Lanka cricket which is plagued with problems, which is administered by amateurs, who wants to hold office at all cost.

Its not done by any other country indulging in international cricket. The administration from whatever quarter must take the blame. To err is human, to forgive is divine.

Much could be said about umpiring and its administration. If anyone apparently tried to influence the deployment of umpires for the match and draw attention to a letter dated Nov. 30, from the I.C. stated that F. de Mel could perhaps be faulted for acting on outside instructions. Then action must be taken against him for his laps, Peiris added.

The chairman further denied the alleged allegations that the match was fixed. No one could pin-point a finger at each other for this unfortunate incident. It boils down to lack of professional skills in the administration to act without fear or favour.

This is a bane in Sri Lanka sports in general. This has happened in the past, too.

Let's turn a new leaf for the coming millennium. Its all due to win trophies at all cost what is more important trophies or the game? The tournament committee, must take the blame alround.

Sunil Peiris himself with abundant professional skills gave a detailed report for this ongoing episode, where no quarter was given, none asked for. For the greater good of the game this should be sorted out amicably. Peiris as chairman of the Gymkhana Club has cleared the good name of the club. The past is forgotten, let's join hands and work for a better future.

Cricket is, too good a game even to be spoilt by power politics. The Maitland Crescent club has a great tradition and posseses a historic background.

Its image is, too good to be tarnished even for a trophy.

The Interim committee, too has a gigantic task to put the game on its course. Forget about petty issues and let's put the country before self.

Junior tennis team to train in India

The Sri Lanka Tennis Association in order to promote and develop the standard of tennis in Sri Lanka will send 10 top juniors for intensive training to the Krishnan Tennis centre in Madras.

They will train at this centre for three weeks, said Suresh Subramaniam, a SLTA Official. "The Krishnans, that is Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan have been tennis champions for a number of decades and have vast experience in the international arena. We are keen to give our juniors the opportunity to be coached by such great players", he said.

The Junior players will train 5 to 6 hours daily and will play alongside much better Indian players. The SLTA has selected some of the most promising young players. However, one or two selected players may not attend his camp due to examinations.

This is the first time the SLTA will be sending junior players for training, said Arjan Perera, Chairman, Coaching and Promotion.

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