by Reemus Fernando
It is 14 years since he first rose to fame winning an unprecedented gold in weightlifting at international level. Chinthana Vidanage who inspired a generation of athletes to take up weightlifting with his Commonwealth Games gold in Australia is not ready to throw in the towel yet.
Vidanage whose highest international success have been achieved at the Commonwealth Games said in an interview with The Island that his long-term plans run at least until 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“I have the 2022 Commonwealth Games in my long term plan. I can’t stop the initiatives I have taken without supporting as many as I could to take up this sport,” Vidanage said.
Vidanage who last enjoyed international success at the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal was a member of the weightlifting team that competed at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where he finished fifth.
“Last year when I established two national records in the 81kg category I proved that I still have the ability to win at Commonwealth Games level. The Covid 19 pandemic has prevented me from accessing my current strength,” said Vidanage who will be 40 when he competes at the 2022 Birmingham Games.
“I consider it my responsibility to continue in this sport for as long as I can. Many Olympians have given up on their sport too early. An Olympian has a wealth of experience that he can give back to fellow athletes who are eager to achieve that top level. Take for example Manjula Kumara (high jump national record holder). He competed for many years. An Olympian like Manjula Kumara could have been an inspiration to many had he been here to guide budding athletes. At the time Manjula gave up athletics he was in his mid 30s. The younger generation even today are struggling to accomplish what he achieved nearly a decade ago. It is not totally about winning. It’s about what you can give back to the next generation of athletes for that particular sport to survive,” said the sailor of his contemporary who competed for nearly two decades as the country’s top high jumper.
Asked whether he has faith in the country’s sports authorities to obtain the knowledge of such Olympians for the betterment of the sport he said: “The Sports Minister himself is a sportsman and I firmly believe that he would take necessary steps to engage the services of veteran sportsmen and help top level athletes who are keen on continuing”
Commenting on the contribution he has made towards his sport as a veteran he said he was able to inspire many both during competition and training. “If you take top weightlifters who are doing well now I can be happy about the contribution I have made. If you take Indika Dissanayake and Palangasinghe, they all trained with me. You can not only give instructions on techniques when you have young people training with you but also one can help them on how to think like a champion.”
Asked for his comments on the impact the Covid 19 pandemic had on his training and preparation he said: “I don’t think that the Covid 19 pandemic had a big impact on training of the top level weightlifters. I did not stop training. I trained according to a plan where I could peak at any given time. In my training plan I don’t have an off season. If you relax you cannot achieve your targets. All top level athletes are training as hard as they can. What we greatly missed was competitions. In the economic front there are problems to many who are not coming under Sports Ministry’s supervision.”
Will Smeed hits the Hundred’s first hundred to get Birmingham Phoenix off the mark
Will Smeed hit the first hundred in the Hundred as Birmingham Phoenix thrashed reigning champions Southern Brave by 53 runs in a sun-soaked Second City.On NHS Heroes Night at Edgbaston, with NHS workers and support staff invited along as a thank you for their brilliant work, a 14,000 crowd was royally entertained as Smeed socked an unbeaten 101 off 50 balls to lift his side to 176 for 4.Brave replied with a paltry 123 all out as Henry Brookes enjoyed a dream debut on the ground he has always called home. The Edgbaston product took 5 for 25 and two excellent catches in the outfield as Phoenix banked their first victory of the campaign and handed James Vince’s side their first defeat in nine matches.
After Phoenix were put in, they leaned heavily on Smeed after Chris Benjamin, promoted to open, and Moeen Ali each raced to 17 but then perished. Benjamin sent up a skier off Marcus Stoinis before Moeen, having lifted George Garton deep into the crowd at midwicket, chopped James Fuller’s first ball on to his stumps.Smeed galloped to a 25-ball half-century, reached with six over long off off Jake Lintott in a stand of 80 in 44 balls with Liam Livingstone. Livingstone was the top six-hitter in last year’s Hundred, but this time never really hit his stride, scoring just two from his first seven balls and 21 from 20 before lifting Lintott to extra cover.
Into the last ten balls, the big question was whether Smeed could complete his first professional hundred. He needed five runs from the last three, and a four and a two took him to the landmark from 49 balls.Phoenix set about defending their total with an increasingly depleted seam attack, Adam Milne (Achilles) having joined Matt Fisher, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone on the absentee list. But Kane Richardson soon stepped up, bowling Vince with his first ball after the Brave captain had smote Moeen for 16 in three balls in the first set.
Richardson conceded just a single from his first five balls and Phoenix struck again when Stoinis was brilliantly caught by Brookes at short fine leg off Tom Helm.Brookes followed that up in sensational style by striking with his second, tenth, 13th, 15th and 17th balls. Quinton de Kock sent back a return catch, Tim David lifted to deep square leg, Alex Davies was bowled through an attempted scoop and Fuller and Garton were pinned lbw. Who needs Milne, Fisher, Woakes and Stone?
Brookes hadn’t quite finished. At 108 for 7, Brave’s one sliver of remaining hope lay in some pyrotechnics from the big-hitting Ross Whiteley, but when he hoiked Benny Howell to long leg who was waiting underneath the ball? Brookes made no mistake and Phoenix closed out a victory which owed everything to the precocious talent of two young Englishmen.Birmingham Phoenix 176 for 4 (Will Smeed 101*) beat Southern Brave 123 (Alex Davies 33, Henry Brookes 5-25, Kane Richardson 3-19) by 53 runs
Niroshan Dickwella stars in Greens 8-run win over Reds
Opening batsman Niroshan Dickwella hammered an unbeaten 76 off 56 balls packed with 8 boundaries as Team Greens defeated Team Reds by 8 runs to register back to back wins in the SLC Skyexchange Invitational T20 League 2022 at the R. Premadasa International Stadium yesterday. Batting first the Greens ran up 161 for 6 off 20 overs with Dickwella dominating the innings. Skipper Dasun Shanaka struck 21 off 12 hitting 3 boundaries before getting run out followed by Dhananjaya de Silva 19 off 12 with 3 boundaries and Ramesh Mendis 11 off 8 (1×4).
The Reds did make a match out of it making 153 for 5 but lacked the final charge to make it despite having enough wickets in hand. Bhanuka Rajapaksa top scored with 34 off 28 with 2 boundaries while skipper Kusal Mendis made 30 off 28 with 3 boundaries and Kamindu Mendis 24 off 22 hitting a six.Upfront opening batsman Lasith Croospulle struck 31 off 24 inclusive of 3 boundaries for the Reds. Dickwella was adjudged Player of the Match.
Team Greens 161/6 (20 Overs) (Niroshan Dickwella n.o. 76, Dasun Shanaka 21, Dhananjaya de Silva 19,.Dinesh Chandimal 15, Ramesh Mendis 11, Asitha Fernando 2/32, Sahan Arachchige 1/13, Matheesha Pathirana 1/25, Wanindu Hasaranga 1/30).
153/5 (20 Overs) (Bhanuka Rajapaksa 34, Lasith Croospulle 31, Kusal Mendis 30, Kamindu Mendis 24, Sahan Arachchige n.o. 19, Ramesh Mendis 1/22, Nimesh Vimukthi 1/23, Nuwan Thushara 1/32, Dhananjaya Lakshan 1/39).
New Zealand juggernaut rolls on with another all-round win
Odean Smith’s all-round show went in vain as West Indies’ batting once again did not manage to come to the party. Chasing 186, West Indies fell 13 runs short in the opening T20I in Jamaica as New Zealand’s juggernaut rolled on.
New Zealand had their returning skipper Kane Williamson put up a solid 47 off 33, and with Devon Conway’s 29-ball 43, the pair gave New Zealand a solid foundation to pile on the runs. There was a rain interruption in the 12th over for almost two hours, and although New Zealand lost momentum, briefly then, they recovered pretty quickly. Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell got starts but couldn’t convert them. It was, however, Jimmy Neesham’s 15-ball 33 in the end that propelled New Zealand towards the finish they wanted. Odean Smith finished with a career-best 3-32, striking at vital junctures to dismiss New Zealand’s top three; else the West Indies could’ve been chasing a lot more.
Tim Southee struck in the second over to dismiss Kyle Mayers, but West Indies would take heart from Shamarh Brooks’s fighting 42 off 43 while wickets fell at the other end as all of New Zealand’s bowlers cashed in. West Indies were reduced to 114/7 with the inevitable end drawing closer, but resistance came, albeit late, of 50 off 23 balls from the eighth-wicket stand Smith and Romario Shepherd.
Smith smashed four boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 27 off 12, while Shepherd struck three sixes and a four in his 31 not out off 16 balls. New Zealand’s spinners shone through once again on a wicket that assisted them, returning four wickets. Santner was the pick with 3-19 in his four leading New Zealand’s defence, making the most of the knowledge gained from his CPL experience.
Brief scores:New Zealand 185/5 in 20 overs (Kane Williamson 47, Devon Conway 43; Odean Smith 3-32) beat West Indies 172/7 in 20 overs (Shamarh Brooks 42; Mitchell Santner 3-19) by 13 runs.
UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake
Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.
British national to be deported
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
News7 days ago
The brother’s saga according to Mahinda
News7 days ago
FSP vows to fight back
News4 days ago
CPA survey claims JVP Leader most popular with 48.5% of those surveyed
News6 days ago
Ranil claims some TNA MPs “voted for me”
Features5 days ago
National Defence College of Sri Lanka
News2 days ago
Weerasekera alone refuses to abandon China ship
News6 days ago
President hints at wealth tax
News4 days ago
Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving