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No doping control at junior track and field competitions yet

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by Reemus Fernando

The 2019 Junior National Athletics Championship witnessed 20 new meet records being established in various age categories. The All Island Schools Games athletics Championship also registered an outstanding number of 49 new records last year. Standards of junior athletics keep improving and at times juniors have come close to matching the feats of their senior counterparts. However many have raised eyebrows over outstanding athletics performances of juniors as the junior competitions continue to be held without doping controls.

Recently Olympian and prominent sprint coach Sunil Gunawardena alleged that a few track and field coaches of top level athletes and even schools athletes were ruining their careers by promoting controversial supplements.

At present Sri Lanka Anti Doping Agency (SLADA) conducts tests only on a limited number of schools sports. Though SLADA considers track and field sport as one of the vulnerable sports it does not conduct doping tests during junior competitions. Schools rugby is probably the only schools sport that SLADA puts its full strength into to conduct regular tests.

Schools track and field athletes had been found positive for banned substances on two occasions during a span of eight years. But on both occasions they were tested when they were competing alongside seniors at senior competitions and not at junior meets.

In 2012, an up and coming sprinter who won the men’s 100 metres at the National Championship while still attending school was banned for using performance enhancing drugs. He produced several outstanding performances, including meet records at schools competitions in the run up to that National Championship. It took another six years for the next schools athlete to be tested positive for a banned substance. Does that mean the schools athletics has been clean? A female athlete from the Southern Province too was tested during a senior championship, when she was representing her province at the National Sports Festival in 2018. She too produced outstanding performances at schools competitions in the run up to the National Sports Festival. Her case is still being argued at an Appeals Committee.

Athletic enthusiasts considered it as the tip of the iceberg but schools competitions continued to be conducted without doping control. Why is SLADA not conducting doping tests at junior track and field competitions? According to Dr. Seevali Jayawickreme, Director General of SLADA the large number of schools and participants involved in track and field sports is making it difficult for his institution to complete the education process, which is a pre-requisite, before conducting dope tests at schools competitions.

SLADA informs Masters in Charge of Rugby at schools and players about doping control procedures before the competitions starts and it also has the player information available with them before the events.

SLADA is discussing with the National Institute of Education to include a study on anti-doping into the schools curriculum within the next couple of years. But even after it is included in the school curriculum, SLADA will need the support of the Ministry of Education, Departments of Education of Provinces, Sri Lanka Athletics and the Sri Lanka Schools Athletics Association to ensure that all officials and athletes are made aware of the doping control procedures. Only then that the Junior Track and Field competitions could to be conducted under doping control.

An effort has to be put in to coordinate these institutions to make doping control possible at competitions involving schools athletes. Will SLADA take the initiative to do that?



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Mihiranga, Charuka shine as Richmond secure quarter-final place 

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Under 17 Division I Cricket  

by Reemus Fernando   

Spinner Pubudu Mihiranga produced a five wicket haul to lead Richmond to 60 runs victory over Sri Devananda in the Under 17 Division I cricket pre-quarter-final played at Ambalangaoda on Sunday. Richmond were in danger of missing the quarter-final berth after Ravindu de Silva triggered a middle order collapse to restrict them to 166 runs. But Mihiranga’s counter attack helped them earn the crucial victory as they restricted the home team to 106 runs.

Chasing a target of 167 runs to win, Mayura Malshan, Lahiru Kavinda and Sithum Vihanga were the only batsmen to reach double figures as Devananda were bowled out in the 25th over. After doing well in the field, their batsmen failed to back up, with five batsmen getting out without scoring.  For Richmond, Thamindu Pradeeptha and Yuri Koththigoda did early damage before Mihiranga came up with his impressive spell to complete a five wicket haul.  Mihiranga’s 8.5 overs included four maidnes and he gave away just 23 runs for his five wickets.

Deciding to bat, Charuka Gunasekara stood out with a valuable knock of 81 runs (94 balls, 14x4s). With Gunasekara going great guns Richmond were looking at posting a challenging total. But Ravindu de Silva had other ideas.

Introduced to the attack as the ninth bowler, de Silva rattled the Richmond batting line up with a five wicket haul. Richmond were 133 for two wickets at the end of the 30th over but their last eight wickets could add only 33 runs during the remainder of the innings as Ravindu De Silva joined Sithum de Silva to contained the formidable line up to 166 runs.

Sithum who completed his quota of ten overs gave away just 19 runs for his three wickets. Ravindu bowled seven overs taking five wickets for 19 runs, while Mayura Malshan and Sithum Vihanga too bowled economical spells. Malshan’s seven overs (7.2) cost him just 12 runs. In the other two pre-quarter-final matches played on Saturday, Revata College, Balapitiya pulled off an exciting three runs victory over St. Thomas’, Matara and Trinity scored two wickets victory over D.S. Senanayake.

Scores:  

Richmond 166 all out 43.2 overs (Helith Edirisinghe 19, Charuka Gunasekara 81, Extras 24; Sithum de Silva 3/19, Ravindu de Silva 5/19) 

Sri Devananda 106 all out in 24.5 overs (Mayura Malshan 28, Lahiru Kavinda 30; Pubudu Mihiranga 5/23, Yuri Koththigoda 2/11) 

Results of the Matches played on Saturday 

Revata beat St. Thomas’ Matara by three runs at Matara  

Scores: 

Revata 140 all out in 49.1 overs (Kaveesha Mendis 59, Malith Mihiranga 23; Loshitha Diksith 3/26, Manuga Yonal 2/22, Pesandu Sanjan 2/14) 

St. Thomas’ 137 all out in 37.5 overs (Abdul Majid 26, Manuga Yonal 23, Sanju Dilshan 21; Kaveesha Mendis 2/32, Malith Mihiranga 2/18, Shehan Madusanka 3/18, Purna Ranyuru 3/18) 

 Trinity beat DSS by one wicket at Mount Lavinia  

Scores: 

DSS 144 all out in 45.3 overs (Shanal Binuksha 23, Sohan Senarathyapa 39, Chanul de Alwis 20, Extras 24; Malith Rathnayake 2/25, Sweaph Anurajeewa 2/24)

Trinity 145 for 8 in 49.5 overs (Sweaph Anurajeewa 27, Jayavi Liyanagama 32; Akidha Weerasuriya 2/19, Randisha Bandaranayake 2/22) 

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Man United’s David de Gea after Brentford defeat: Last season’s horror show still in our minds

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David de Gea has said Manchester United are struggling to get over last season’s traumatic campaign and added the hangover is contributing to a nightmare start to life under Erik ten Hag.Ten Hag is the first United manager in more than 100 years to lose his first two games in charge after back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

The 4-0 humiliation at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday left Ten Hag’s team bottom of the Premier League table and De Gea said the dismal end to last season, when United lost seven of their final 12 games, is playing a part.

“It was a difficult season and probably it’s still in our minds,” he said. “When something goes wrong people get panicky, it’s difficult. But we have to learn, we have a new manager, some new players, we need to be more positive, keep learning and improve.”

All four goals at Brentford were conceded in the opening 35 minutes, prompting Ten Hag to replace Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez and Fred at half-time. The Dutchman said afterwards he wanted to change his entire starting lineup following a disastrous first 45 minutes and De Gea said the United boss relayed his anger to the players at the break.David de Gea endured a miserable afternoon as Manchester United were thrashed at Brentford. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“He said it was unacceptable, what we were doing on the pitch,” De Gea said. “Nothing else to be honest. It was horrible, then some tactical things. It was horrible from us.

“I must take responsibility, I think I cost two goals to the team today. That first goal cannot happen. As a team we should react much better than we did, but I think I cost the team two goals.”

It won’t get any easier for United with Liverpool their next opponents at Old Trafford on Aug. 22. United haven’t beaten Liverpool in a league game since 2018 and the last three fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side have ended in three defeats and a combined score of 13-2.

“It’s about winning games,” De Gea added. “As soon as we win one game, two games, we’re going to start feeling better and more positive.

“We’re training really well, people are training hard, everyone is giving everything, to be honest, but then in the games we are not performing. For sure we’re going to learn, we have to learn and we have to play much better.”

(ESPN)

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Godamanne retires as Sri Lanka secure Group III promotion

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Sri Lanka registered a 2-0 victory over Iraq to earn promotion to Group III as they won the vital encounter in the Asia Oceania Zone Group IV Event, which was also the final Davis Cup match for Harshana Godamanna at the SLTA clay courts in Colombo on Saturday.

In the singles Yasitha de Silva beat Abdullah Ali Hatem 6-4, 6-2 and Harshana Godamanna beat Adel Mustafa Al-Saedi 6-3, 6-2.

Godamanna who represented Sri Lanka for 20 years made his retirement from the game a memorable one. He was presented with a plaque with many pictures of him in action and his parents in appreciation. The presentation was made by Iqbal bin Issack president of SLTA.

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