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5th December 1999
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A good feat until the last hour

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The second test between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe got off to a dramatic strart with Nuwan Soysa picking up a hat-trick and finished in an anti-climax with the Sri Lankans making a meal of the thirty five runs they had to make.

In between many lessons were learnt. It was a keenly contested game. The Zimbabweans are undoubtably the weakest test team and will be so for a long time. There are many first class teams amongst the better nations who would outclass them quite comfortably. After the home series against the Aussies this was the ideal opposition for team building, as an initial overseas tour.

So far the side has grabbed most of the opportunities they have got. Day one of that test was a classic example. Bowling on a responsive pitch the seamers Vaas, Soysa and Wickramasinghe delivered the goods. It does happen at times where bowlers get carried away, bowl too fast, try too many variations, and the batsmen get on top.

Here the discipline was top class. Picking up three wickets before a single run is registered on the board means a massive handicap. There was no looking back from there for Jayasuriya's men. The bowling was accurate, probing the defence of the opposition batsmen and giving them no respite. Having a bowler of Muttiah Muralitharan's calibre is such an assest, 163 for9 at the end of day one meant that the home side was out of the competition, unless the Sri Lankans batted very poorly.

The brightest sparks of the game was the coming good of Mahela Jayawardena and T.M Dilshan. Jayawardena was able to shake off the recent bad form and Dilshan was technically very sound as he worked his way to an unbeaten ton in only his second test match.

It was one of those pitches that could be termed as sluggish. All the heavy rains leading up to the game had caused this effect. It did not change much in terms of carry but the bounce stayed quite contstant throughout the five days.

One of the important requirements for top order batsmen is to spend long hours at the crease. However, many hours you are at the nets is no compensation for being out in the middle accumulating runs. This is why it is necessary for international batters to make a big innings one in three visits to the centre.

Dilshan learnt of the glorious uncertainities of the game and how quickly a player can slip from hero to zero. Each innings is a fresh start. It does not happen naturally. The same effort, the same quantity of hard work has got to be applied everytime.

The news of a back injury to Nuwan Soysa was disappointing. Just when the attack was starting to produce results, this unfortunate happening will again hamper the progress. lt is always a good thing when at least on three out of four outings the wickets are shared. It proves there is balance in the attack. Now we have Vaas, Soysa, Wickramasinghe and Muralitharan being rewarded for their efforts.

When they could not provide the required break-through on the final day, skipper Sanath Jayasuriya came along and demolished the last four Zimbabweans.

What happened from then on is best forgotten. The required 35 runs should have been comfortably knocked to achieve a comprehensive win. Poor cricket saw four wickets tumble. Skipper Jayasuriya must take the rap. He must now discipline his mind "never to throw away his wicket". That is an absolute must. The loss of those four wickets did sour what was otherwise a very satisfying victory for Sri Lanka.

Radiesha: Champ at 15

At only 15, Radiesha Daluwatte is already a champion swimmer. With two keen sportsmen as parents her entry into the sports arena comes as no suprise.

Born in 1984 she had her first dip in a pool when only aged six in the Army swimming pool. But her swimming career really got off at Ladies' College where she was a part of the 1993 team that won the under 10 Sri Lanka Schools Junior Nationals, and the under 12 team of 1994 which emerged champions at the same meet. She ended up as the vice captain of the Junior swimming team at Ladies' before joining the Colombo International School in 1997. While still at Ladies' College she achieved the rare distinction of becoming the Sports woman for the 1995/1996 season. 

In 1997 Radiesha won Sri Lanka schools colours for swimming the only girl from Ladies' to do so. She was also adjudged as the best swimmer at the Western Province swimming meet. The same year she represented the country at the Asia Pacific swimming meet in South Korea. 

She was also the youngest participant at Asian Games in 1998. 

She also won the highest number of medals at this year's SAF Games winning 4 silvers and 3 bronze medals. At the same meet she bettered Deepika Shanmugams 100m Backstroke record. 

After joining the CIS in 1997 she was appointed the intermediate swimming captain the following year. She also led the Sri Lankan contingent to the KCR 1st International Aquatic championships in Bangalore this year. 

Radiesha's father is former Army Commander Lt. Gen Rohan Daluwatte who represented the country at basketball and athletics. Her mother Jayanthi also represented the country at basketball and was at one time the vice captain of the team.

(U.A)Thomian pool shocker

Will S. Thomas' be forced to sell their land to find money for the swimming pool project ?

By Channaka de Silva
The pool construction work of S. Thomas' college, probably the country's most privileged school is about to be stalled due to lack of finances.

The alarm bells were ringing for sometime now. But the worst fears of the old boys may realise very shortly. 

The Board of Governors of the college have short- listed two methods to raise funds for the Swimming Pool Project.

One is to get together with the old boys to initiate fund raising programmes. And the other is the shocker.

"There were several suggestions to raise funds for the swimming pool project. the option of selling some land belonging to the college was also considered at the Board of Governors meeting" disclosed Merril Aluvihare, a member of the Board of Governors.

Aluvihare who is also in the Old Boys Association said however that he opposed the move and had pointed out at the meeting that it was not a wise decision and would also not go down well with the Old Boys of the college.

Aluvihare said several Old Boys have already intimated to him that they were even prepared to go to courts to stop such a move.

The livewire of the swimming pool project, Vijitha Fernando is equally disturbed at the latest turn of events. "It is outrageous. We are prepared to go to any extreme to stop such a deplorable act." he said.

But Aluvihare said the best way to tackle the financial problem was for the Board of Governors to join hands with the Old Boys and conduct fund raising programmes together.

"It is the only practical solution. The Board of Governors cannot raise enough funds alone. If they get together, it will be quite a formidable force and I don't think raising funds will be a difficult problem. Selling land won't do. It's not the proper thing to do," Aluvihare said.

The contractor International Construction Consortium (ICC) has already finished the work worth Rs. 19 million while there is another Rs. 14 million required to finish the Rs. 32 million project. As the college authorities have run out of their funds, the contractor may be forced to pull out leaving the college with what Fernando terms as a "tiled water tank".

The water recycling and purification plants are yet to be purchased and without them it will not be a swimming pool according to Fernando.

The project was first mooted four years ago when the college's pool - historically significant as the country's first modern swimming pool built back in 1934 - was virtually breaking down into pieces.

A gift of the college's renowned sub warden Dr. R.L.Hayman, the pool was part of the college legend ever since.

However the project ran into trouble when a dispute arose between the Board of Governors and Old Boys over the composition of the Swimming Pool Committee. The project was abandoned for two years before it was commenced last year with both parties agreeings to terms.

But now, as things are, Old Thomians face a formidable task to preserve the image of their treasured alma mater. That is to save the project from being stopped or selling of college land.

But there is another task as well. That is the responsibility of finding the necessary funds for the project.

Rugby football catches on in Jaffna

By S. Sivendran
(Retd. Snr. Supdt. of Police)

With my arrival in Jaffna several sports minded officials sounded the idea of improving the standard of sports in Jaffna. I agreed to this suggestion and as an initial step decided to stage an exhibition cricket match between the Madras team that was flying to Colombo to play in the Annual "Gopalan Trophy" game against Ceylon and an invitation team from Colombo consisting of national players. 

For this, we contacted Brig. Dr. H.I.K. Fernando who was then the Ceylon cricket captain, a former Peterite cricket captain and who also captained N.C.C. and Army and who was hailed as the best wicket keeper in Asia. We also requested the Board of Control for Cricket and obtained permission for the Indian team to stop over at Palaly Airport for the match and spend a day in Jaffna. Dr. H.I.K. Fernando too brought an invitation team captained by him which had Major Bala Francis who too was a member of the Ceylon team and an Old Thomian whose mother Mrs. T.G. Francis owned the famous race horse Cotton Hall which won all the important races in Ceylon and India. Another in the team was Russel Hamer of Wesley College who too kept wickets for Ceylon, and several other leading cricketers from Colombo.

This match took place on February 1970 at the Jaffna Central College grounds which was a picturesque playing field with the Jaffna Public Library with it's Hindu architectural building at the background and the lush Subramaniam Park maintained by the Municipality on one side and the clock tower on the other side. 

As we were charging gates for this match the grounds which was open from all sides had to be covered at great expense. The Jaffna business community contributed lavishly. The Principal Jaffna Central College E. Sabanayagam too gave all his cooperation to make this match a success. The match was a terrific crowd-puller. At this match Dr. H.I.K. whilst batting injured his thumb which resulted in a fracture and when the Indians batted he got Russel Hamer to keep wickets which annoyed the vast crowd, as they had come mainly to see the stylish wicket keeping of H.I.K. But they were pacified through the public address system. 

After the match both teams were given a reception befitting kings with dinner and expensive gifts. The team from Colombo made use of this opportunity to do some shopping as then Jaffna was famous for Indian sarees and other luxuries for which people from Colombo frequented Jaffna. 

Hot on the heels of this success we decided to introduce rugby to Jaffna and formed the Jaffna Rugby Football Association. The President was I.H. Ismail - District Judge, Jaffna. Vice Presidents were R. Sunderalingam, S.S.P. Northern Province and Vernon Chanmugam, Regional Manager, Bank of Ceylon, Secretary S. Sivendran, Inspector of Police, Assistant Secretary - Ken Ariyarajah, Regional Manager C.T.B. who played rugby for St. Peter's College and the Merry Men of Uva. Treasurer was V. Kiruparajah a well known soccer and cricket personality in Jaffna. We also had a lot of support from the Government Agent Jaffna Francis Pietersz, one of the finest Civil Servants produced by St. Joseph's College, Colombo, who later became the Director, Establishments, Superintendent of Prisons Jaffna, C.T. Jansz an Old Thomian and his Chief Jailor A. Gananathan who later became Superintendent of Prisons Colombo and the caretaker of the Theivanai Amman Kovil at Kataragama, during his retirement. Rev. Fr. Mathuvanayagam Rector of St.Patrick's College, who was the President of the Jaffna District Football Association, too gave invaluable assistance. 

Practices were held at the Jaffna Fort Grounds and was attended by students from Jaffna Central College, St. Patrick's College, St. John's College, Jaffna Hindu College, Canagaratnam M.M.V., Osmania College, Kokuvil, Hindu College, Vaideeswara College, and Parameshwara College, where the present Jaffna Campus is situated. Assisting me at these practices was an Englishman named Brown who was the Manager of the Mercantile Bank, Jaffna, who was living along Kachcheri - Nallur Road with his beautiful wife. He had played rugby in the U.K. 

We always finished practices early before dark as there was a chapel inside the Fort which was built by a Dutch General in memory of his beautiful daughter who committed suicide by jumping into the well inside the Fort due to a disappointed love affair with a Dutch soldier and the legend goes that this beautiful girl haunts the area after dark. 

During this period a West Pakistan Youth hockey team which visited Ceylon was invited for a match which was arranged in Jaffna against a Combined Jaffna Schools team by Dr. Thuraisingham a big name in Ceylon hockey. The West Pakistan Youth team stayed inside the Fort with facilities afforded by Chief Jailor Gananathan and the Police. The Manager of the West Pakistan Youth team was Ali Chowdry who had represented Pakistan at the Olympics and as he was not satisfied with the accommodation afforded he stayed with me at my residence at Nallur during his stay in Jaffna. This encounter between the Combined Jaffna Schools and the West Pakistan Yough team was played at Canagaratnam M.M.V. grounds and the Principal C. Rajadorai gave all support.

AIDEX '99 Sports Festival

The Friend-in-Need Society invited the public to participate at its AIDEX '99 Sports Festival for Jaipur limb users, which will be held today at the Sugathadasa Outdoor Stadium from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The events on the card include bicycle race, putt shot, long jump, high jump, archery, walking race, children's race, participants' family race, organizers' race and an archery exhibition.

The festival has been organized on funds received from donors and donor agencies. The Society stressed public participation, as it would encourage the participants. Participants include amputees of upper and lower limbs, those with congenital abnormalities and polio victims. Eighty percent of the disabled are in the age group of 20-30.

The sports festival has been held annually for the last five years. The festival is towards creating awareness to others. The aim of organising this event and inviting the public is to prove that the disabled are no different from others and are capable of doing majority of the things done by an ordinary person. 

The Society also pointed out the little attention paid to these events. Unlike cricket or other matches, sports events of this sort have received less focus.

This year's AIDEX festival will be a grand event because it will be the last event for the millennium. All participants will be rewarded with either cash prizes or some other gift. 

The Canadian High Commissioner Ruth Archibald and the Ambassador of the United States of America Shaun Edward Donnelly are distinguished guests at the event.


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