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Golf Union wants to make a strong showing at Asian Games

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Chanaka Perera and Taniya Balasuriya posing with Asst. National Coach Pradeep Kumara at Digana

The Sri Lanka Golf Union has made elaborate plans to complete an exhaustive schedule in the forthcoming months to improve the standard of Golf in the country. Covid -19 did set the proposed programs behind. The Golf Union together with the Ministry of Sport, the National Olympic Committee, and the health authorities have made plans to fast forward the delayed tournaments in the coming months.

The Sri Lanka Golf Union will send two players to participate in the forthcoming Asia Pacific Golf Tournaments for men and women which takes place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively. The tournament for men will be held in Dubai from November 7 to 14 whilst the women’s event will be in Abu Dhabi from November 15 to 21.

M.U. Chanaka Perera will tee off in the men’s category whilst Taniya Balasuriya will take part in the women’s. Both golfers have been invited by virtue of their World Amateur Handicap Ranking. Young Vinod Weerasinghe a rising star too was invited to participate in the men’s category but due to unforeseen circumstances will not make it to Dubai.

The Golf Union has finalized different squads to be put through a strenuous training schedule in the coming months. The National Squad, Development Squad and Junior Squads will undergo on-course training in addition to physical fitness training under supervision.

“Plans are in place to get both men and women golfers in peak condition by mid-next year to make a strong showing at the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China. Sri Lanka Golf will enter four male and four female golfers to participate in the individual and team events,” a Golf Union press release quoted Michael Perera Magala, President of the Golf Union as having said.

“Plans are underway to hold Sri Lanka’s ranking Tournaments in November and December 2021 and conclude the prestigious 132 Sri Lanka Amateur Championship and Sri Lanka Open in January 2022. We are in the process of moving to a unified and worldwide accepted World Handicapping System for all golfers with the support of all Golf Clubs in Sri Lanka. This will be a beneficial move to all golfers in Sri Lanka,” a Golf Union press release quoted Ranil Pieris, Vice President of Sri Lanka Golf as having said.

The lack of golf courses has been a setback for young golfers to take up the game though Sri Lankans have been gifted with high hand/eye coordination. Led by the Royal Colombo Golf Club and ably supported by Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, Victoria Golf Club- Digana, Eagles Golf Club- Trinco, and Shangri-La Golf Club- Hambantota, have all been supportive in their willing service to the Golf Union by extending their facilities to improve Golf in Sri Lanka.

According to the Golf Union, women’s golf is in an upward trend with many young players taking to the game ably supported by Anouk Chitty. “We intend making a strong showing at the forthcoming Asian Games,” Chitty was quoted having said.

Junior Golf is an area that has been the focal point and Niloo Jayetileke has her sights set on drawing many new talented players to the game. “Royal and Ancient in Scotland have a support programme which has been beneficial in this area. Five tournaments are being held for Juniors each year and plans are underway to tie up with an Indian Golfing Group to extend this programme to reach a greater height,” Niloo Jayetileke was quoted having said.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Sport has been approached to build a Golf Range for the SLGU. Led by President Michael Perera Magala, Ranil Pieris, Air Chief Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema, Sudath Getawakanda, Lal Wickrematunge, and the Council members are laying the foundation in popularizing golf in Sri Lanka.



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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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