by Rex Clementine
Four Sri Lankan cricketers who are set to begin training ahead of the tour of West Indies have failed yesterday’s fitness test conducted by the national cricket team’s new trainer Grant Luden. There was lot of emphasis placed on fitness following Sri Lanka’s humiliating series defeat at the hands of England a fortnight ago and Luden announced that he will be from this point on, measuring fitness through the two kilometer run.
Accordingly, the players had to finish two kilometers in eight minutes and 35 seconds. The 400 meter track of Sughathadasa Stadium was utilized for the fitness test yesterday and effectively the players had to run five rounds within the stipulated time.
While 38-year-old off-spinner Dilruwan Perera and injury prone Kusal Janith Perera failing the test in the first attempt was understandable, young players like Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa failing the test came in for immediate criticism.
Gunathilaka, one of the brightest talents in the country has been a serial offender having been sent home in middle of a series for misconduct on two occasions. Head Coach Mickey Arthur has a reputation of not tolerating indiscipline or poor fitness and it remains to be seen what action he will take when he rejoins training. Arthur is currently receiving treatment after testing positive or COVID-19.
Altogether 32 players of the 36 member pool underwent the fitness test with Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Avishka Fernando and Lahiru Thirimanne being excused.
These are expected to be minimum fitness standards and Luden is likely to reduce the timing as he spends more time with the team. Elite sportsmen are expected to complete the two kilometer run below seven minutes and 30 seconds.
The national selection panel that will be announced next week will discuss the fitness standards before finalizing selections for the West Indies tour.
Sources said that players will be given another opportunity but if they fail a second test in the space of 40 days, they will be unavailable for selections.
SLC had initially spoken about cutting down on players salaries if they failed fitness test.
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SLT-MOBITEL Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021 Concludes Successfully
SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021’ Motorbike and Car racing championship powered by the ultra-high speed fibre broadband and fastest mobile internet services provider in Sri Lanka SLT-MOBITEL concluded successfully amid much fanfare, on the 27th and 28th February, 2021 at the Eliyakanda racing circuit in Browns Hill Matara.
SLT-MOBITEL joined hands with the Southern Motor Sports Club (SMSC) for the 25th edition of the ‘SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb’.
The exciting racing spectacle comprised of 16 motor cycle events and 17 motor car events, on an uphill course covering a distance of 540 metres, The Bike races were conducted on 27th February and the Car races took place the next day, on 28th February, 2021.
Jaden Gunawardena took pole as the faster rider among 103 racers, marking a new race record of 33.63 seconds. Moreover, Ashan Silva made history at the car race as the first person in the event’s 25 year history to complete the race in 31.26 seconds. The race was made extra special as Ashan had in his first run beat Dilan Seneviratna’s record of 31.783 seconds.
The SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb is a national championship event which functions under the purview of the Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS), the governing body for motor sports in Sri Lanka.
Wenuka wins all Thomian final to clinch U16 boys’ singles title
SSC Open Ranking Tennis
by Reemus Fernando
Wenuka Kithnula clinched the Under-16 boys’ singles title with a win over top seed Zaidh Zihar at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Wednesday.
In an all Thomian final Kithnula scored 7-5, 6-4 against Zihar, who had to be content with the runner up title for the second consecutive time within weeks.
For Kithnula, it was the first title in this age category after being eliminated in the quarter-finals of two consecutive tournaments this year. He has however tasted title victory in lower age category events at the SSC Open Raking Tournaments before.
Both Zaidh Zihar and Wenuka Kithnula have been performing consistently since tennis resumed following a long hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The S. Thomas’ College players were also among the top contenders when they were competing in the Under-14 age category often sharing the champion and runner up titles between them.
At the Tennis Nationals 2020 which was played in January this year, Kithnula was eliminated by eventual champion Kiran Viravanathan in the quarter-finals of the Under-16 tournament. Zihar reached the semi-finals in that tournament.
At the last month’s Colombo Championships, Kithnula was knocked out in the quarter-finals, while Zihar reached the final where he was beaten by Viravanathan.
Meanwhile, in the Under-16 girls’ singles, Dinara de Silva and Saajida Razick from Dineshkanthan Tennis School are set to meet in the final as they won their semi finals.
In the Under-14 girls’ singles Arushi Thomas, Onali de Silva, Jayami Thambugalage and Dulkini Ranasinghe advanced to the semi finals.
Under-16 boys’ singles final
Wenuka Kithnula beat Zaidh Zihar 7-5, 6-4
Under-16 girls’ singles semi-finals
Dinara de Silva beat Anithra Dharmaratne 6-2, 6-4
Saajida Razick beat Dinethya Dharmaratne 6-2, 6-3
Under-14 girls’ singles quarter-final
Arushi Thomas beat Melasha Randini 7-5, 6-4,
Onali de Silva beat Inuki Jayaweera 1-6, 6-2, 13-11
Jayami Thambugalage beat Brinda Fernando 6-3, 6-1,
Dulkini Ranasinghe beat Akeesha Silva 3-6, 6-4, 10-8
Top seeds Zihar, Wenuka book final berths
SSC Open Ranking Tennis
Top seeds Zaidh Zihar and Wenuka Kithnula advanced to the final of the Under-16 boys’ singles as they won their respective semi-final matches at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Tuesday.
Zihar, the top seed, beat Hasal Ahangama 6-4, 6-5 to book his second consecutive Under-16 boys’ singles final berth. Zihar was the runner up to Kiran Viravanathan at the last month’s Colombo Championships.
The second seed Kithnula ousted Ransath Peiris 6-2, 6-2 to advance to his first final after being eliminated in the quarter-finals at both the Colombo Championships and the Nationals (U16) in January.
In the Under-12 boys’ singles Saha Kapilasena edged out his bother Tyee 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 to book a place in the final. Kapilasena will now meet Jayin de Saram who won his semi final against Aahil Kaleel (7-6, 2-6, 10-5).
In the Under-16 girls’ singles, third seed Dinethya Dharmaratne secured a semi-final place against number two seed Saajida Razick when she overcame a set defeat to beat Nelini Jayasuriya 3-6, 6-2, 10-8. Razick advanced to the semis with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Nesangi Hemakumara.
In the other semi-final Anitra Dharmaratne is set to meet Dinara de Silva who beat Ruvi Lewkebandara 0-6, 6-1, 10-7. Anitra Dharmaratne secured her spot when she ousted top seed Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-2, 1-6, 12-10.
Under-16 boys’ singles semis
Zaidh Zihar beat Hasal Ahangama 6-4, 6-5
Wenuka Kithnula beat Ransath Peiris 6-2, 6-2
Under-16 girls’ singles quarter-finals
Dinethya Dharmaratne beat Nelini Jayasuriya 3-6, 6-2, 10-8
Saajida Razick beat Nesangi Hemakumara 6-2, 6-2
Dinara de Silva beat Ruvi Lewkebandara 0-6, 6-1, 10-7
Anitra Dharmaratne beat Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-2, 1-6, 12-10
Under-12 boys’ singles semi-finals
Saha Kapilasena beat Tyee Kapilasena 3-6, 6-2, 10-6
Jayin de Saram beat Aahil Kaleel 7-6, 2-6, 10-5
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