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NSSF Skeet Open Championship on January 23, 24

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The National Shooting Sports Federation of Sri Lanka (NSSF) has set January 23 and 24 as dates for the NSSF Skeet Open Championship, which will be held at the National Shotgun Range in Payagala, Kalutara.

Under the leadership of Shirantha Peiris and purview of experts Mohan Gilbert as Match Director and Dinesh Lionel as Range Master, the Skeet Open 2021 is expected to herald NSSF’s intended events calendar, which consists of 11 local meets.

“We are highly thrilled to have events back after many months. All are eager to take part and we are certain that we can expect a good competition, which will be conducted as per ISSF rules and regulations. More importantly, this meet will be considered as a trial for future international meets,” stated Pradeep Edirisinghe, the General Secretary of NSSF.

An official communiqué released by the NSSF revealed that participants will be allocated slots to shoot two rounds of 25 clays for a total of 50 clays on the first day.

“On the second day participants with Top 12 scores out of the first 50 clays will be detailed to shoot three more rounds of 25 clays to shoot a total of 125 clays. The top six shooters from the total of 125 clays will then move on to shoot the finals as per current ISSF format, where any tie breaks will also be settled. The scores from the first two rounds will be considered for the Team, Masters and Ladies categories,” the release issued by NSSF said.

The NSSF General Secretary stated that entries will be accepted until January 20 with the signatures of shooters and club officials. Entries sent by participants should be sent to the NSSF only through the respective clubs in writing and with duly paid entry fees, the NSSF communiqué said.

“Clubs with preferences of when to shoot will be entertained by the NSSF until January 20, while dates and time slots for clubs will be finalised and circulated by January 21. Once all is finalised no changes will be made under any circumstances and clubs will be held responsible to ensure their competitors are present to shoot in the allocated squads,” said Edirisinghe who detailed the arrangements made to conduct a smooth event.

The overall winner of the Individual Open event will receive a gold medal and a certificate, while the next top two finishers will receive silver and bronze medals respectively with certificates. The winners of the Team event will also receive a similar set of awards. In addition to the two main events Youth, Ladies and Masters categories are also slotted to take place depending on the number of entries received.

The two-day event will be the first to be held in almost 10 months, since sports activities in Sri Lanka were forced to call off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Eight Sri Lanka cricketers fail fitness tests

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Avishka Fernando has failed a second fitness test inside ten days.

By Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka Cricket has issued an ultimatum to its contracted players after eight of them failed a fitness test in Colombo. A pool of 20 shortlisted players for the upcoming tour of West Indies underwent fitness tests in Colombo and eight of them did poorly failing the tests. The list includes several permanent members in the side and some senior players.

The players have now been given an ultimatum to get their act together before another fitness test on February 3rd. If they failed the second fitness test, they will be ineligible for selection for the tour of West Indies. Sri Lanka will play two Tests, three ODIs and three T-20s in the Caribbean.  

Fitness has been a growing concern within the team and Head Coach Mickey Arthur has demanded excellence in this aspect. Opening batsman Avishka Fernando was sent home from Galle lead up to the Test series against England after he failed the fitness test. It is believed that Fernando had failed a second fitness test as well conducted yesterday.

It has been argued that players remaining at home during COVID times had resulted in poor fitness levels. But question marks about fitness standards had been there for a while now.

Meanwhile the bio-bubble in Galle has been pruned to 17 players after Sri Lanka Cricket informed team management to send home five players. The bubble will be reduced by a further two on the day of the match making the squad to 15 players, like during pre-Covid days.

The reserves engaging in card games when the batting was collapsing on day one of the Test match had angered fans and former players. It is believed that the drastic measure to send players home was taken as a reaction to it. The players were not in the dressing room when cameras caught them playing cards but in a floor above the dressing room.

Accordingly, Dimuth Karunarante, Kusal Mendis, Nuwana Pradeep, Minod Bhanuka and Lahiru Kumara have been sent home. Karunaratne and Mendis were not involved in card games. The former has been released as he is injured while the latter has been sent to the High Performance Center at RPS to work on technical aspects of the game. Mendis picked up four ducks in a row.

Suranga Lakmal and Oshada Fernando, two players who engaged in card games, have recovered from their injuries and are expected to feature in the second Test match. While Lakmal is expected to share the new ball with Asitha Fernando, Oshada is expected to fill the vacant number three slot.

Niroshan Dickwella will continue to bat at number six but has been asked to provide more consistency.

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Yasitha, Anika looking to add doubles titles

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Tennis Nationals 2020

Men’s and women’s singles champions Yasitha de Silva and Anika Seneviratne will look to secure the doubles titles as well as they booked final spots in the respective doubles tournaments of the Tennis Nationals 2020 at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Monday.

Just a day after winning his first men’s singles national title de Silva paired Sankha Atukorale to beat Nishendiran Sivendran and Michael Siyaguna 9-1, 6-3 in the men’s doubles semi-final. Now they will meet giant killers 16-year old Chathurya Nilaweera and 17-year-old Thehan Wijemanne in today’s final.

Nilaweera and Wijemanne ousted defending champions Sharmal Dissanayake and Rukmal Cooray in the quarter-finals before edging out Dhilvan Herath and Archana Lokuge in a closely contested semi-final. They bounced back from a 5-7 defeat in the first set to secure their final place they scored 6-2, 11-9.

Meanwhile Anika Seneviratne, who won her second women’s singles national title on Sunday, advanced to the women’s doubles final with her sister Alalna as they secured a 6-1, 6-3 win over Oneli Perera and Sethmi Sumanaweera. Seneviratne sisters are the defending champions.

They will meet Janali Manamperi and Savini Jayasuriya in the final. Manamperi and Jayasuriya beat Neyara Weerawansa and Tuvini de Alwis 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in the semis. (RF)

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Dimuth ruled out of second Test  

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Dimuth Karunaratne (R) has been ruled out of second Test against England.

Rex Clementine in Galle Fort

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne has been ruled out of second Test against England that will get underway later this week. The opening batsman missed the first Test as well.

Karunaratne was hit on the hand by Wiaan Mulder during the second Test match at Wanderers leaving him with a fractured left thumb. That didn’t deter him from going onto post a hundred.

However, the  recovery has been slow and Karunaratne who missed the opening Test match has been ruled out of the series as well. He’s expected to return to lead the side for the series against West Indies. Another player who was injured South Africa – Dhananjaya de Silva has  started  rehabilitation. De Silva who tore a thigh muscle is expected to return for West Indies series.

Meanwhile,  Sri Lanka Cricket has expressed dissatisfaction towards team management after several players were seen engaging in card games while wickets were falling in a hurry on the opening day of the Test match. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 135 after winning the toss. Although they bounced back and fought hard over the next three days, they were always catching up having conceded too much advantage to the opposition.

The four players involved in card games are Suranga Lakmal, fellow fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep, top order batsman Oshada Fernando and left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan.

The extended Sri Lanka squad during COVID times contains 22 players and these four players were not in the dressing room when cameras captured them but on a floor above the dressing room.

Five players who are not going to be part of the second Test match will return home today.

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