Nirmali’s promising start augurs well for 800 metres
by Reemus Fernando
Wickramabahu Central College, Gampola has just produced two champion runners, one in the 800 metres and the other in the 1,500 metres. The 800 metres runner Nirmali Wickramasinghe and 1,500 metres champion Dulanjana Pradeepani are both freshers. It was quite surprising to witness two new runners turning tables on traditional strongholds to win their respective events at the weekend’s Youth Selection Trial. “I identified them when I went to the school on my first appointment. I kept training them despite the absence of competitions,” said Buddhika Nuwan their coach who was among thousands of new schools coaches recruited by the Ministry of Education in 2019.
Nirmali Wickramasinghe clocked an impressive 2.14.45 seconds to win the 800 metres at the Youth Selection Trial. It was one of the fastest performances produced in recent times by a girl of her age. After Ratnayake Central runner Tharushi Karunaratne ran 2:14 seconds to establish a new record at the All-Island Schools Games Athletics Championships in 2019 no Under 16 athlete had run the discipline that fast. Nirmali who will be celebrating her 15th birthday next month was competing in the Under 18 age category as the Trial was conducted as a precursor to next year’s Youth Selection Trial to pick the team for Asian Youth Athletics Championships which is an Under 18 event.
With no schools’ events taking place during the last two years the likes of Nirmali have found the Trial Meets conducted by Sri Lanka Athletics to be their only competition opportunity. Earlier this year when Sri Lanka Athletics held the Junior Selection trial for the World Junior Championships, Nirmali came up with another notable performance to finish second behind Shanika Lakshani.
At that meet, she clocked 2:14.78 seconds. With back-to-back 2:14 performances, Nirmali is likely to receive the nod of the selectors for the Asian Youth Athletics Championships taking place in Kuwait next year. Her promising start will also augur well for country’s 800 metres prospects as the discipline has now become the most successful women’s event at regional international level.
“Certainly, this is not her best. We are still in the preparation period. She is yet to peak. She will be faster when the next selection trial is held. I am confident that she will produce a faster time,” said Nuwan who has his own experience competing as a middle-distance runner when he attended Ratnayake Central, Walala.
“Athletics is not a big-time sport at our school. I have only these two athletes training under me. Hopefully these victories will influence more students to take up athletics at Wickramabahu Central College,” said Nuwan who has now become one of the first coaches from the 2019 batch of new recruits to produce results in track and field.
Lahiru takes five wickets as Joes take lead
Under 19 Cricket
Off-spinner Lahiru Amarasekara produced a five-wicket haul as St. Joseph’s restricted Mahinda to 127 runs on day one of the Under 19 traditional cricket encounter at Galle on Monday.
Amarasekara was ably supported by spinner Yenula Dewthusa and Muditha Dissanayake who shared the other five wickets.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, batting opener Ranmina Hettiarachchi anchored the top order with a knock of 33 runs. Chandupa de Silva with 29 runs, Tharusha Dilshan (15) and Hiruna Gallalge (17) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
In their essay St. Joseph’s were comfortably placed at 132 for two wickets but back-to-back wickets in the last two overs placed them at 132 for four wickets at stumps.
At Welisara, Dinuka Tennakoon took five wickets but Maris Stella managed to post 268 runs as Shean Adithya top-scored with 83 runs. In reply Trinity were nine without loss.
Vihanga Nimsara and Rasindu Ilukshana were the heroes for Moratu Vidyalaya as their half-centuries helped them score 249 runs against St. Sylvester’s at Boyagane.
At Galle: Mahinda 127, St. Joseph’s 132/4
127 all out in 57 overs (Ranmina Hettiarachchi 33, Chandupa de Silva 29; Lahiru Amarasekara 5/34, Muditha Dissanayaka 2/23, Yenula Dewtusa 3/32)
132 for 4 in 42.1 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 53, Naren Muralidaran 41; Shehan Hasaranga 2/39)
At Welisara: Maris Stella 268, Trinity 9/0
268 all out in 93.5 overs (Kaveen Fernando 26, Shean Adithya 83, Anshen de Silva 28, Ramith Bandara 33, Nethum Basnayake 26, Levin Fernando 22; Jayavi Liyanagama 2/40, Dinuka Tennakoon 5/74)
Trinity 9 for no loss in 4 overs
At Boyagane: Moratu Vidyalaya 249, St. Sylvester’s 5/1
249 all out in 93.1 overs (Vihanga Nimsara 82, Rasindu Ilukshana 54; Isuru Gunasekara 2/28, Pansilu Bandara 2/50, Akila Wickramasinghe 3/48, Khanka Wickramasinghe 2/31)
5 for 1 in 4 overs.
Sowmiya clinches a triple crown, Silvijan bags a double
Northern Badminton Championship 2023
T. Silvijan Dalima was crowned men’s singles champion while S. Sowmiya clinched a triple crown at the Northern Badminton Championship 2023 in Kilinochchi during the weekend.
At the Provincial Indoor Stadium in Kilinochchi, Silvijan met K Thusan in the final clash in which the latter retired in the second set with scores reading 21-14, 16-11 in favour of the champion. L Hentry and K Kajan were the losing semi-finalists.
Meanwhile, S. Sowmiya won all three of her open events, the women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles with respective partners.
Sowmiya clinched the women’s singles crown with a 21-15, 21-13 win over R. Ragavi in the final following her doubles title win with B. Oliviya. Sowmiya and Oliviya overcame Athmika and M. Kavinaya 21-9, 21-15 to seal the women’s doubles crown.
Earlier, Sowmiya and Silvijan, the best singles duo in the tournament, also won the mixed doubles title by defeating R. Sulacsan and S . Thanojana 21-12, 21-16 in the final.
The men’s doubles final was won by L. R. Reminsan and T. Thusyanthan who beat G. Thanukanth and R. Yuthakaran with a 21-13, 21-9 score line.
The tournament, organised by the Northern Province Badminton Association, was conducted under the guidance of Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB). SLB President Rohan de Silva and a host of top officials were among the special guests at the presentation ceremony.
St. Peter’s Tennis teams up with Yeti
St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya teamed up with isotonic sports drink manufacturer Yeti, who will meet the hydration needs of the school tennis team during their upcoming Inter-School tournaments.
Yeti will provide the St. Peter’s Tennis Team with isotonic sports drinks to meet their hydration needs and as part of the partnership, the players will also have access to the elite Yeti portfolio of sports isotonic products.
This year, St. Peter’s will have a busy schedule as they are set to participate in several age group championships including the Inter-Schools Tennis Tournament, Inter-Schools Nationals and the Arjan Perera Tennis Tournament.
The Peterites had mixed fortunes last year as they emerged overall runners-up in the Inter-Schools Tournament and their Under-17 and Under-19 Teams reached the semi-finals of the Inter-Schools National Championships.
This time the Peterites are hoping for an improved performance with five coloursmen in the Under-20 side and four coloursmen in the Under-17 team.
Yeti isotonic fluid has been specially formulated to provide superior rehydration and provide the body the necessary water, minerals and energy lost during exercise.
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