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Harshana, Devindya win gold medals



Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships 2021

Sri Lanka number one ranked, International Master Harshana Thilakarathne and newly crowned Under 10 Girls World Chess Champion Oshini Devindya Gunawardena won their age category golds as the hosts bagged two golds, one silver and a bronze at the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships concluded on Monday.

Thilakarathne won the title in the Under 18 category as the Maliyadeva College player scored seven points out of nine. Thilakarathne beat Aljabari Mohammad (Palastine), Radwan Mahmoud (Palestine), FIDE Master Anees M Mohamed (India), Mazhkenov Alisher (Kazakhstan), Dhingra Aaditya (India) and Khazaei Parviz (Iran) and drew with Bosagh Zadeh Alireza (Iran) and Ranjan Aryan(India). His only defeat was at the hands of Sri Lanka national player LMST De Silva.

Young Oshini Devindya Gunawardena showed her supremacy by winning the Under 10 category. Though she lost her second game to Indian player, R. Charudharshini (India) she recovered well scoring wins against all other players Bhuchar Ridhima (India), A. Anjana (India), Reya Banker (India), Gunesh Dessai Saeeja (India), GHS Sanulya (Sri Lanka), Akbari Rosha (Iran),Ukkali Krupa(India) and Dongre Anshika (India) to score eight points out of nine. Oshini is from Furguson High School, Ratnapura and is coached by Akhila Kavinda, a prominent chess trainer.

The age category victories by Thilakarathne and Devindya will now make them eligible to compete in the FIDE World Youth and Cadet Chess Grand Prix 2021 conducted by the International Chess Federation.

Nalanda College player Susal de Silva and Dharmasoka College player Esandi Newansa were the winners of the silver (Under-18 category) and bronze medals (Under-12) in their respective age categories.

The Nalandian suffered two early losses in the second and third rounds to Ranjan Arayan(India) and Kusalwin Liyanage respectively but came back fighting to score 6 1/2 points in the other games. He beat Al Busaidi Hamood (Oman), Radwan Mahmoud (Palestine), Khalifa Essa Albalooshi (UAE), Khazaei Parviz (Iran), Dhingra Aaditya (India), Harshana and Mazhkenov Alisher (Kazakhstan).

The Sokian also scored 6 ½ points out of nine. She beat Anujana Hasandi (Sri Lanka), Sachi Jain (India), Rouda Essa Alserkal (UAE), Sirin Kalyani (India), Ebrahimi Rashti Asal (Iran) and Abaeva Aiana and drew with Alavi Mahsa (Iran). Iranians Imani Adrina and Davari Sara were the only players to defeat her.

There was a close contest for medals between India and Iran. India won five gold medals in the Under 16 (Jimmy Jubbin with a score of 7 ½ out of 9), Under 14 Open (Singh Sahib with a score of 7 ½ out of 9), Under-14 Girls (Sreekumar Anupam with a score of 8 ½ out of 9), Under 10 Open (Ethan Zaz with 7 ½ points out of 9) and Under 8 Open (B Vishruth with a score of 8 out of 9) categories. Iran’s four golds came in the Under 18 Girls (Mohammadi Melika with a score of 7 ½ out of 9), Under 16 girls (Mohammadi Melika with a perfect score of 9 out of 9), Under 12 Open (Gholami Armin with a score of 8 out of 9) and Under 12 Girls (Davari Sara with a perfect score of 9 out of 9) categories. According to Chess Federation of Sri Lanka the overall champions were to be decided on Tuesday after officials receive the fare play report of the Under 8 Girls category.

The Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships conducted by the Asian Chess Federation and organized by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka attracted a total of 850 players. It was held on the Tornelo platform with a time control of 15 minutes.

Players from Bangladesh, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Palestine, Syria, UAE, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka participated in the event.

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Cheering Indian crowds welcome Pakistan team before ICC Cricket World Cup




A Pakistan cricket fan cheers as the cricket team arrives at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India (pic Aljazeera)

The Pakistan cricket team has been greeted with warm applause and loud cheers by hundreds of Indian fans upon its arrival before the ICC World Cup 2023, which starts on October 5.

The contingent landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad late on Wednesday and was given a raucous welcome by local fans who had lined up to catch a glimpse of the cricket stars from across the border.

Videos posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on X, formerly Twitter, showed fans taking photographs with their phones and shouting the Pakistani players’ names to catch their attention as the squad walked past them inside the terminal.

Bigger crowds awaited the players outside the terminal and along their route out of the airport.

They let out loud cheers for Pakistan’s captain and star batter Babar Azam when he smiled and waved back while boarding the team’s bus.


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Danushka Gunathilaka found not guilty




Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup (pic ABC)

Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been found not guilty of sexual intercourse without consent following an accusation of “stealthing” involving a Tinder date in Sydney.

The 32-year-old was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup, after he went for drinks with a woman near the Opera House.

He had chatted online for several days and then had dinner with the woman, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, before being invited back to her eastern suburbs home, the NSW District Court heard.

The Crown’s case was that he removed a condom during intercourse without the woman’s knowledge when she had consented only to protected sex.

The complainant told the court she did not see the batsman remove the condom, but saw it on the floor shortly after the intercourse stopped.

Judge Sarah Huggett today found evidence about the “genesis” of the woman’s complaint undermined the reliability of her evidence. The judge said the woman had given different accounts in her two statements; the second, given in April this year, went into further detail about the issue of ‘stealthing’ and added that the complainant did not have a “clear memory” of what happened around the time she saw the condom on the floor.

“The evidence establishes there was no opportunity for the accused to remove the condom during the intercourse because that intercourse was continuous,” she said.

Judge Huggett considered the woman’s first conversations with two close friends, which seemed to frame the complaint in terms of the roughness of the sexual activity.

Gunathilaka’s defence counsel argued the woman lied, gave self-serving evidence and appeared to not remember parts of the night that were inconsistent with a “narrative” she created, which morphed over time.

Murugan Thangaraj SC told the judge the Crown failed to establish the woman’s reliability and highlighted what he said were inconsistencies and implausibility in her version of events.

He said it was “completely illogical” to claim she felt ambushed before lighting candles in her bedroom, effectively setting it up for “a romantic sexual liaison”.

In court, the woman alleged Mr Gunathilaka kissed her “forcefully” on the way home and on her couch, where she felt “ambushed” before moving to the bedroom.

She further alleged he choked her three times during sex, leaving her fearful for her life, and ignored requests to go slow.

Judge Huggett found the woman was an “intelligent witness who gave evidence in a considered way”, and was overall a “calm and responsive” witness.

But the judge said there were times when it appeared the complainant was motivated by a desire to paint the accused in an unfavourable light.

In his police interview, Mr Gunathilaka said he told her his preference generally was to not use condoms but wanted to on the night because it was their first meeting.

In the interview, the cricketer made mention of there being two condoms because one malfunctioned — which the Crown said was a deliberate mistruth.

But Judge Huggett disagreed, finding that his answers were the result of “confusion, fatigue, a language barrier and possibly memory”.

“I formed the distinct impression he was doing his best to be truthful and assist the police,” she said.

Sitting in the interview room, Gunathilaka told police the woman had organised him a taxi and he kissed her before leaving. “She didn’t even text me, I didn’t text her also,” he said.  “And that’s it, then I’m here.”

Gunathilaka has been in Australia on bail since mid-November.

(ABC News)

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Jayantha Paranathala passes away 



Cricket administrator Jayantha Paranathala has passed away at the age of 72. He captained Police, rose to the rank of Senior DIG and was a Vice-President of SLC. He also had a stint as Team Manager of the national cricket team and served as a member of the National Selection Panel.

He was instrumental in bringing BRC to its current glory.

 In remembrance of his service to the club, the remains of Mr. Jayantha Paranathala will be brought to BRC today (28) from  2:00 PM to 5:30 PM, providing an opportunity for friends, family, and colleagues to pay their last respects to a man whose legacy will endure in the annals of Sri Lankan cricket.

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