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Athletes form new wing to race to professional level

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by Reemus Fernando

Couple of former national track and field athletes who had represented the country at different stages have joined hands with topnotch current athletes to form an athletes’ wing that will look into the welfare of fellow athletes. Headed by former national thrower Joy Danushka the Sri Lanka Track and Field Athletes Wing (SLTFAW) aims at providing assistance to current national athletes reach professional level and assure a happy retired life.

“Our intention is to help top athletes reach professional level. Their welfare is our priority,” former national sprinter Shehan Ambepitiya said in an interview with The Island.

Ambepitiya is the secretary of this newly formed Athletes Wing.

In reply to queries Ambepitiya said that the Athletes Wing formed on Wednesday will soon start looking for benefactors and sponsors to gather much needed funds.

“We took it as our responsibility to help fellow athletes. We have to blame ourselves for the current state of top athletes. We intend providing post career guidance to them,” said Joy Danushka the president of the Wing.

Athletes who are selected in the national pool are eligible to become members of the Sri Lanka Track and Field Athletes Wing.

Rewarding national records with financial awards, providing sponsorship for athletes reaching Olympic qualifying standards, media exposure for top performers, assistance for up and coming athletes are among the priorities of the newly formed Wing.

Most of the top athletes are already members or office bearers. Long jumper Danuka Liyanapathirana is the treasurer while throwers Olympian Sumedha Ranasinghe and Waruna Lakshan are vice presidents.

 

Office Bearers of the Sri Lanka Track and Field Athletes Wing

President:

Joy Danushka Perera

Secretary:

Shehan Ambepitiya

Treasurer:

Danuka Liyanapathirana

Chief Organiser:

Aravinda Samaranayaka

Auditor:

Salinda Ranaweera

Vice Presidents:

Sumedha Ranasinghe, Waruna Lakshan

Assistant Secretary:

Ireshani Rajasinghe

Assistant Treasurer:

Anjani Pulwansa

Committee Members:

Himasha Eshan, Dulanjalee Ranasighe, Kupun Kushantha, Tharika Fernando, Lakshika Sugandhi, Dilip Ruwan, Sisira Kumara, Ishara Madurangi, Safreen Ahamed.



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Raducanu’s promising Cincinati run ends

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Emma Raducanu’s dominant form at the Cincinnati Open ended as seventh seed Jessica Pegula proved a sharp step up in class for the British number one.Raducanu had trounced veterans Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, but lost 7-5 6-4 to Pegula in the last 16.

Now the 19-year-old switches her focus to defending her crown at the US Open, which starts in New York on 29 August.British men’s number one Norrie, seeded ninth, won 6-0 6-2 against the teenage American wildcard Ben Shelton as the gulf between the pair showed.

Norrie, who beat Andy Murray in the previous round, secured victory in just 57 minutes and will play Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who is seeded third, in the quarter-finals.Following her defeat by Pegula, Raducanu said her time in Cincinnati had shown that making mistakes is not necessarily a step backwards.

“In the past year it’s one of the few tournaments that I have started going for my shots more,” she said.

Optimism around Raducanu increased after her statement wins against 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams and fellow major winner Azarenka, albeit with the caveat that both of her ageing opponents are nowhere near their prime.

Against Williams, the world number 13 produced probably her best performance since her shock win at the US Open last year, backing that up with another confident display against an out-of-sorts Azarenka.Dropping just six games combined in the two victories – each lasting a little over an hour – was a welcome boost for Raducanu after a tough year.

But facing the consistent Pegula was always likely to provide a better assessment of where the Briton’s game is.It was only the second time in Raducanu’s burgeoning career that she has faced a top-10 ranked opponent and, in Pegula, one who has racked up the second highest number of WTA 1000 match wins since the start of 2021.

After losing serve in the third game of the match, Raducanu broke straight back but continued to be put under pressure by Pegula’s heavier ball-striking.Raducanu fought off three more break points to hold for 3-2, and another in the ninth game, before Pegula finally took another chance for a 6-5 lead.That left the 28-year-old American serving for the opening set and she took the chance without conceding a point.

Recent defeats in Washington and Toronto saw Raducanu edged out in tight opening sets before fading quickly against both Liudmila Samsonova and Camila Giorgi.Raducanu hit an untimely double fault to fall a break down early in the second set against Pegula and while her opponent’s level remained slightly higher, showed resilience to stay within a single break.

The narrow lead was enough for the impressive Pegula – who is enjoying her breakout year after struggling with injuries at the start of her career – to serve out the match without facing too much pressure.She will return to Flushing Meadows with renewed hope after a productive and confidence-boosting week in Cincinnati.Elsewhere in the WTA draw, top seed Iga Swiatek lost in the third round for the second successive tournament.

French Open champion Swiatek, 21, was beaten 6-3 6-1 by American Madison Keys, who earned the first win of her career against a world number one.Poland’s Swiatek has lost four of her past eight matches since her 37-match winning streak was ended at Wimbledon.Keys will face Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals after the Wimbledon champion beat American Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2 6-4.Czech Petra Kvitova won 6-1 4-6 6-0 against Tunisia’s Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur, while Estonian second seed Anett Kontaveit was knocked out by China’s Zhang Shuai who triumphed 2-6 6-4 6-4.

In the men’s draw, world number one Daniil Medvedev wore down Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals before he starts his US Open title defence.The Russian faces American Taylor Fritz, who beat Medvedev’s compatriot Andrey Rublev 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 7-5.

Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Canadian seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and American John Isner are also through, along with Croatia’s Borna Coric who followed up his win over Rafael Nadal by beating another Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

(BBC Sports)

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Southern Brave make it three in a row

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Women’s Hundred 2022

Southern Brave made it three wins out of three following a narrow nine-run win over Manchester Originals on Thursday. Chasing 137, Originals found themselves in a very good position to register their second win of the campaign before a huge collapse saw them lose their grip on the game.

Lizelle Lee took some time before taking on Georgia Adams for 16 runs in the space of three deliveries to give her side a strong start. With Emma Lamb also making an impressive start, Originals’ openers added 46 for the opening wicket. The wicket didn’t deter the batting side as they continued to motor along in fine fashion and at one stage were 102/2 with 35 needed off 23 deliveries. Eight wickets in hand at that stage meant the target was definitely achievable.

However, Lauren Bell and Amanda Wellington struck to trigger a collapse. Under pressure, Originals also suffered a run out at that stage as Lamb continued to watch the procession from one end. She went on to make a half-century but she departed when her side needed 19 more runs to win. Brave then managed to close out the innings in perfect fashion to eke out a win.

Earlier in the day, a strong performance from the top order laid a solid foundation for Brave. Smriti Mandhana hit just the second ball of the innings for a boundary and then went berserk by smashing five more fours and a couple of sixes to race to 43 off just 24 balls. Her wicket gave the bowling side some much-needed respite as they started to pull things back.

Even though Danielle Wyatt made 31, a couple of quick wickets pegged back the batting side. Vital cameos right at the death from Maia Bouchier and Freya Kemp ensured Brave went past 130, which was just about enough to remain unbeaten in the competition.

Brief scores:

Southern Brave 136/5 in 100 balls (Smriti Mandhana 43, Danielle Wyatt 31; Sophie Ecclestone 2-32) beat Manchester Originals127/8 in 100 balls (Emma Lamb 57; Amanda Wellington 3-27, Lauren Bell 2-17) by 9 runs

(Cricbuzz)

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South Africa upset England’s excellent summer 

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Rex Clementine at Lord’s

England have  played some outstanding cricket this summer chasing down big targets. Their fearless approach and positive intent  against New Zealand  and India under the new management of Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes has received applauses but against a quality South African side they are playing catch up in the first Test here at Lord’s.

Despite just one half-century in the innings, South Africa had taken a significant 161 run first  innings lead. Thanks to their longer tail they were able to post 325 all out. Stuart Broad at mid-on pulled off a stunning diving catch to dismiss Kagiso Rabada without any addition to the overnight score in the morning.

England appeared to have missed a trick when James Anderson wasn’t called up to share the second new ball. They did well to polish off the tail in the morning as Broad and Ben Stokes finished with three wickets apiece.

South Africa were firmly in the game as Keshav Maharaj picked up two wickets to reduce England to 38 for two. Zak Crawley  was leg before wicket while  Ollie Pope was given out after the tourists reviewed a leg-before appeal.

It could have been lot worse for England but Alex Lees was dropped on four by Keegann Petersen, who dived in front of Aiden Markram and put down the chance. It looked a regulation catch to second slip.

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