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Nilani climbs two places up in ‘Road to Olympics’ rankings

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Lack of competitions diminishing athletes’ Olympic chances

by Reemus Fernando

Despite wet weather preventing her from producing a top performance at the last week’s athletics event, steeplechaser Nilani Ratnayake has climbed two places up in the ‘Road to Olympics’ rankings to have hopes of securing a ticket to Tokyo.

The World Athletics updated the world rankings and the ‘Road to Olympics’ rankings on Wednesday. According to the new rankings Ratnayake is ranked 32nd in the Road to Olympics rankings. Her 9:53.96 seconds feat to retain the national title on Friday has helped her improve her rankings overtaking China’s Shuangshuang Xu and Great Britain’s Aimee Pratt. She was ranked 34th in the Olympic qualifying rankings before the last week’s event.

Now she is the second ranked Asian in her pet event. Bahrain’s Kenyan born athlete Winfred Mutile Yavi is the highest ranked Asian steeplechaser.

However despite being in the required world ranking range to book a ticket to Olympics currently, uncertainty regarding future events could upset her plans. While her counterparts in Europe and other countries are likely to get quality competitions to improve their rankings she will only have the Army Athletics Championships to attempt a better timing. The present Covid 19 situation in the country has made it difficult for organizers to conduct such events.

Only 45 athletes will be selected for the Tokyo Olympics women’s steeplechase. Of them 19 are selected from those who reach the tough entry standard of 9:30.00 seconds. Rest of the athletes are selected by World Ranking positions.

Most of the runners who are ranked below Nilani Ratnayake are likely to get competition opportunities before the deadline closes for the Olympic qualification.

Despite being placed second behind former record holder Waruna Lakshan at the National Championship, javelin thrower Sumeda Ranasinghe maintains the 41st position in the ‘Road to Olympics’ rankings. Ranasinghe earned his first points for this year at the last week’s competition after missing the selection trial held in April due to an injury.

Meanwhile, Italy based sprinter Yupun Abeykoon and US based high jumper Ushan Thivanka are set to improve their rankings thanks to the competitions available to them in Europe and the US.

Abeykoon, the national record holder in the men’s 100 metres is ranked 58th in the ‘Road to Olympic rankings. Abeykoon who registered a wind assisted 10.09 seconds feat last week has to return a time of 10.05 seconds if he is to earn direct qualification or secure a world ranking position within the top 56. The men’s 100 metres will have a field of 56 athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.

Ushan Thivanka is currently ranked 48th in the ‘Road to Olympics’ rankings. He is likely to attempt the direct entry standard of 2.33 metres in the US on Friday. The Tokyo Olympics will have a field of 32 athletes for the men’s high jump.



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Foreign News

Australia T20 captain retires from international cricket

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Aaron Finch hit 63 in his final international innings against Ireland at the 2022 Men's T20 World Cup (pic BBC)

BBC reported that former Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Opening batter Finch, 36, was Australia’s T20 captain, having retired from one-day internationals in September..

He represented Australia in five Tests, 146 one-day internationals and 103 T20s, leading them to their first T20 World Cup title in 2021.

Finch said it had been “incredible honour” to play for Australia.

He is set to continue playing in domestic T20 competitions, including in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Renegades.

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Fun Run announcing Asian Games at Port City today

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The Fun Run announcing the Asian Games will be held at Port City today. The event was announced at a function held in Colombo on Monday.

The official Fun Run announcing the 19th Asian Games will be held under the patronage of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam and a host of dignitaries at the Colombo International Financial City (Port City) today.

The quadrennial Asian Games which was originally scheduled for September 2022 was postponed in May due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in and around the host city of Hangzhou in China. The Game will now be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023 under the motto of “Heart to Heart, @Future.”

The ‘Fun Run’ which acts like a baton relay of sorts was announced at a function held in Colombo yesterday.

The Fun Run will be held at the presence of Wu Jianzhong -Deputy Director of Games Services Department, Ge Jianyang -Staff of Press and Public Relations Department, Bao Hanyuan -Staff of Games Services Department and delegates from the Olympic Council of Asia. The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka will be represented by its President Suresh Subramaniam, Secretary General NOC Sri Lanka Maxwell de Silva along with the executive committee of the NOC Sri Lanka.

To liven up this colourful pageant there will be a surfeit of sports and cultural activities involving over 700 persons. The highlight of the day’s activity will be a Jet Ski show presented by Sri Lanka Navy and a traditional Martial Art -Angampora Demonstration recited by the Army sports division. The President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka Suresh Subramaniam aired the importance of the Fun Run. He said “the presence of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam who is the main cog behind Asian Games 2022, signifies how serious they are about the success of the event. Besides that, there is a host of other Games Officials who will await eagerly to see the successful completion of this event and report back as to what Sri Lanka is capable of delivering. For us this is a momentous opportunity and we are taking it with both hands”.

Commenting on the significance of the event, NOC Sri Lanka Secretary General Maxwell de Silva said “akin to the Olympic Day Run or the Commonwealth Games Baton relay or the Asian Games Fun Run is very significant. In reality the “Fun Run” is the flag-off of the event and the Lankan leg of the baton that will take place at the Port City, Colombo.” The Olympic Council of Asia is stepping up its “Asian Games for All” promotional campaign right now.

A major part of this campaign is the Asian Games Fun Run, which is held throughout the continent and brings together elite athletes, social runners, students/children and sports officials. The OCA is working closely with the National Olympic Committees in all five zones to create a Fun Run calendar in order to promote the upcoming Asian Games and involve all levels of the community in a family-oriented activity. To this end, the OCA has released a schedule for February and March taking in two of the five zones: South Asia and South East Asia. The programme is still being assembled for the three remaining zones -West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia -in conjunction with the NOCs and will be released shortly.

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Amameth century propels Mahanama

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Under 19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

A century by Kavindu Amameth was the highlight of the day as Mahanama posted 363 runs against De Mazenod on day one of the traditional cricket encounter at Kandana on Monday.

Amameth top scored with 126 runs (in 173 balls, 9x4s, 4x6s) and put on a third wicket stand of 206 runs with Inuka Karannagoda as Mahanama dominated proceedings on day one.

In the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ match at Uyanwatta, St. Servatius’ cemented their top position in Group ‘Z’ by scoring a first innings points against Devapathiraja.

Results

St. Servatius’ earn first innings points against Devapathiraja at Uyanwatta

Scores:

Devapathiraja

113 all out in 35.3 overs (Gimhan Rasanjana 24, Pawan Sandesh 24, Tharush Damindu 3/18, Kushan Wijerama 4/25, Chathum Bimsara 2/32) and 151 for 8 decl. in 36.2 overs (Darshaka Sandeep 46, Jeewaka Shashin 31; Chathum Bimsara 2/21, Kushan Wijerama 3/34, Thisan Dewmith 2/40)

St. Servatius’

92 for 6 overnight 123 all out in 48.3 overs (Mithila Charles 39, Vishwa Supun 23, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 25; Irushka Thimira 6/47, Puljith Wathsuka 2/34) and 110 for 4 in 26.2 overs (Mithila Charles 27, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 36, Chiran Neththaru 23n.o.; Puljith Wathsuka 2/38)

Mahanama dominate day one proceedings at Kandana

Scores:

Mahanama

363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71)

De Mazenod

2 for 1 in 5 overs

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