12 National records were established at the annual event 25 years ago
by Reemus Fernando
Sri Lanka Athletics will conduct the 98th National Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium from today. Looking back at a remarkable National Championship conducted by the athletics governing body 25 years ago. “Performance wise there has been no other National Championship at which so many national records were created” says Sri Lanka Athletics statistician Saman Kumara Gunawardena referring to the 73rd National Athletics Championship which was held from October 24 to 26, 1995 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
The championship was held in an era which is popularly known as the golden era of track and field sports in the country. Prominent athletes including Sugath Thilakaratne, Chinthaka de Soysa, Sriyani Kulawansa, Damayanthi Dharsha and Olympic medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe, who were well known even in the Asian circuit were at their peak during this time. But neither Susanthika nor Dharsha took part in this championship which witnessed 12 national records being established.
As per the veteran athletics statistician Gunawardena, the 12 national records established at that meet is the highest number of national records established at a single national championship to date. Incidentally two athletes who created records later improved on them to have them against their names even today.
Hurdler Mahesh Perera and distance runner Keshani Samarakoon created two records each. Perera clocked 14.07 seconds to win the 110 metres hurdles in a new national record time and also had an equally remarkable 51.93 seconds performance to win the 400 metres hurdles, again in a new national record time. Perera was the runner up in the 100 metres dash won by Chinthaka de Soysa.
Keshani Samarakoon created new records in the women’s 1500 metres (4:32.19 secs) and the 3000 metres (9:41.44 secs). In both events her runner up was Sujeewa Nilmini Jayasena who would later become one of Sri Lanka’s best long distance runners of her era.
The men’s 200 metres produced a notable tape finish with Chinthaka de Soysa and Sugath Thilakaratne both breasting in a time of 21.19 seconds, a new national record. Soysa was adjudged the winner. Thilakaratne yet to win Asian Games and Asian Championship golds clocked 46.63 seconds to win his pet event the 400 metres. Two years later he would accomplish those Asian achievements and more than a decade later he would become the president of Sri Lanka Athletics.
Long distance events returned notable performances with Saman Weerawardana ( 14:21.79 secs), JMS Jayaweera (14:30.20 secs) and RMR Ramanayake (14:39.45 secs) winning first, second and third places respectively producing sub15 minute timings.
The men’s 10,000 metres witnessed JMS Jayaweera returning a time of 30:10.23 seconds to create a new national record.
Legendary marathoner SLB Rosa had clocked 29 minutes and 18 seconds in a 10,000 metres in 1975 in Arkansas City, USA but the performances achieved overseas had not been recognized even by 1995. But now Sri Lanka Athletics lists Rosa’s 1995 record as the National record.
In the men’s long jump Benildus Fernando created a new national record clearing 7.74 metres. The first and second runners up were Sujith Rohitha (7.42m) and Indika Chaminda Vithanage (7.27m). Incidentally all three athletes have held the national record during their careers.
Ruwan Pradeep Perera who towered above the rest of the field for a long period dominating pole vault established one of the national records at this meet clearing 4.41 metres.
A giant in the throwing arena, Talavou Alailima won both the shot put (16.21m) and the discus throw. The feat of 50.24 metres to win the discus throw was recorded as a new national mark. A new javelin national record was created by Pradeep Nishantha, who years later, become the coach of Sumeda Ranasinghe, the first Sri Lankan javelin thrower at the Olympics,. Incidentally, like Nishantha Jayasinghe, many athletes who won places at this 1995 National Championships went on to become coaches.
Steeplechase winner Priyantha Thantirige, pole vaulter Ruwan Pradeep Perera, triple jump winner Chandimal Niroshan, hurdlers Sriyani Kulawansa and Nayanthi Kumari Chandrasena, sprinters Dhammika Nandakumara and Tamara Saman Deepika, high jumper Imalka Ranaweera, many time shot put and discus throw national champion Padma Nandani Wijesundara and fellow throwers M.A.S.N. Manchanayake and Saluja Karawita and distance runners, R.M. Tissa Rathnayake and R.M.L.B. Rathnayake went on to become coaches.
In the women’s category Sriyani Kulawansa stood out winning both the 100 metres and the 100 metres hurdles. Her hurdles performance was a new national record. While Yamuna Jayalath Yapa took the 400 metres hurdles record under her name, Jayamini Illeperuma won the 400 and 800 metres. In a rare achievement D.A. Inoka from Walala, won the 10,000 metres.
Of the winners of this meet Chinthaka de Soysa, Benildus Fernando, Mahesh Perera, Sugath Thilakaratne and Sriyani Kulawansa made it to 1996 Olympics and many others who won also went on to clinch golds and silvers at the South Asian Games. (Statistics for this story were provided by Sri Lanka Athletics statistician Saman Kumara Gunawardena)
1. Chinthaka De Soysa (SL Army) 10.52 secs., 2. Mahesh Perera (Track Master SC) 10.65 secs, 3. PK Sujith Rohitha (Sri Lak AC) 10.85 secs.
1. Chinthaka de Soysa (SL Army) 21.19 secs. (NSLR), 2. Sugath Thilakaratne (Track Master SC) 21.19 secs, 3. Dhammika Nandakumara (SL Army) 21.79 secs.
1. Sugath Thilakaratne (Track Master SC) 46.63 secs, 2. SR Rathnadeepa (Sri Lak AC) 48.06 secs, 3. Suresh Dematapitiya (CT & FC) 48.25 secs.
1. RM Tissa Rathnayake (SL Army) 1:49.85 secs, 2. RMLB Rathnayake (SL Army) 1:50.49 secs, 3. PMGA Dharmasena (SL Navy) 1:50.74 secs.
1. Lalith Galappaththi (Unattached) 3:56.43 secs, 2. RM Tissa Rathnayake (SL Army) 3:56.96 secs, 3. RMLB Rathnayake (SL Army) 3:58.16 secs.
1. Saman Weerawardana (SL Army) 14:21.79 secs, 2. JMS Jayaweera (SL Army) 14:30.20 secs, 3. RMR Ramanayake (SL Army) 14:39.45 secs.
1. JMS Jayaweera (SL Army) 30:10.23 secs (NSLR), 2. RMR Ramanayake (SL Army) 31:10.76 secs, 3. W Sanjeewa (SL Army) 31:19.50 secs.
110 M. Hurdles:
1. Mahesh Perera (Track Master SC) 14.07 secs (NSLR), 2. Tarique Gunasekara (Track Master SC) 14.74 secs, 3. Kenneth Perera (Sri Lak AC) 15.11 secs.
400 M. Hurdles:
1. Mahesh Perera (Track Master SC) 51.93 secs. (NSLR), 2. RC Pushpakumara (SL Army) 52.78 secs, 3. Sunimal Manamperi (SL Army) 53.96 secs.
3000 M. Steeplechase:
1. PP Thantirige (SL Army) 9:06.52 secs, 2. Ajith Ebert Silva (SL Army) 9:17.25 secs, 3. DW Prasantha (SL Army) 9:29.56 secs.
1. Patrick Saparamadu (CT & FC) 1.95m, 2. S Maximus Fernando (Ace AC) 1.90m, 3. Glen Wilson (CT & FC) 1.90m.
1. Ruwan Pradeep Perera (SL Army) 4.41 m (NSLR), 2. DMG Dissanayake (SL Army) 4.20m, 3. W Somarathne (SL Army) 4.15m.
1. T Benildus Fernando (Sri Lak AC) 7.74 m (NSLR), 2. PK Sujith Rohitha (Sri Lak AC) 7.42m, 3. Indika Chaminda Vithanage (Track Master SC) 7.27m.
1. Chandimal Niroshan (Ace AC) 15.42m, 2. PS Senathilake (SL Army) 15.05m, 3. PA Manawadu (CT & FC) 14.96m.
1. Talavou F Alailima (Track Master SC) 16.21m, 2. W. Fonseka (SL Army) 12.18m, 3. Suranga Weerasinghe (SL Schools) 12.03m.
1. Talavou F Alailima (Track Master SC) 50.24m (NSLR), 2. Ajith Jayakody (SL Army) 46.06m, 3. Alexi Gunasekara (Ace AC) 39.04m.
1. AB Pradeep Nishantha (SL Army) 64.62 m (NSLR), 2. PK Aluvihare (Track Master SC) 62.82m, 3. APS Jayajeewa (Sri Lak AC) 60.16m.
1. MA Sriyani Kulawansa (Ace AC) 11.92 secs, 2. Tamara Saman Deepika (SL Army) 11.92 secs, 3. Dilhani Rupasinghe (SL Army) 12.04 secs.
1. Tamara Samandeepika (SL Army) 24.27 secs, 2. Dilhani Rupasinghe (SL Army) 25.90 secs, 3. PC Hemathilake (SL Schools) 26.68 secs.
1. Jayamini Illeperuma (Ace AC) 55.59 secs, 2. BG Chandralatha (SL Army) 56.80 secs, 3. HH Thambaralatha (Matara DAA) 57.97 secs.
1. Jayamini Illeperuma (Ace AC) 2:13.36 secs, 2. AG Dhammika Kumari (Kegalle DAA) 2:14.47 secs, 3. AMN Edirisinghe (SL Schools) 2:20.93 secs.
1. Keshani Samarakoon (SL Air Force) 4:32.19 secs (NSLR), 2. Sujeewa Nilmini Jayasena (Unattached) 4:40.38 secs, 3. Udeni Kanchanamala (Track Master SC) 4:40.84 secx.
1. Keshani Samarakoon (SL Air Force) 9:41.44secs (NSLR), 2. Sujeewa Nilmini Jayasena (Unattached) 9:44.36 secs, 3. Udeni Kanchanamala (Track Master SC) 10:12.26 secs.
1. D.A. Inoka (SL Schools) 39:15.88 secs, 2. Deepa Priyangani (Matara DAA) 40:45.02 secs, 3. WM Irin (Kegalle DAA) 41:23.76 secs.
100 M. Hurdles:
1. MA Sriyani Kulawansa (Ace AC) 13.53 secs (NSLR), 2. Inoka Umayani (SL Army) 15.63 secs, 3. Nayanthi Kumari Chandrasena (Track Master SC) 16.18 secs.
400 M. Hurdles:
1. Yamuna Jayalath Yapa (Sri Lak AC) 62.79 secs (NSLR), 2. Anusha Jayweera (SL Schools) 63.25 secs, 3. Viyanka Welpahla (SL Navy) 63.89 secs.
1. Muditha Hiripitya (Sri Lak AC) 1.64m, 2. DG Rajapaksha (SL Navy) 1.61m, 3. Imalka Ranaweera (Sri Lak AC) 1.58m.
1. Anusha Kariyawasam (Sri Lak AC) 5.87m, 2. KM Indrani (Matale DAA) 5.62m, 3. PES Fernando (Sri Lak AC) 5.58m.
1. R. Thushari Ariyaratne (SL Army) 12.00m, 2. Padma Nandani Wijesundara (Track Master SC) 11.90m, 3. PES Fernando (Sri Lak AC) 11.45m.
1. Padma Nandani Wijesundara (Track Master SC) 11.31m, 2. LR Siribaddana (Track Master SC) 11.02m, 3. M.A.S.N. Manchanayake (Track Master SC) 10.36m.
1. Padma Nandani Wijesundara (Track Master SC) 41.60m, 2. L Saluja Karawita (SL Schools) 38.30m, 3. Suneetha Iranganie (Puttalam DAA) 34.86m.
1. MA Priyanka Nishani (Sri Lak AC) 43.74m, 2. Rosemary Fernando (Sri Lak AC) 40.76m, 3. Chamani Ridma Fernando (SL Schools) 38.60m.
4X100 M. Inter Club Relay:
1. SL Army 49.31secs, 2. Ace AC 50.13 secs, 3. Track Master SC 51.15 secs
New Sri Lanka Record -NSLR
The brand of cricket we want to play is free and relaxed: – Sangakkara
The 2008 IPL champions employed five opening pairs in the previous edition.
As many as five opening pairs were experimented with by the Rajasthan Royals last season. Ahead of their season opener against Punjab Kings, Sanju Samson, the newly-appointed captain of the franchise says that this year around, more stability can be expected from the side that chopped and changed so much to the extent of being unable to settle on a side until much later in the tournament.
“Myself and Sanga will try to give the best combination,” said Samson on Sunday (April 11). “From my point of view, it’s crucial to give an individual or a pair of opening partners enough time in the tournament. So, I think a bit of stability will be seen in this tournament. The rest it depends on how we go.”
Much has been debated about the batting order. Whilst Jos Buttler’s record at the top speaks for itself, Ben Stokes has been their go-to man for the opening slot. With Robin Uthappa gone this year, will they persist with Stokes at the top with Yashasvi Jaiswal, or will they promote Buttler up to a position he loves? Without committing too much either way about their preferred sequence, Kumar Sangakkara, the director of cricket at the Royals said the combination will be a decision they will undertake with the “full buying of the players involved”.
“We look to finalise (combinations) later on today before we go for training and we want we want to keep our options open,” said Sangakkara. “The most important thing is that players are communicated to clearly as to what their roles are and get them to commit to it.
“What we planned to do is get a balanced side, everyone available, a full squad, try and have a consistent philosophy of cricket. The brand of cricket that we want to play is quite free and relaxed. Also in terms of preparing well and executing well… to get everyone prepared to think and to be problem-solvers. To think for themselves. It helps Sanju a lot on the field when people are thinking for themselves and know what’s going on. It builds a lot of trust within the group as well. Everyone has individual strengths that they bring into the side which are highly valued. We try and build that into a good unit where everyone knows what they’re doing, what their value is and what their roles are. Then we’ll go and try to play some good cricket.”
An overhaul in how the Royals went about their business was needed, having had finished last in 2020. Rajasthan just couldn’t crack the code of winning matches consistently and a lot of it had to do with the lack of the team striking together. There were moments of brilliance before they fell back.
“We have a lot of match-winners who are absolutely wonderful players…in Sanju Samson, Rahul Tewatia, our fast bowlers. The key is to have different people who do something a little bit special on the day and the point of a great team performance is to have your regular players performing consistently and once in a while. Someone stepping in to do a little bit extra. If it’s a different player most of the time and not the same person, it’s even better.”
Another area of concern last year was the lack of support from the contingent of pace bowlers around Jofra Archer, who was named MVP. Archer missing the first few games will be a big blow for Rajasthan. Sangakkara, however, threw his support behind the inexperienced Indian bowlers in their squad to come good.
“I think inexperience sometimes can work for you and against. Inexperience would probably mean that the opposition has not really seen them either, but fast bowling, specially in the IPL is not an easy task and we saw that yesterday as well. Sometimes the wickets are really good for batting or most of the wickets are, so you have to be quite skillful. So I’m pretty confident that our young fast bowlers will step up. We’ve had Kartik Tyagi who did very well last season in patches in various phases of the game and this year we have a new additions in Kuldip Yadav and Chetan Sakariya. So I think it’s about you know keeping them again focused on what their job is really and get them trained and prepared to execute all the different deliveries and scenarios and match plans for the opposition. But at the same time concentrate in giving them confidence of their own strengths.”
When asked if despite all his years in the game, the highs and lows, he feels pressure of expectations in his new role, Sangakkara didn’t mince his words.
“I think there are always expectations and pressure. You can’t get away from that and you got to accept it. And the only way you deal with it is really, you know ticking off the boxes that you want in terms of training, in terms of preparation, getting combinations right. Get the players involved take ownership of not their own roles, but also the team plans and that makes things a lot easier. You can’t guarantee what will happen on the day of a match, but what you can guarantee is that you can go out and control what you control. Take a great attitude out, and Sanju always talks about playing with passion and with heart. I think that’s a very important point as well. That can really lift a team to do some special things out there when the pressure is on.
“So for me personally, know my job is to get everyone ready and once they get on the field my job is actually secondary. It’s about them going out there and expressing themselves playing really good smart cricket. But we wait and see. I think everyone’s really looking forward to starting the tournament,” he added.
Sheran’s back to back half centuries help Joes
Back to back half centuries by Sheran Fonseka stood in good stead for St. Joseph’s as they forced a draw to their First XI cricket encounter against S. Thomas’ at Darley Road on Monday. Thus they retained the Gilmore Jayasuriya Trophy which they won under the captaincy of Sameera Weerasinghe in 2009.
Commencing from 344 for nine overnight, the Thomians declared their innings after Yasiru Rodrigo completed his century, an unbeaten 103 runs.
It was Rodrigo’s day as he followed up his century with a three wicket haul to trouble the home team.
The Joes lost wickets at regular intervals but Fonseka’s contribution helped them post 176 for nine wickets declared. Soon they were asked to follow on but the open batsmen put up a healthy stand to prevent a repetition of first innings disappointments.
Fonseka scored an unbeaten 57 runs and was involved in a first wicket stand of 123 runs with Sadeesh Jayawardena who scored 62.
Meanwhile the match between Mahanama and St. Anne’s ended in a draw at Kurunegala after the home team posted 164 for nine wickets in reply to visitors’ 169 runs.
S. Thomas’ V St. Joseph’s at
S. Thomas’ 344 for 9 overnight 350 for 9 decl. in 103 overs (Anuk Palihawadena 54, Ryan Fernando 71, Thenuka Liyanage 36, Yasiru Rodrigo 103 n.o., Gunaratnam Caniston 53; Dunith Wellalage 3/111, Shenuka de Silva 2/13)
St. Joseph’s 176 for 9 decl. in 51 overs (Sheran Fonseka 92, Mithira Thenura 20; Yasiru Rodrigo 3/48, Gunaratnam Caniston 3/42, Anuk Palihawadena 2/48) and 127 for 1 in 31 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 62, Sheran Fonseka 57n.o.)
Mahanama V St. Anne’s at Kurunegala
Mahanama 169 all out in 71.2 overs (Sadishan Chamodya 22, Pavan Rathnayake 81, Sachira Weliwatta 23; Pasindu Tennakoon 4/51, Manaan Muzammil 2/49, Kalindu Wijesinghe 2/28)
St. Anne’s 79 for 1 overnight 164 for 9 in 69 overs (Dilhara Deshabandu 39, Kavindu Ekanayake 43, Pivithu Fernando 22, Shevan Nimantha 20; Devindu Kekirideniya 4/57 ) (RF)
Dahamdi, Esha win Round Robin stage
Sri Lanka Girls U-14 Chess Grand Prix 2021
Sanudula Dahamdi of Musaeus College and Esha Pallie of Visakha Vidyalaya were the winners of Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ respectively at the end of the Round Robin stage of the Sri Lanka Youth Girls’ (Under-14) Chess Grand Prix 2021
Dahamdi was outstanding right throughout as she remained unbeaten to score nine points in nine games. Pallie won Group ‘Y’ with a score of 7 ½ points.
Dahamdi beat L.H.M.G.S. Somarathne, Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake and Sasmi Sithumsa in the second session to remain unbeaten.
Esha had a tough competition in last three rounds with a win against Piyumi Uthpala Amarathunga and a draw against Onwli Vithanawasam. She lost her encounter Tenuli Dahamna Rathnayake.
Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake( Central College, Veyangoda), Tharuli Vihansa Ranganath(Yoshida International School) and Oshini Devindya Gunawardhana (Pushpadana High School) scored 5.5, 5.0 and 5.0 respectively and managed to win second, third and fourth places in Group ‘X’ respectively by selecting to the quarter finals.
Oneli Vithanawasam (Lyceum International, Wattala), Desandhi Dhihansa Gamage (Sirimavo Bandaranayake BV) and Tenuli Dhahamna Rathnayake (Gothami Balika Vidyalaya) were placed second, third and fourth in Group ‘Y’.
Esha Pallie, Oneli Vithanawasam, Desandhi Gamage and Dhahamna Rathnayake are now in the quarter-finals.
The top four players in Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ will play a knocked out rounds.
The Youth Girls Chess Grand Prix 2021 which commenced on April 2 with 18 leading Girls Under 14 Chess players will culminate on April 16.
A – Q/F 1 – X winner V Y 4th – Dahamdi V Tenuli
B – Q/F 2 – Y Winner V X 4th – Esha Pallie V Oshini
C – Q/F 3 – X Runner Up V Y 3rd – Nemindi V Desandi
D – Q/F 4 – Y Runner Up V X 3rd – Oneli V Tharuli
The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka is offering Rs. 55,000/= as cash awards for the winners.
The event is held according to the strict health guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and The Medical Unit of Ministry of Sports.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
Happy New Year!
A Cabinet reshuffle needed
7-billion-rupee diamond heist; Madush splls the beans before being shot
Unfit, unprofessional, fat Sri Lankans
The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Opinion6 days ago
Monumental blunders paralysing Sri Lanka
Features4 days ago
How confidence has been eroded
Sports4 days ago
When failures boast of success
Sports7 days ago
COPE exposes large scale corruption at SLC
Features5 days ago
A senior cop remembers April 1971
Politics5 days ago
The British will not learn English, let’s not kid ourselves
news6 days ago
SLC funds amounting to Rs 29 mn in US bank: SLC caught lying before COPE
Editorial7 days ago
Dogs, donkeys, fools and lunatics