98th National Athletics Championship- Day II
by Reemus Fernando
Former Ratnayake Central, Walala athlete Dilshi Kumarasinghe proved beyond doubt that she has come of age to take on the mantle of her senior counterparts when she edged out the reigning champion and national record holder in winning the women’s 800 metres title on day two of the 98th National Athletics Championship in Colombo on Sunday.
On a day which witnessed several other reigning champions being ousted, Kumarasinghe came almost close to lowering the national record held by Gayanthika Abeyratne as she stopped the clock at 2:02.80 seconds, just 25 milliseconds shy of the 2017 record. .
The Sri Lanka Army athlete, who was earmarked by her coach Susantha Fernando as an Olympic prospect even before she had first tasted regional international success, beat the formidable duo in the last two hundred metres.
Defending champion Nimali Liyanarachchi and national record holder Abeyratne settled for second and third place respectively.
With her victory she also proved that the last South Asian Games gold victory in the absence of Liyanarachchi was not a fluke. Incidentally Kumarasinghe was filling the shoes of her senior counterpart at the regional Games in Nepal last year. Liyanarachchi missed the SA Games after meeting with an accident on the eve of the team’s departure.
In a similar scenario Rusiru Chathuranga beat the field in his trademark sprint finish forcing defending champion and national record holder Indunil Herath to abandon the race in the last 150 metres. It was Herath who set the early pace but Chathuranga emerged victorious clocking 1:49.82 seconds.
Earlier on, Olympic hopeful Nilani Ratnayake abandoned the women’s 5,000 metres with two laps remaining in the race. The winner of the steeplechase on day one, Ratnayake was going at a near record pace early but going in to the last four laps she showed signs of difficulties and ended her fight during the crucial stage clearing Nilanthi Lanka Ariyadasa an easy passage to victory. Ariyadasa returned a time of 17:13.24 seconds.
The Saturday’s men’s 5000 metres winner R.M.S. Pushpakumara was beaten for the first time in more than a decade in the men’s steeplechase when Eranda Bandara Herath piped him to the second place in the last lap.
Hurdler Ireshani Rajasinghe got the better of defending champion and South Asian Games gold medallist Lakshika Sugandi as she returned a time of 13.85 seconds to win the 100 metres hurdles. Sugandi clocked 13.89 seconds. Rajasinghe was the bronze medallist at the last SA Games.
In the men’s 110 metres hurdles Roshan Dhammika clocked 14.33 seconds to win the gold.
In a notable field event feat, Sachini Kaushalya established a new national record clearing 3.56 metres to win the pole vault. She improved Aniththa Jegatheeswaran’s 2018 mark by one centimeter.
M.P. Perera (women’s discus- 38.69 metres), S.M.M. Madushani (women’s high jump- 1.60m), Z.T.M. Aazic (men’s discus- 44.78m) and Lakshini Dissanayaka (heptathlon- 3526) were the winners of other events held on Sunday.
Dharmasena reaches singles final
Ranjan Dharmasena booked a berth in the singles final against Korea’s Sung Bong Han as he beat Sagg-Ho OH 6-1, 6-2 in his semi-final in the Sri Lanka Open International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.
Sung Bong Han of Korea prevented an all-hosts final as he beat Gamini Dissanayake 6-1, 6-2 in the other semi-final.
New champions add spice to tennis singles events
By A Special Sports Correspondent
Tennis star Sharmal Dissanayake (26) made a comeback to the racquet game in Sri Lanka when he won the Men’s Singles event at the First Capital SSC Open Championships worked off in Colombo recently.
The annual SSC Open tournament gave a great start to the tennis scene in the island for the New Year. It was also a new start for champion player Dissanayake after being away from playing on Sri Lankan courts at local tournaments for a while. He overcame stiff resistance from Chaturya Nilaweera in the finals, which went for four sets. Dissanayake won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and 7-6 in the pulsating final which was scheduled to go for five sets if required. This is the first time five-set tennis was introduced at a local tournament in the island.
Dissanayake has played at peak condition in past tournaments. Fitness was not a cause for Dissanayake at this tournament, but he can reach top playing condition as the months roll away this season. The talk doing the rounds in the tennis circles is that Dissanayake wants to raise his game and fitness and make himself available for the country at overseas assignments too. Meanwhile, Nilaweera, an up-and-coming player with much promise, had to sweat his way into the final with a tough semi-final fixture against Kiran Vairawanathan. It was good to see seasoned players like Guyanga Weerasekare contesting the SSC Open Men’s event. The men’s open tennis event overall in the country has just got the needed boost with the competition that’s raised by so many talented players entering and wanting a share of the pie.
Dissanayake won the Arjun Fernando Challenge Trophy for his efforts at the tournament which was witnessed by an appreciative crowd.
Schoolgirl Sajida Razick made a giant kill in the women’s open singles by beating seasoned player Neyara Weerawansa (6-3, 6-4). Despite taking the first set with her power play Razick saw the experienced Weerawansa breathing down her back in a well-contested second set. Both players made their share of unforced errors, but that didn’t take the punch away from the game Razick looked so confident throughout the game and brilliantly negotiated Weerawansa’s spirited late rally during the second set before winning her first major title in senior tennis. Razick overcame Vishmi Serasinghe in the semis while Weerawansa got the better of Dinara de Silva. Razick won the Sriya Munasinghe Challenge Trophy for her efforts.
Razick has raised her game tremendously and plays some powerful shots and also uses the full court. It would have been interesting to see how she would have fared against Anjalika Kurera had the latter taken part in this tournament. Incidentally, Kurera was not available for the SSC Open this season because she was busy preparing for a vital examination.
The tournament not only attracted its title sponsor in First Capital, but also saw Perera & Sons and Dimo coming in as co-sponsors. It’s one of the most looked forward-to events in the local tennis events calendar; having recorded its start in the 1980s. The SSC Open also serves as a category 1 ranking tournament.
The tournament was organized by the SSC Tennis Home Committee and held under the auspices of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association.
Amameth scores back-to-back centuries
Under 19 Cricket
by Reemus Fernando
Kavindu Amameth scored back-to-back centuries and put on a partnership over 200 runs for the second time in the match as Mahanama College earned major honours against De Mazenod in the Under 19 Traditional cricket encounter which ended in a draw at Kandana on Tuesday.
Amameth followed up his first innings score with an identical knock. In the first essay, he conceded 173 balls for his knock. But in his second he consumed only 101 balls as he cracked 11 fours and seven sixes to boost the score. He also put on a first-wicket stand of 209 runs with Anjala Bandara as Mahanama posted 323 for three wickets at close on a pitch where the home team could muster only 150.
It is also the first time this season that a batsman scored back-to-back centuries in a match.
At Ananda Mawatha, Mahinda College restricted the home team to 159 runs as Dhanuja Induwara picked up five wickets for the visitors to dominate day one of the traditional encounter.
Mahanama take major honours
363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71) and 323 for 3 in 54 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Anjala Bandara 84, Koojana Perera 55, Inuka Karannagoda 52n.o.; Thushan Udayanga 2/56)
2 for 1 overnight 150 all out in 49.0 overs (Neshan Dias 65, Shevan Menusha 25, Uvindu Perera 20, Thareen Perera 20; Chamika Heenatigala 4/12, Inuka Karannagoda 2/26, Rashmika Perera 2/29)
Mahinda dominate day one at Ananda Mawatha
159 all out in 53.1 overs (Viduna Wijebandara 27, Iruth Gimshan 25, Ayesh Shahimal 42; Dhanuja Induwara 5/33, Tharusha Dilshan 2/37, Arosha Udayandga 2/18)
142 for 5 in 44 overs (Hareen Achintha 36, Hiruna Gallage 38n.o., Tharusha Dilshan 21n.o.; Ashinsa Deshan Nainayaka 4/40)
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