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Royalist becomes the youngest champ in sailing history, Navy dominates Nationals



Sri Lanka Sailing Nationals

The Sri Lanka Sailing Nationals 2021 concluded on December 11 after two days of sailors of all ages battling it out on the clear waters of the Bolgoda Lake.

With a record number of 117 sailors fighting for the coveted titles under clear skies on December 10 and 11 at this year’s nationals, the races concluded with clear wins as well as close shaves.

The Sri Lanka Navy emerged as winners in five of the seven classes including the GP14, Enterprise, Laser Standard, Laser Radial and Windsurfing.

This year’s races also saw the emergence of 13-year-old Yusef Hazari, the youngest sailor ever to win the nationals. Racing in the Optimist class, Hazari, a grade eight student of Royal College, Colombo, raced to clear victory in the back-to-back races that lasted six hours on Friday. Hazari came in first in five of the six races, claiming victory, with Tharen Nanayakkara and Nikhil Nanayakkara of S. Thomas’ College coming in second and third places.

With low and sudden pockets of winds, this year’s nationals tested the skill of sailors. “Sailing is like chess on water. This time it was about catching the wind at the right moment working with it. It was pretty intense, and we had to sail without a break for six hours because of this reason,” said Hazari. “Everyone did well, despite so many challenges. I’m happy to win the nationals, thanks to my school and our coaches.”

The Laser Radial saw J.M.P.L Jayasuriya and P.N.P.K Dissanayake of the Navy battling for first place, with Jayasuriya winning by a margin. Dhanika Nanayakkara of S. Thomas’ College came in first in the Laser 4.7 class with Jehan de Silva and Niveyn Nanayakkara, also of S. Thomas’ College coming in first and second runners up respectively.

W.M.C Marambe and GPP Karunaratne of the Sri Lanka Navy won the GP 14, while N.G.M.U Ghanawardene and ASK de Soyza of the Navy and Devin Goonawardene and Kaif Sally racing for the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club came in a close second and third respectively.

In windsurfing Priyantha Gunawardene of the Sri Lanka Navy beat reigning champ Chaminda Silva of the Bentota Windsurf Club in a close contest to emerge as the winner.

“It’s great to have the nationals back again after a lapse of almost two years,” said Sarath Kuragama, the Chief Operating Officer of the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka. “All the younger sailors did well despite their lack of practice. We have great coaches, perfect sailing waters and a lot of talent in sailing in Sri Lanka, we just need more of the right equipment,” he said.

Despite the record number of entrants this year, many competitors belonging to schools could not participate in the races due to the shortage of sails in some senior classes.

“We need to rectify this,” said National Coach W.P. Krishan Janaka, who coaches both the Navy as well as the national pool. “In sailing fifty percent is skill and the other fifty percent depends on the boat, and we need better boats, sails and equipment.”

The 2021 Nationals, organised by the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka and the National Olympic Committee, resumed after a year’s break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All sailing events including the Nationals and the International Optimist Dingy Association (IODA) Championship, scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka last year were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Although the Navy continued to sail in protective bubbles, others, including students have come back to sailing after almost two years.

Sri Lanka has produced many international class sailors through the years.

J.M.P.L Jayasuriya, who won both the Laser Radial and the Enterprise class says he owes his win purely to “skill and experience.” Jayasuriya won silver at the South Asian Games in 2006 in the Enterprise class.

“The winds were bad on Saturday, the salmonella on the water didn’t help and with our battered sails, it came down to skill and experience,” he said.

WMC Marambe of the Navy who won the JP14 class called the 2021 Nationals, “one of the best.” Marambe has won many international events and has been sailing for the Navy for 20 years.

Chairman of the National Olympic Committee Suresh Subramanium was present as chief guest of the event.

Currently, the sailors are getting ready for trials for the Asian Games scheduled to be held in September 2022 in China.

Optimist Class

Winner –

Yusef Hazari – Royal College

1st Runner Up –

Tharen Nanayakkara – S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia

2nd Runner Up –

Nikhil Nanayakkara – S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia

Laser Radial

Winner –

JMPL Jayasuriya – Sri Lanka Navy

1st Runner Up –

PNPK Dissanayake – Sri Lanka Navy

2nd Runner Up –

Dhanika Nanayakkara – S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia

Laser Standard

Winner –

KGCUS Bandara – Sri Lanka Navy

1st Runner Up –

UD Rajapaksa – Sri Lanka Navy

2nd Runner Up –

JS Senaviratne – Sri Lanka Navy


Winner –

WMC Marambe and GPP Karunaratne – Sri Lanka Navy

1st Runner Up –

NGMU Ghanawardene and ASK De Soyza – Sri Lanka Navy

2nd Runner Up –

Devin Goonawardene and Kaif Sally – Ceylon Motor Yacht Club


Winner –

JMPL Jayasuriya and TDS Perera – Sri Lanka Navy

KC De Soyza and JPS De Silva – Sri Lanka Navy

JHMPI Jayapadma and SPPN Kumara – Sri Lanka Navy

Laser 4.7 Class

Winner –

Dhanika Nanayakkara – S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia

1st Runner Up –

Jehan De Silva – S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia

2nd Runner Up –

Niveyn Nanayakkara – S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia


Winner –

Priyantha Gunawardene – Sri Lanka Navy

1st Runner Up –

Chaminda Silva – Bentota Windsurf Club

2nd Runner Up –

Chameera Gunawardana – Bentota Windsurf Club.

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Shoriful ruled out of SL Tests with wrist injury



Bangladesh’s injury woes continue as pace bowler Shoriful Islam has now been ruled out of the remainder of the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka due to a wrist injury. Shoriful is the latest addition to the hosts’ injury list as they earlier lost Taskin Ahmed (shoulder) and Mehedy Hasan (finger).

“Shoriful Islam had a contusion of the right hand while batting. After the fourth day’s play an X-ray was carried out which has revealed a fracture on the base of the 5th metacarpal bone,” physio Bayjedul Islam said in a statement on Thursday.

“Such injuries tend to take around three weeks to heal followed by a couple of week’s rehab. He will not be available to play for four to five weeks.”

Shoriful was retired out on Day 4 after pacer Kasun Rajitha’s short delivery hit him on the gloves. Bangladesh were forced to end their innings at 465 following his injury.

Cricbuzz has learnt that Shoriful is unlikely to be available for the Test series against West Indies as well. Bangladesh will leave on June 6 to take part in the full fledged tour of West Indies, comprising two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is.

Meanwhile, the BCB has retained the same squad for the second Test against Sri Lanka that will begin on May 23. The board opted to not name a replacement for Shoriful since they have a big squad to pick from.

“We did not take any replacement for Shoriful as we have got a big squad in hand,” BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin told Cricbuzz. ‘’We have to see fitness of Hasan Mahmud (who was in discussion as a possible replacement of Shoriful) and though we are not considering him in this series, if he is fit we might pick him for the Bangladesh ‘A’ team tour of West Indies.”


Mominul Haque (C), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Kumar Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Quazi Nurul Hasan Sohan, Musaddek Hossain, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Shohidul Islam, Rezaur Rahman Raja.

( Cricbuzz)

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Yupun enters World Championship qualifying fray with a superb start



by Reemus Fernando  

National record holder of the men’s 100 metres Yupun Abeykoon produced a superb sprint performance to commence his season proper at the World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meeting at Savona’s Fontanassa Sports Centre on Wednesday.

In a race where Marcell Jacobs also made his first 100m appearance since his Tokyo Olympic triumph, Abeykoon clocked 10.16 seconds to finish fourth. That was after the sprinter clocked a wind assisted 10.04 seconds in the heats.

His 10.04 seconds performance is the fastest sprint a Sri Lankan has run according to Sri Lanka Athletics statistician Saman Kumara Gunawardana.

In 2019 former record holder Himasha Eshan, who is currently serving a suspension, had a 10.11 seconds feat to a tailwind measured at +3.1.

With his superb season open performance, Abeykoon has entered the race to earn qualification for the World Championships which will be held in Oregon in July. The Italy based sprinter enters the fray at the 56th position in the ‘Road to Oregon 2022’ rankings.

The athletics’ showcase discipline will have 48 slots for the World Championships. While 26 spots will be filled by athletes who reach the tough qualifying standard of 10.05 seconds, the other positions will be filled according to ranking positions in the ‘Road to Oregon 2022’ list.

With the qualifying period closing on June 26th Abeykoon who also set a new Asian record in the 150 metres recently, will have just over a month to achieve the rare honour.

Currently, javelin thrower Sumedha Ranasinghe (25th) and high jumper Ushan Thiwanka are the only Sri Lankan male athletes to have secured a top position in the Road to Oregon 2022 Rankings. The US-based high jumper has come closer to accomplishing the target with back to back 2.20 metres feats. Thiwanka is currently ranked 30th on the list of high jumpers. Both athletes need to remain within the top 32 positions until June 26th to qualify for the event.

In the women’s category, steeplechaser Nilani Ratnayake is the only Sri Lankan athlete to be ranked within the top 30 places.

At the World Athletics Continental Tour Challenger meeting on Wednesday where Abeykoon finished fourth, Marcell Jacobs made a victorious return winning the final in 10.04 seconds after a wind-assisted 9.99 (2.3m/s) in the heats.

Ivory Coast sprinter Arthur Cisse finished second in 10.10 seconds beating former European record-holder Jimmy Vicaut (10.12).

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Dickwella, Chandimal help Sri Lanka draw opening Test



Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella dug deep with the Chattogram surface staying true to its nature of being a batting paradise as the first Test between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, ended in a draw. Things, however, could have been different if not for the pair’s dogged 99-run stand for the seventh wicket on the fifth and final day.

Having started the morning on a brisk note, Sri Lanka lost two wickets each on either side of the lunch interval to stumble to 161 for 6, with a narrow lead of 93. But both Chandimal and Dickwella showed grit and determination keeping the Bangladesh bowlers at bay for 203 deliveries to eke out a draw. Dickwella, more adventurous with his shot-making, brought up his 20th Test half-century and finished with an unbeaten 61 off 96 balls. Chandimal, on the other hand, was more measured during his 135-ball 39 not out. The two teams shook hands an hour before the scheduled close of play, with Sri Lanka on 260 for 6 in 90.1 overs.

The Bangladesh bowlers, particularly Taijul Islam and Shakib Al Hasan, stuck to their lines, but were unable to break the seventh-wicket stand. Taijul was the pick of the bowlers returning 4 for 82. Angelo Mathews was named Player of the Match for his 199 in the first innings.

It took Sri Lanka all of 24 balls to wipe off the 29-run deficit in the first session with Kusal Mendis taking the attack to Bangladesh. He was the aggressor while Karunaratne, more circumspect in his approach, rotated the strike well as runs came at a premium in the first hour of the morning.

Kusal started off the day by clattering Taijul for two fours in the first over before slamming Khaled Ahmed for a hattrick of four either side of the wicket as Sri Lanka scored 59 runs in the first nine overs of the first session. It did not help that Bangladesh were a bowler short with Shoriful Islam ruled out of the series, after fracturing his right hand courtesy a Kasun Rajitha bouncer late on day three.

Shakib and Taijul then restored some parity with the latter striking twice. He first removed Kusal Mendis with a peach of a delivery that pitched on middle stump to turn and trim the off bail for a 43-ball 48 before accounting for Mathews with a stunning return catch for a duck. Mathews, who was visibly frustrated having not scored for 14 balls launched a straight drive back at Taijul, who somehow got both hands to it and completed the catch above his head.

Sri Lanka, ahead by 60 runs at lunch, started off after the break on a positive note collecting seven runs from each of the first two overs. Karunaratne reached his 28th half-century with a thick outside edge off Shakib. However, his joy was short-lived as he fell soon after to Taijul. Going the aggressive route, Karunaratne skipped down the track but his mistimed flick could only travel as far as Mominul Haque at midwicket, who completed a good catch diving to his right.

Dhananjaya de Silva continued taking the attacking option and he did succeed to an extent before falling to a rank long-hop for 33. Shakib, to his credit, floated the short of a length delivery, enticing the batter, who took the bait and pulled straight to Mushfiqur Rahim. Shakib could have had another wicket the very next ball but Dickwella’s sweep just evaded a leaping Taijul at backward square.

Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel at that stage but Chandimal and Dickwella dug in to rescue the visitors.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 397

(Angelo Mathews 199, Dinesh Chandimal 66, Kusal Mendis 54; Nayeem Hasan 6/105) & 260/6 (Niroshan Dickwella 61*, Dimuth Karunaratne 52, Kusal Mendis 48; Taijul Islam 4/82) drew with Bangladesh 465 (Tamim Iqbal 133, Mushfiqur Rahim 105, Liton Das 88; Kasun Rajitha 4/60, Asitha Fernando 3/72).

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