by Rex Clementine
Population of a nation is no indication of their sporting talents or achievements. Look at Barbados. Their population is less than 300,000 but look at the cricketers they have produced. Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Three Ws, Sir Garry Sobers, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, and the list goes on. Similarly, Fiji with a population of less than 900,000 are sure of a medal at Olympics. Their rugby has not let them down.
Sri Lanka won their first Olympic medal in 1948 in London and had to wait for more than half a century to win their second in Sydney.
At present our athletes qualifying for the Olympics itself is considered a noteworthy achievement by many. Fans don’t expect our stars to go beyond the first round at the games. But there was excitement among local fans this week following the announcement that cricket could feature in the games as early as Los Angeles in 2028, followed by Brisbane 2032 and thereon.
So, countries like Sri Lanka where the main sport is cricket, have got a good chance to have a crack at the Olympics and finish with a medal.
All these years, unless you have a champion like Susanthika Jayasinghe or Duncan White, you had little chance of a medal. You just live in hope that we are able to produce a champion athlete somewhere down the line as we do not reach the required standards to field a side in team sports. But now all that is set to change and we can look forward to the performances of our team when Olympics is around. They could well go on to end the medal drought.
Not just Sri Lanka, but for other Asian nations like Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the introduction of cricket is a good opportunity for them to end the medal drought.
Cricket should have featured in the Olympics a long time ago. There was a push to bring the sport into Olympics sometime back. But for a variety of reasons, India blocked the move.
There was a lot of hope that cricket will feature in the 2012 games when London hosted the Olympics with cricket being the national sport of Great Britain. But it was not to be.
However with Jay Shah, Indian cricket’s most powerful man giving the nod for cricket to be included at Olympics, there is a lot of excitement.
There was a time between 2007 to 2014 that Sri Lanka had an excellent run in ICC events. They reached five World Cup finals and won one. Don’t you get the feeling that had cricket been there at Olympics in that period the nation could have won a few medals? Surely, we missed gold.
Chameera and Hasaranga to miss Oman T-20s due to IPL
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lankan cricketers Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga will miss Sri Lanka’s tour of Oman next month due to their IPL commitments. The two Sri Lankans are with Royal Challengers Bangalore and they have been given clearance to remain with the franchise till 10th October.
Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur told The Island he had no issues in the players missing the two games in Oman.
“It’s a great opportunity for them and I have not raised any objections. They will join the team on the 10th of October and be ready for the first warm-up game on the 12th of October,” Arthur said.
The IPL was suspended in May due to the rise of COVID cases within the bubble with still 31 matches remaining. The tournament will resume in UAE on Sunday and will finish on the 15th of October, just before the ICC T-20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka will play two T-20 Internationals in Oman on the 7th and 9th of October and then travel to UAE to play warm-up games ahead of the World Cup. The two players are expected to join the team in UAE.
RCB have seven games left in the competition and will take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. Their last league game is on the 8th October.
RCB are currently third in the table with ten points behind Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings.
If they make the plays offs, the tournament will go beyond 10th October. If necessary, RCB will ask clearance from SLC to have them in the franchise set up and the board is unlikely to object as Sri Lanka’s first game in the World Cup is on the 18th of October. The IPL final is scheduled on the 15th of October.
No Sri Lankan had been picked for this year’s IPL at the start of the season, but after Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa and left-arm quick Daniel Sams pulled out, the franchise signed up the two Sri Lankans for the remainder of the competition. Both Chameera and Hasaranga had done well when India visited Colombo for a bilateral series last month.
Meanwhile, SLC has agreed to a request by the national selection panel to carry five additional players to UAE in case of injuries. Kusal Perera is doubtful for the World Cup and Lahiru Madushanka has been ruled out. SLC will bear the additional costs for the extra players.
CFSL ready to organize its biggest Online Chess Championship
Western Asian Youth Chess Championship 2021
Sri Lanka has the luxury of fielding a World Champion in their team when the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) organizes the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships from 18 to 20 September on the Tornelo Platform.
Ferguson High School, Ratnapura player Oshini Devindya Gunawardena, who won the Under-10 title of the FIDE Online Youth Chess Cup 2021 recently, is among some 300 participants fielded by Sri Lanka.
Luxman Wijesuriya, the president of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka said that his federation was ready to organize the biggest Asian Online Event, the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships and the event which is conducted by the Asian Chess Federation has attracted more than 1000 players from 14 Western Asian Countries.
The event open for girls and boys will be held under six age categories, namely, the Under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. The Asian Chess Federation has categorized, South Asia, Arab and Russian-speaking countries of Asia as Western Asian Countries. More than 1000 players from the region have fielded their entries to participate in the event.
India has fielded the biggest contingent of 378 players while Sri Lanka field more than 300 players. Iran has entered a team of 161 players. Other countries registered for participation are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Oman, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan and UAE. One player is joining under FIDE, the World Chess Federation flag.
Sri Lanka team includes players who excelled at recently held online competitions and at the CFSL Online Youth Chess Championship 2021.
The Championships will be conducted on the Swiss System in nine rounds, having three games a day. The Newly approved FIDE Online Chess regulations will be followed and the time control will be 15 minutes a side with 10 seconds increment for each and every move played. Only the laptop/desktop computers are allowed to be used while all games will be closely monitored by the arbiters via zoom. Players will be switching on two cameras during the competition. According to CFSL one camera (Webcam) will monitor the player while the other will observe his or her surroundings.
The Virtual Opening Ceremony will be held at 11.00 a.m via Zoom on Saturday. Namal Rajapakse, the Minister of Sports is expected to participate as the Chief Guest with Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nehyan, the President of Asian Chess Federation.
The CFSL will be awarding attractive cash rewards to the Sri Lankan players who win medals of any colour.
Wheelchair tennis team to leave for World Team Cup on Saturday
The Sri Lanka Wheelchair Tennis team led by Tokyo Paralympian Suresh Dharmasena will leave for the World Team Cup on Saturday.
The BNP Paribas World Team Cup is the premier team competition for Wheelchair Tennis with four qualifiers and two wildcards joining the top ten teams in the world for the 16 nation competition being held in Sardinia, Italy.
Great Britain, France, Japan, Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, USA, Korea Rep. and Brazil are the top ten teams.
When the Team Cup qualification event was held in May, Sri Lanka beat Croatia 3-0 in the quarter-finals to be in the last four alongside Israel, Greece and Poland but was beaten by Israel in the semi finals.
In the qualifying event Gamini Dissanayake beat Croatia’s Sven Maretic 6-0, 6–2, while Suresh Dharmasena beat Anto Joskic 6-2, 6-0, before joining Lasantha Ranaweera to oust Anto Joskic and Sven Maretic 6-0, 6-0 in the doubles.
The World Team Cup will be held from October 4-10.
The Sri Lanka Tennis Association said that the team were engaged in final preparations at Green Path, ahead of their departure to Europe. The team comprising of Suresh Dharmasena (ITF Rank #64), DM Gamini (#81) Lasantha Ranaweera (#85) have been undergoing specialist training under coaches Jagath Welikala and Guyanga Weerasekera since July.
The Wheelchair Tennis Program is a project run by the Sri Lanka Tennis Association initiated in 2002. The project is overseen by the President of SLTA Iqbal bin Issack, General Secretary Pradeep Goonasekera, VP Wheelchair Tennis Major General Shiran Abeysekera and principal sponsor Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT).
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