by Reemus Feranndo
The men’s steeplechase witnessed a new champion after a long time at the recently conducted 98th National Athletics Championships. Eranda Udaya Bandara Herath who has been playing second fiddle to R.M.S. Pushpakumara for some time now, emerged from the shadow of the many time champion to claim his maiden title as he produced his personal best.
“It is a satisfying feeling to win the title against the champion,” said the 25 year old Herath in an interview with The Island.
“It is satisfying because of the circumstances under which we had to train due to the covid 19 pandemic,” said Herath.
The athlete trained by Sumith Prasanna Vithanage clocked 9:00.22 seconds to win, nearly eight seconds ahead of the reigning champion. His performance has earned him the 17th position in the Asian rankings.
The Army athlete who commenced training for this discipline as a school athlete had not even seen a steeplechase when he was first introduced to the challenging event by Vithanage.
“Vithanage Sir saw me hurdling during a practice session and introduced me to the event. That is how I started,” said Herath.
He first tasted victory in his last year as an Under-20 athlete when he clinched the title at the Junior National Championship in 2014. He produced a sub ten minutes feat in winning and he was also the winner of the Sir John Tarbet Senior Championships that year.
Three years later Herath once again clinched a title when he won the Under-23 steeplechase at the 2017 Junior Nationals.
Since then he had been competing against Pushpakumara for the national title. In 2017 he was placed second in the steeplechase at the Nationals and third at the Army Championship.
Herath joined the Army five years ago and was under the guidance of D.M. Dissanayake for one and half years before he rejoined Vithanage.
Vithanage who has trained him since he was a teenager considers his charge as a strong contender to break the national record which has remained unchanged for more than two decades.
“He has the potential to run under eight minutes and 45 seconds. Our target is to achieve that before long,” said Vithanage referring to GSP Mendis’ record mark created in 1998.
Vithanage had another success at the Nationals when his sprinter Fathima Shafiya Yamick was placed third in the women’s 100 metres and second in the 200 metres and will also bank heavily on Amesha Hettiarachchi to achieve World Under-20 Championship entry standards in the 400 metres hurdles when the junior events are held this year.
Arthur bemoans poor batting after second Test goes ‘horribly wrong’
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Sri Lanka “let it slip in one disastrous session”, says coach, after second Galle defeat
Sri Lanka threw it away. Their hyper-aggressive approach to the second innings wasn’t part of the plan. And their 126 all out ruined three days of good work.
These were Mickey Arthur’s takeaways after the dispiriting 2-0 loss against England. Sri Lanka had established a 37-run first-innings lead on the fourth morning, with England due to bat in the fourth innings. And yet, their batsmen crumbled to 66 for 6 before lunch – five of those players dismissed playing attacking shots. That phase of play essentially handed England the match, even if they eventually had to chase 164 for victory, thanks to a late 40 from No. 10 Lasith Embuldeniya.
“We fought and fought and fought for three days and got ourselves in a really good position, and in two hours we proceeded to throw it away,” Arthur said. “It was poor batting. It’s something I’m going to sit and talk with the players about now. When we lead the game, we’ve got to be able to put our foot on the neck of the opposition and we didn’t do that. That today just wasn’t good enough. We’ve got to learn to be ruthless.”
Such was Sri Lanka’s commitment to wanton aggression in this innings, that there were questions whether the team had agreed that all-out attack was their best way forward in this Test. Arthur said, however, that the plan had actually been to progress more gradually, and to bat time, as they had in the second innings of the first Test, when Sri Lanka made 359 in 136.5 overs.
“That was nowhere near our gameplan. Our gameplan this morning was to absorb pressure, grind away, and grind out a couple of sessions to make sure that we got ourselves into a very good position to push for the win tomorrow. That was our strategy. We had a long chat about that this morning. We used the blueprint of our second innings in the first Test match as something that we wanted to base our innings on. Somewhere it’s gone horribly wrong. That’s something I’m going to dig up and find tonight.”
The first Test was lost due to a similar collapse, in the first innings of the match that time. Sri Lanka were skittled for 135, again playing with extreme aggression.
“This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, and it’s something I need to look into with the team,” Arthur said. “We let it slip in one disastrous session. Much like in the first Test when we let slip in the first innings again. We can’t afford as a team to have those poor sessions. We’ve got to get our good and our bad closer together. The game was there for us to take and we didn’t take it. Extremely disappointed with that.”
Among the only bright spots for Sri Lanka for this series was the bowling of Embuldeniya, who took 10 for 210 in this Test, and also produced his best first-class score with the bat. Embuldeniya had not been selected for the Tests against South Africa several weeks earlier, but through the course of this series has presented a case for being considered Sri Lanka’s premier Test spinner.
“I was very excited for Lasith Embuldeniya,” Arthur said. “He works so hard at his game. When you get those rewards, in his ninth or tenth Test match, it’s unbelievable. I always tell him he’s got the gift of the fingers – he’s able to spin the ball. I think he’s got a wonderful future. He really is a very impressive young man and spin bowler. I’m very excited to be working with him in future, because I think he’s going to be very special.” (ESPN)
SSC to name indoor nets after Michael De Zoysa
Singhalese Sports Club today will name their indoor nets after club stalwart Michael De Zoysa.
Michael, who passed away recently, had been with SLC for almost half a century and had served the club in various capacities.
He was Manager of the Sri Lankan cricket team when they won ICC World T 20 in 2014.
Chess Champs Academy emerge champions
Online Women’s Rapid Team Chess Cup 2021
Chess Champs Academy team led by Thilini Koswatte won the maiden Online Women’s Rapid Teams Chess Cup conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL). At the grand finals, which was held in double rounds, each player received black and white moves. Chess Champs scored three match points against their rivals who could score only one match point in first round.
In the first round the Women Grand Master from Kazakhstan, Gulmira Dauletota and Tharushi Sandeepani scored points for Passed Pawns while Women International Master from India Isha Sharma and Saumy Zainab scored points for Chess Champs Academy. But, in the second round Thilini played a key role out playing strong Kazakhstani WGM Gulmira at a critical juncture when their WIM Isha Sharma had suffered a lost from Sri Lankan Women International Master Sachini Ranasinghe. Dinushki Premanath and Saumy Zainab, both former national champions excelled scoring full points for their team. Chess Champs beat Passed Pawns 3-1 in the second round to win the championship.
According to CFSL a total of 275 players belonging to 55 teams participated in the tournament and teams were categorized into three Divisions according to their player ratings.
The Division ‘C’ consisting of the lowest ranked 27 teams played pm January 14. The top three teams of that division then advanced to the ‘B’ Division to compete against the 23 teams in that division on January 16.
The top three teams of ‘B’ Division advanced to play a round robin event with top five ranked teams in the ‘A’ Division on January 17.
The top four teams of the ‘A’ Division, paired according to double knock out method competed in the final stage.
Passed Pawns CC (Champions of ‘A’ Division) beat Fischer Chess Club ‘A’ (4th in ‘A’ Division) 3-1
Chess Champ Academy (1st Runner up of ‘A’ Division) beat Fischer Chess Club ‘B’ 3-1.
Results of the Finals
Chess Champ Academy tied Passed Pawns 2-2
Chess Champ Academy beat Passed Pawns 3-1
Chess Champ Academy: Thilini Koswatte (Captain), Dinushki Premanath, WIM Isha Sharma, Saumy Zainab and Prasansa Premanath.
Passed Pawns CC: WIM Sachini Ranasinghe (Captain), WGM Gulmira Deltoteva, Dasuni Mendis, Pasindi Yathra Wijesuriya and Sandeepani M Tharushi.
Result of the Finals
Thilini Koswatte lost to WGM Gulmira Dauletova
WIM Isha Sharma beat WIM Sachini Ranasinghe
WFM Dinushki Premanath lost to Tharushi Sandeepani
WFM Zainab Saumy beat WFM Dasuni Hansika Mendis
WGM Gulmira Dauletova lost to Thilini Koswatte
WIM Sachini Ranasinghe beat WIM Isha Sharma
Tharushi Sandeepani lost to WFM Dinushki Premanath
WFM Dasuni Hansika Mendis lost to WFM Zainab Saumy
The games were played under strict anti-cheating rules and regulations according to FIDE standards on chess.com platform.
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