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Herath creates history at Paralympics, Dulan wins bronze

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Dinesh Priyantha Herath created history winning country’s first Paralympics gold medal in Tokyo yesterday. Here he celebrates after winning the gold medal of the F46 javelin throw.

Sri Lanka Army’s Dinesh Priyantha Herath created history winning country’s first Paralympics gold medal and proved his coach Pradeep Nishantha’s prediction right as he beat India’s defending champion and world record holder in the men’s F46 javelin throw in Tokyo yesterday.

In his third attempt, Herath hurled the javelin to a distance of 67.79 metres, the furthest a Para athlete in the F46 category had ever thrown in the history. The world and Paralympics record holder Devendra Jhajharia who was attempting to defend his title, also improved on his previous mark but the Indian’s best throw fell more than three metres behind the Sri Lankan’s new mark. The previous World Record mark was 63.97 metres.

While the 35-year-old Herath stormed to gold, the reigning Rio 2016 champion Devendra claimed silver with a throw of 64.35 metres.

Last week in an interview with The Island Pradeep Nishantha, the Gateway College coach who also trained country’s Olympic thrower Sumeda Ranasinghe said that his charges were ready to create history in Tokyo on Monday. And it was exactly what Herath and Dulan Kodithuwakku did. While Herath won country’s first ever gold, Kodithuwakku won a bronze in the F64 javelin throw making it the first time the country had won more than one medal at Paralympics.

For Herath it was the second Paralympics medal. Herath first won bronze at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.

While acknowledging the support given by the Sports Minister, Sports Council, Army Commander, his coach, Paralympics Committee and the officials of his regiment, the Gajaba Regiment athlete dedicated his gold medal to his wife.

Coach Pradeep Nishantha flanked by gold medal winner Dinesh Priyantha Herath (right) and bronze winner Dulan Kodithuwakku (left) after their historic achievement at Tokyo Paralympics on Monday.

“I am very happy because my dream came true. I have no words to describe the feeling,” said Priyantha, who kissed the Sri Lankan flag after claiming victory.

Commenting on his historic feat Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva yesterday told The Island that he had an opportunity to meet Sgt. Dinesh Priyantha Herath before the Sri Lankan Paralympics team left for Tokyo. “Javelin thrower Sgt. Herath was confident of securing the Gold at F 46 event,” Gen. Silva, who is also the Chief of Defence Staff said. Responding to a query, Gen. Silva said that Sgt Herath of the Gajaba Regiment was wounded in action on Dec 16, 2008 during fierce fighting in the Kilinochchi area.

Enlisted to the Army on 18 March 2004 as a recruit, Herath completed basic training at Saliyapura. Following the Kilinochchi incident, he took part in Army-organized Para Athletic training events at the GR Regimental HQ. In 2012, he won Gold in Javelin Throw (52 m) in Army Para Athletic Meet, first place in Malaysia’s Para Athletic Meet (52.95 m) in 2012, second place in Germany’s Para Athletic (Qualifying) Meet (53.09m) in 2017 and again the second place in London Para Athletic Meet-2017 recording 59.90m in the same event.

In the F64 javelin throw event held in the afternoon yesterday, Kodithuwakku was in the second place until his final attempt. While India’s Sumit Sumit led from the first throw, Kodituwakku commenced his attempts with a throw of 62.11 metres before making his best feat in the fourth attempt, a throw of 65.61 metres. But he had to settle for bronze medal after Australia’s Burian Michal delivered a throw of 66.29 metres in the final round.

Sri Lanka has participated in every Paralympics since 1996 but until yesterday had won only bronze medals at the quadrennial event. Country won the first Paralympics medal, a bronze when Pradeep Sanjaya was placed third in the T46 400 metres at the 2012 Paralympics in London. Dialog has been the main sponsor of Sri Lanka’s Paralympics teams during the last two decades.



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Chameera and Hasaranga to miss Oman T-20s due to IPL

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by Rex Clementine

Sri Lankan cricketers Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga will miss Sri Lanka’s tour of Oman next month due to their IPL commitments. The two Sri Lankans are with Royal Challengers Bangalore and they have been given clearance to remain with the franchise till 10th October.

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur told The Island he had no issues in the players missing the two games in Oman.

“It’s a great opportunity for them and I have not raised any objections. They will join the team on the 10th of October and be ready for the first warm-up game on the 12th of October,” Arthur said.

The IPL was suspended in May due to the rise of COVID cases within the bubble with still 31 matches remaining. The tournament will resume in UAE on Sunday and will finish on the 15th of October, just before the ICC T-20 World Cup.

Sri Lanka will play two T-20 Internationals in Oman on the 7th and 9th of October and then travel to UAE to play warm-up games ahead of the World Cup. The two players are expected to join the team in UAE.

RCB have seven games left in the competition and will take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. Their last league game is on the 8th October.

RCB are currently third in the table with ten points behind Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings.

If they make the plays offs, the tournament will go beyond 10th October. If necessary, RCB will ask clearance from SLC to have them in the franchise set up and the board is unlikely to object as Sri Lanka’s first game in the World Cup is on the 18th of October. The IPL final is scheduled on the 15th of October.

No Sri Lankan had been picked for this year’s IPL at the start of the season, but after Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa and left-arm quick Daniel Sams pulled out, the franchise signed up the two Sri Lankans for the remainder of the competition. Both Chameera and Hasaranga had done well when India visited Colombo for a bilateral series last month.

Meanwhile, SLC has agreed to a request by the national selection panel to carry five additional players to UAE in case of injuries. Kusal Perera is doubtful for the World Cup and Lahiru Madushanka has been ruled out. SLC will bear the additional costs for the extra players.

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CFSL ready to organize its biggest Online Chess Championship 

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Western Asian Youth Chess Championship 2021 

Sri Lanka has the luxury of fielding a World Champion in their team when the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) organizes the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships from 18 to 20 September on the Tornelo Platform.

Ferguson High School, Ratnapura player Oshini Devindya Gunawardena, who won the Under-10 title of the FIDE Online Youth Chess Cup 2021 recently, is among some 300 participants fielded by Sri Lanka.

Luxman Wijesuriya, the president of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka said that his federation was ready to organize the biggest Asian Online Event, the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships and the event which is conducted by the Asian Chess Federation has attracted more than 1000 players from 14 Western Asian Countries.

The event open for girls and boys will be held under six age categories, namely, the Under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. The Asian Chess Federation has categorized, South Asia, Arab and Russian-speaking countries of Asia as Western Asian Countries. More than 1000 players from the region have fielded their entries to participate in the event.

India has fielded the biggest contingent of 378 players while Sri Lanka field more than 300 players. Iran has entered a team of 161 players. Other countries registered for participation are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Oman, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan and UAE. One player is joining under FIDE, the World Chess Federation flag.

Sri Lanka team includes players who excelled at recently held online competitions and at the CFSL Online Youth Chess Championship 2021.

The Championships will be conducted on the Swiss System in nine rounds, having three games a day. The Newly approved FIDE Online Chess regulations will be followed and the time control will be 15 minutes a side with 10 seconds increment for each and every move played. Only the laptop/desktop computers are allowed to be used while all games will be closely monitored by the arbiters via zoom. Players will be switching on two cameras during the competition. According to CFSL one camera (Webcam) will monitor the player while the other will observe his or her surroundings.

The Virtual Opening Ceremony will be held at 11.00 a.m via Zoom on Saturday. Namal Rajapakse, the Minister of Sports is expected to participate as the Chief Guest with Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nehyan, the President of Asian Chess Federation.

The CFSL will be awarding attractive cash rewards to the Sri Lankan players who win medals of any colour.

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Wheelchair tennis team to leave for World Team Cup on Saturday 

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The Sri Lanka Wheelchair Tennis team led by Tokyo Paralympian Suresh Dharmasena will leave for the World Team Cup on Saturday.

The BNP Paribas World Team Cup is the premier team competition for Wheelchair Tennis with four qualifiers and two wildcards joining the top ten teams in the world for the 16 nation competition being held in Sardinia, Italy.

Great Britain, France, Japan, Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, USA, Korea Rep. and Brazil are the top ten teams.

When the Team Cup qualification event was held in May, Sri Lanka beat Croatia 3-0 in the quarter-finals to be in the last four alongside Israel, Greece and Poland but was beaten by Israel in the semi finals.

In the qualifying event Gamini Dissanayake beat Croatia’s Sven Maretic 6-0, 6–2, while Suresh Dharmasena beat Anto Joskic 6-2, 6-0, before joining Lasantha Ranaweera to oust Anto Joskic and Sven Maretic 6-0, 6-0 in the doubles.

The World Team Cup will be held from October 4-10.

The Sri Lanka Tennis Association said that the team were engaged in final preparations at Green Path, ahead of their departure to Europe. The team comprising of Suresh Dharmasena (ITF Rank #64), DM Gamini (#81) Lasantha Ranaweera (#85) have been undergoing specialist training under coaches Jagath Welikala and Guyanga Weerasekera since July.

The Wheelchair Tennis Program is a project run by the Sri Lanka Tennis Association initiated in 2002. The project is overseen by the President of SLTA Iqbal bin Issack, General Secretary Pradeep Goonasekera, VP Wheelchair Tennis Major General Shiran Abeysekera and principal sponsor Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT).

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