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Chandrishan Perera; rugby great and media legend

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Chandrishan’s tenure at SLC was quite successful. Since then more than a dozen Media Managers have come and gone but the initiatives and traditions he started still remain.

by Rex Clementine

Former Sri Lanka rugby captain Chandrishan Perera passed away at the age of 60 after being ill for a while.

We leave the rugby experts to talk about his exploits on the field in that sport and discuss here his time with the cricket board.

In 1999, when Thilanga Sumathipala launched Sri Lanka Cricket’s first ever media unit, he chose Chandrishan Perera to head the new entity. It was quite a success.

This writer’s first meeting of Shan, as he was popularly known, was at the old Galle press box in 2001 during the England Test. There was no lift in Galle 20 years ago and walking up the stairs, you could hear two gentlemen arguing at top of their voices.

BBC’s Jonathan Agnew was threatening Shan. Agnew showed his mobile phone, something rare those days, and said, ‘If I dial this and speak, the whole world will hear the treatment SLC is giving BBC.’

Now it was Shan’s turn. He showed his phone and shouted. ‘Here’s the f***ing phone mate. Tell the world BBC’s days are over!’

Test cricket was only supposed to be a tough affair for players. Not for a reporter, who was covering his third Test match.

It was quite intriguing too. Who is this local guy shredding to pieces world’s leading media entity and a former Test player?

Later, it emerged that BBC were at fault. Cricket telecast and broadcast had been always BBC’s right in England, even after Kerry Packer had emerged down under. But these were changing times. SLC had sold the broadcasting rights to Talk Sport and BBC had contravened terms of their accreditation. Shan chased Agnew to the Galle Fort. Yes, the exact place SLC had chased us local reporters during the England Tests early this year in Galle.

Later, you also got to know that Agnew and Shan actually knew each other pretty well having played cricket in England.

Shan’s tenure at SLC was quite successful. Since then more than a dozen Media Managers have come and gone but the initiatives and traditions he started still remain.

Shan was also a brilliant commentator. Educated in London his command of the English language was classy. He also had stints as a fitness trainer with Sri Lanka Cricket in the early days. Later, players who had issues with fitness privately hired him. Former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, one of the fittest guys to play the game, used the services of Shan regularly.

Shan returned to Sri Lanka Cricket as Media Manager in 2016. Sri Lanka toured England that year and at the end of the Test series, two of us were behind Lord’s pavilion waiting for Shan to bring along one of the players who had come for the limited over series. This was going to be The Island’s last copy on the tour as we were not going to cover the limited overs series having exhausted our budget.

Shan brought Upul Tharanga. As we were chatting, it started raining. We had enough cover and weren’t getting wet, but the rain was so heavy that we knew that there will be trouble with interview’s audio. So Shan appealed to the steward to let us in to the Lord’s pavilion. The steward politely informed that nobody is allowed inside the Lord’s pavilion without a jacket and a tie. We reporters rarely wear those luxury garments.

Shan then called up an office staff at Lord’s explaining that an exemption must be made as the game is over and no harm in breaking the rule when no one is there to pick a bone with you. We were allowed in. First time at Lord’s pavilion was an unforgettable experience. Thanks to one and only Shan.

After the interview, as the two of us were leaving, Shan called up yours truly, put his arm around and said, ‘The President is making you an offer that you can’t refuse. Stay back for the ODIs.’

The offer was politely turned down. Not because of being a paragon of virtues, but married men need to get their priorities right.

Rest well Shan.



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Dimuth on the verge of several batting milestones

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Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne will equal the World Record for most consecutive fifties in Test match cricket if he scores a half-century in the first innings of the second Test against West Indies in Galle starting Monday.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne has hit a purple patch this year and the 147 he scored against West Indies in the first Test in Galle this week was his fourth hundred in 2021. The 33-year-old came up with an equally solid 83 in the second essay as Sri Lanka won by 187 runs and a session to spare.

His exploits have seen him accumulating 854 runs this year in Test cricket at an average of 77. Only Joe Root and Rohit Sharma have scored more runs in 2021 although they have played more games with the England captain featuring in 12 Tests and the Indian star appearing in 11 games compared to Dimuth’s six Tests.

Dimuth has now scored six consecutive half-centuries and a 50 in the second Test starting on Monday will see him equaling a World Record shared by six other players. Everton Weeks, Kumar Sangakkara, Andy Flower, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, Chris Rogers and K.L. Rahul have all scored seven consecutive fifties in Test cricket.

In the list of most runs in Test cricket for Sri Lanka, Dimuth went past former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga this year and he is currently the ninth highest run scorer. He’s on 5406 runs and if he scores 96 more runs in the second Test, he will knock off three more Sri Lankan greats; Tilan Samaraweera (5462), T.M. Dilshan (5492) and Marvan Atapattu (5502). That will see him sitting at number six among the highest run scorers for the country.

Dimuth is hungry for runs and he wants to finish his career with 10,000 Test runs. Only two other Sri Lankan greats have achieved the milestone. Kumar Sangakkara with 12,400 runs and Mahela Jayawardene with 11,814 runs are the only members of the exclusive 10,000 club.

“Scoring 10,000 runs is my dream. I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve that, but that’s what I’ve got in my mind. If I can continue this form, I’ll be able to get close to 10,000 runs. I like to improve as much as I can, and whenever I finish a match, I’ll go and check where I am on the Sri Lanka run charts, to figure out how many I need to score to pass someone,” Karunaratne explained.

The Sri Lankan captain was Man of the Match as Sri Lanka took a 1-0 lead to retain the Sobers-Tissera Trophy. The win also enabled Sri Lanka to collect 12 points in the ICC Test Championship.

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Amasha smashes Susanthika’s Army record, Roshan dazzles with hurdles feat

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Amasha de Silva smashed Susanthika Jayasinghe’s meet record in the women’s 100 metres.(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

57th Army Athletics Championships  

by Reemus Fernando  

Sprinter Amasha de Silva smashed Olympian Susanthika Jayasinghe’s longstanding Army Athletics Championship 100 metres record and Roshan Dhammika Ranatunga came almost close to breaking his national record in the 110 metres hurdles as they blazed the track on the final day of the Army Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.

Amasha clocked 11.67 seconds to win the women’s 100 metres final ahead of Susanthika’s niece Medhani Jayamanne in the afternoon. She broke Susanthika’s 1994 hand-timed record of 11.6 seconds. With yesterday’s feat, Amasha has now taken both the 100 and 200 metres records of the Army Championships under her belt. The athlete trained by Sanjeewa Weerakkody has a personal best of 10.55 seconds from 2020 and is the fourth fastest athlete in history in the 100 metres behind Susanthika, Damayanthi Dharsha and Rumeshika Ratnayake.

In the morning, Roshan Dhammika produced the second-fastest legal time ever run by a Sri Lankan in the men’s 110 metres hurdles.

Dhammika, who broke Olympian Mahesh Perera’s 24-year-old 110 metres hurdles record at the National Championships four weeks ago, clocked 13.91 seconds to win the gold in the 110 metres hurdles final. The SLEME athlete’s effort had a minus 1.9 wind reading as he finished the event just two milliseconds slower than his national record.

His coach Thiron Gamage was confident that Dhammika would improve his national record once again and he almost achieved the target running against the wind. “He missed the record but with this feat, Dhammika has proved beyond doubt that his national record was not a fluke,” Gamage told The Island after the new meet record performance.

How much he has got to offer was evident from the time Dhammika ran a relaxed heat in the morning. Despite breaking the second hurdle he was still leading when he cleared the last hurdle but slowed down to finish third in the heat.  In the final his only blemish was breaking the last hurdle. Still, he was metres ahead of the rest. With his third sub 14 seconds run (13.97 secs and 13.89 secs at the Nationals) the former Kularatne Central, Godakawela athlete has become the only Sri Lankan to run the distance under that mark legally.

All three athletes who had previously run the distance under 14 seconds, namely Chaminda Fonseka, Supun Viraj Randeniya and Mahesh Perera had wind readings above the legal limit.

Those were not the only impressive track performances as Pabasara Niku produced his personal best with a 46.36 seconds to finish first in the men’s 400 metres final which was minus national champion Kalinga Kumarage and the other leading contender Aruna Dharshana. Dharshana pulled out from the competition due to injury in the semi-finals on Thursday. Harsha Karunaratne who won the 800 metres, finished second behind Niku in a time of 46.83 seconds. In the corresponding women’s event, Nadeesha Ramanayake bagged the gold medal. She clocked 54.54 seconds.

There were two other individual meet record performances from Sarangi Silva in the women’s long jump and Samith Fernando in the men’s shot put.

Sarangi cleared a distance of 6.14 metres to win the long jump. Fernando cleared 16.60 metres to create his record.

Nilani Ratnayake, whose steeplechase feat was adjudged the most outstanding performance in the female category won her third individual gold medal when she clocked 4:25.20 seconds to finish the 1,500 metres. While Samantha Pushpakumara (RMS) won the men’s 10,000 metres in a time of 31:12.28 seconds, H.A.M. Dilrukshi was the winner in the women’s discus throw. Men’s 100 metres winner Himasha Eshan (10.29 secs), who was involved in many victories for the Artillery regiment- the winners of the championship- won the award for the most outstanding performance in the men’s category.

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From the Army Athletics Championships

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The 57th Army Athletics Championships concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday. The five-day event witnessed several record breaking performances by leading national athletes. Here are some action pictures from day five of the championships.

(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi) 

 

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