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Athletes Salamuthu, Nethmika deliver strong message with top grades at O/L Exam



All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships

By Reemus Fernando  

Asian Youth Athletics Championship participants, sprinter Salamuthu Jayathilaka and jumper Nethmika Madushani Herath have a strong message to deliver when they vie for honours on day one of the All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships which starts at the Sugathadasa Stadium today.

Thurstan College athlete Jayathilaka and Nannapurava MV, Bibila long jumper Nethmika are the favourites in their respective age group events when the Education Ministry conducted event makes a return after a lapse of two years. The duo who competed at the recently held Asian Youth Athletics Championships in Kuwait have obtained top grades at the GCE O/L exam.

Their ability to match outstanding sports achievements with top grades at the crucial exam sends a strong message to parents who discourage children from taking sports seriously.

While Jayathilaka has obtained nine ‘A’s, Herath has acquired eight ‘A’s and a ‘B’ at the exam. The two youth athletes who are the top ranked in their respective disciplines in the Under 18 age category in Sri Lanka were part of the youth team that returned with a rich haul of medals from Kuwait.

In the boys’ 400 metres, Jayathilaka won the silver medal at the Asian event in a time of 48.56 seconds. Though she could not win a medal Madushani has proven beyond doubt that she is among the best in Asia in her age category. Her 6.09 metres long jump feat in Colombo in September is still the third best performance in Asia this year in her age category.

It requires a great deal of hard work and commitment from the part of the athlete, his or her coach and parents and the support from the school to achieve such outstanding feats.

Speaking to The Island, Nethmika’s coach Krishantha Kumara said that a couple of teachers at her school Nannapura MV, Bibila went out of their way to give her lessons when she missed classes due to training.

“At Nannapurawa she cannot start training early because the earliest bus that she can take from Yakunnawa, Bendiwewa reaches school around 6.45 am. With some training sessions lasting for two to three hours she misses the first few classes in the morning. Some of the teachers went out of their way to help her. She also took private tuition. I am happy that she could obtain high grades at the exam despite following a tough training schedule. She has set an example,” said Kumara.

He said that her outstanding achievement has attracted the interest of a private tuition institute in her area, namely Universence, which has come forward to provide free tuition for her advance level.

Speaking to The Island Asanka Rajakaruna, the current coach of Jayathilaka said that the sprinter’s parents had helped meticulously plan the time table for their son to balance both studies and sports. He thanked both the parents and the school administration for the support extended.Nethmika who established a national junior record in the long jump in September will compete in the Under 18 triple jump final today, while Jayathilaka is set to compete in the Under 18 boys’ 400 metres heats.

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India crowned champions of inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup




The Shafali Verma-led side beat England in the final by seven wickets

Titas Sadhu, Archana Devi and Parshavi Chopra took two scalps each while Gongadi Trisha and Soumya Tiwari made useful scores as India Under-19 scripted a memorable seven wicket win over England Under-19 to seal the inaugural Women’s Under-19 World Cup in Potchefstroom. India U19 chased down the paltry target of 69 in the 14th over.

Brief scores:

England U19 68 in 17.1 overs (Ryana Macdonald Gay 19; Titas Sadhu 2-6) lost to India U19 69/3 in 14 overs (Soumya Tiwari 24*; Alexa Stonehouse 1-8) by seven wickets


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ICC names all-woman panel of match officials for 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup



The upcoming women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa will have an all-woman line-up of match officials, in what will be a landmark first in the game.On Friday, the ICC announced the panel of three match referees and ten umpires, featuring officials from seven countries. The match referees are GS Lakshmi (India), Shandre Fritz (South Africa) and Michell Pereira (Sri Lanka). The on-field and TV umpires will be Sue Redfern (England), Eloise Sheridan (Australia), Claire Polosak (Australia), Jacqueline Williams (West Indies), Kim Cotton (new Zealand), Lauren Agenbag (South Africa), Anna Harris (England), Vrinda Rathi (India), N Janani (India) and Nimali Perera (Sri Lanka).

Selecting this panel was part of the governing body’s “strategic ambition of advancing the involvement and visibility of women in cricket,” an ICC statement said.

The panel will also have the most number of women umpires and match referees in a global ICC tournament, four more than the nine who are at the ongoing women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup.

“Women’s cricket has been growing rapidly in recent years and as part of that, we have been building the pathways to ensure more women have the opportunity to officiate at the highest level,” Wasim Khan, ICC’s general manager of cricket, said. “This announcement is a reflection of our intent in this space and just the start of our journey where men and women enjoy the same opportunities across our sport.

“We are committed to continuing to support our female match officials and provide opportunities to showcase their talents on the global stage. I wish them all the best for the tournament.”

The eighth edition of the women’s T20 World Cup begins with hosts South Africa facing Sri Lanka on February 10. Defending champions Australia are in Group A with Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Arica. Group B has England, India, Ireland, Pakistan and West Indies. The top two teams from each group will move into the semi-finals.The matches will be played in Cape Town, Gqeberha and Paarl with the final scheduled for February 26 at Newlands.


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ACC to meet in Bahrain on Feb 4, call on Asia Cup expected



The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will meet in Bahrain on February 4. A decision on the Asia Cup is expected at the much-awaited meeting where the representatives of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be present. It could be a stormy affair in the Persian Gulf city of Bahrain, with the two boards having been at loggerheads.

The hosting right of the upcoming Asia Cup, which will be an ODI championship among the continental sides, has been a bone of contention, with the BCCI and the PCB being at odds over the venue. The August-September championship was allotted to the PCB but in view of political tension between India and Pakistan, the BCCI had declared that the Indian team will not be in a position to travel to Pakistan.

The BCCI’s refusal was initially escalated by former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja who threatened to boycott the World Cup in India later in the year. A similar stand seems to have also been taken by Najam Sethi, who succeeded Raja, but there seems little support from other ACC members to the PCB position.

The BCCI and the PCB sparred recently after Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary and ACC president, announced the schedule of the council. It was responded with sarcasm by Sethi who said in a social media post, “Thank you @JayShah for unilaterally presenting @ACCMedia1 structure & calendars 2023-24 especially relating to Asia Cup 2023 for which Pakistan is the event host. While you are at it, you might as well present structure & calendar of our PSL 2023! A swift response will be appreciated (sic).”

The PCB chairman’s comments were rejected by ACC which declared that Shah’s post was not unilateral. “It has come to our knowledge that PCB Chairman Mr Najam Sethi has made a comment on the ACC President unilaterally taking the decision on finalising the calendar and announcing the same. The ACC wants to clarify that it has followed well established and due process. The calendar was approved by its Development Committee and Finance & Marketing Committee in a meeting held on December 13th, 2022.

“The calendar was then communicated to all the participating members individually, including Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), via an email dated December 22nd, 2022. While responses were received from certain Member Boards, no comments or suggested modifications were received from PCB. In view of the above, Mr Sethi’s comments on a social media platform are baseless and are vehemently denied by the ACC,” the ACC said backing Shah’s position.

With the meeting in Bahrain happening in such a backdrop, it could be a stormy affair. A BCCI official, who was in Mumbai for the unveiling of Women’s Premier League teams, confirmed a final decision on the Asia Cup will be taken in Bahrain on February 4.


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