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Hemaka Amarasuriya responds to claims of Thilanga attending ICC Meeting



Former Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Mr. Hemaka Amarasuriya and the leading sponsor of the sport prior to that at a time when the game was in dire straits has sent us the following response for the article titled ‘Mahanama’s book reveals Ranil backed Thilanga undermining Amarasuriya’ that appeared in last week’s Sunday Island.

“I write with reference to the above article and wish to point out certain misstatements and inaccuracies pertaining to the Book written by former Sri Lanka cricketer Roshan Mahanama – ‘My innings, Retired Hurt to the Best View of the Game’.

The first and second paragraphs of the said article are reproduced below:

‘Among those who follow the gentleman’s game closely, many regard UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Mr. Clean. But if they get hold of Roshan Mahnama’s new book, they will have a second opinion. Mahanama in his autobiography ‘My Innings’ goes onto claim that Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister in 2002 stopped then cricket chief Hemaka Amarasuriya from attending an ICC Meeting and instead nominated Thilanga Sumathipala.

“We were appointed to mange Sri Lanka Cricket due to a prevalent issue at the time, till fresh elections appointed a new committee. However, this was a very brief stint as the level of politics involved was contrary to my work ethic and principles. As an example, the Interim Committee decided that the Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya should attend the ICC annual meeting. However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe overruled and said that Thilanga Sumathipala who was not even part of the committee at the time, would attend instead,” writes Mahanama.

I wish to set the record straight that I served as the Chairman of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket at the relevant time in 2002 when Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

As the Chairman of the said Interim Committee, I was designated by the Committee to represent Sri Lanka Cricket at the forthcoming meeting of the Directors of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be held at Lord’s Cricket Grounds, London which was the then Headquarters of ICC.

It was brought to the notice of Sri Lanka Cricket that Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala was lobbying to attend the said meeting of the Directors of the International Cricket Council. Some members of the Interim Committee did resign over this issue.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made it clear that myself as the Chairman of the Interim Committee should attend and requested Sri Lanka Cricket and the then Secretary of the Ministry of Sports to obtain the opinion of the Attorney General Mr. K.C. Kamalasabayson PC, who was the then Attorney General of Sri Lanka.

I consulted my lawyers and it was discovered that there was an interim injunction that was issued by the District Court of Colombo against Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala in a case filed by Mr. Clifford Ratwatte. The interim injunction restrained Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala from taking part in any activities of Sri Lanka Cricket until the hearing and final determination of that pending action. The Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket and the Ministry of Sports officials were aware of the said interim injunction and if Sri Lanka Cricket was to be part and permit Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala in attending the said ICC meeting of the Directors, they would all be guilty of aiding and abetting Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala in violating the interim injunction issued against him.

Accordingly, these factors were brought to the notice of the Honourable Attorney General who opined that Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala can not represent Sri Lanka Cricket as it would be in violation of the interim injunction issued against him.

Accordingly, as endorsed by the Interim Committee, I proceeded to attend the Directors meeting of the ICC, that was held at Lord’s, London.

Thus the first two paragraphs of the said article are misleading and the accounts therein are inaccurate.

Hemaka Amarasuriya

Former Chairman

Sri Lanka Cricket

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Himasha’s ban extended to six years



Himasha’s doping violation

by Reemus Fernando

The Appeals Committee of the Sri Lanka Anti-Doping Agency that heard sprinter Himasha Eshan’s appeal against his suspension, has decided to extend the ban against the former national 100 metres champion to six years.

SLADA has informed the athlete that the Appeals Committee had decided to extend the ban to six years after the appeal hearing conducted on November 3.

According to the letter sent by SLADA, Himasha will now be banned till 25th October 2027 which effectively closes the former national 100 metres record holder’s chances of competing for Sri Lanka again.

The 28-year-old was tested positive for a banned substance during a random test conducted by SLADA on October 26, 2021. The Disciplinary Committee of SLADA first banned him for four years from October 26, 2021 to October 25, 2025. That ban has now been extended by two years.It was the second time that the South Asian Games medallist has been found positive for a banned substance and he is also the only Sri Lankan athlete to be tested positive twice.

He was first found positive for a banned substances when he was 17 years old. He was slapped with a two year ban which was reduced considering his young age. The World Anti-Doping Agency introduced four years bans for first time offences in 2013. According to Anti Doping authorities any reduced terms are added to the suspension when an athlete is found positive for the second time.

This time Himasha was tested positive during a random test conducted by SLADA on October 26, 2021. The Anti-Doping authorities collected Himasha’s urine samples at the Army quarters at Narahenpita. He was involved in several impressive performances including a wind assisted 10.29 seconds feat to win the men’s 100 metres during the Army Athletics Championships which was held around that time.

Once the fastest man in the South Asian region, Himasha was coached by Chaminda Perera. He won the gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games and set a South Asian regional record of 10.22 seconds in 2019. He was also part of Sri Lanka’s 4×100 metres team that established the current national record in the 4×100 metres relay.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr knocked out of Saudi Super Cup



Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr were knocked of the Saudi Super Cup on Thursday after a 3-1 semifinal loss to Al Ittihad in Riyadh.The 37-year-old Portugal international, five-times Ballon D’Or winner, had a couple of chances to score but was well shackled by the Al Ittihad defence for most of the match.

Anderson Talisca’s goal for Al Nassr in the 67th minute was not enough to turn around the deficit from two first-half goals for Al Ittihad from Romarinho and Abderrazak Hamdallah.

Muhannad Al-Shanqeeti added the third three minutes into stoppage time.Al Nassr next travel to Al Fateh in the Saudi Pro League on Feb. 3.


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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Karen Khachanov to reach final of Australian Open 2023



Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas has another chance to land his first Grand Slam title after reaching the Australian Open final by beating Russian Karen Khachanov in the Melbourne last four.Third seed Tsitsipas, 24, won 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 against Khachanov, who was going for a maiden major final.Tsitsipas lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2021 French Open final and might have the chance to avenge that loss.

Serbia’s Djokovic plays American Tommy Paul in Friday’s other semi-final.Tsitsipas, who will become the world number one if he wins the title, eventually booked his place after recovering from Khachanov saving two match points in the third-set tie-break.

Another tight forehand saw a third chance disappear in what proved to be the final game, before he regained his composure to convert his fourth when a first serve was batted long by the 18th seed. Asked what he was thinking when the match went into a fourth set, Tsitsipas said: “I thought about how hard I’ve worked to get to this position.

“But if you stick around, dedicate yourself even more, and concentrate even more in the important moments it pays off.”

Nine-time champion Djokovic is the favourite to face Tsitsipas and takes on the unseeded Paul, who is competing in his first major semi-final, at 08:30 GMT on Friday.

The 35-year-old former world number one has won in Melbourne every time he has reached the last four and is aiming for a record-extending 10th title which would equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 major men’s titles. At a tournament with a hard-court surface on which he thrives, and in a city where he is warmly backed by its large Greek population, Tsitsipas has long appeared destined for success at the Australian Open.

The towering youngster announced his arrival there with a famous 2019 win over defending champion Roger Federer in the fourth round, only for a captivating run to be ended when he was crushed by Rafael Nadal in his first semi-final appearance.

Long-time rival Daniil Medvedev ended his dreams at the last-four stage in both 2021 and 2022, with another Russian – this time, the powerful Khachanov – standing in his way this time.

Backed by a vocal crowd who waved Greek flags after virtually all of his winning points, Tsitsipas started confidently against a player who he had beaten in all of their five previous encounters.

Khachanov could not cope with Tsitsipas’ pounding ground-strokes and dynamic athleticism as the world number four moved two sets ahead.

When Tsitsipas broke early in the third set and moved into a 5-4 lead which left him serving for the match, few on Rod Laver Arena expected anything other than a straight-set win.However, nerves kicked in for Tsitsipas, who suddenly looked unsure with his ground-strokes, and Khachanov cut loose to extend the contest.

After a bathroom break before the fourth set, Tsitsipas returned free of the weight of expectation and broke Khachanov’s serve at the first opportunity.Dominant service games from that point ensured there would be no repeat of the previous set as he finally reached the final of what he calls his “home” Grand Slam event.

“I feel blessed for the fact I’m able to play tennis at this level and for many years I’ve wanted to put Greek tennis on the map – Maria [Sakkari] and I have done that, I think,” Tsitsipas said.

“Coming from a small country like Greece I feel so grateful I get support like this.

“I never thought I would be treated so well here so I’m extremely happy I’m in the final now – let’s see what happens.”

(BBC Sports)

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