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Ruiter speaks of Cheptegei’s chances of breaking world records again

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The man who beat the light:

by Reemus Fernando

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei completed a remarkable double this month as he broke Kenenisa Bekele’s long-held track world record in the 10,000 metres to follow up his 5,000 metres record established in August. When he set records in the two longest track events Cheptegei also beat a series of flashing lights which raced behind him from start to finish along the edge of the inner track. Wavelight technology, a system of flashing lights that helps runners keep pace with record times, was used this year in track events. However, Addy Ruiter, whose coaching brains supported Cheptegei’s record breaking efforts believes that new technology is especially helpful for the spectators and the viewers at home than runners. He said this in an interview with The Island a few days after Cheptegei returned from the World Half Marathon in Poland.

“In Monaco (where he broke the 5000 metres world record) Joshua never saw the light. After 3200 metres the light was behind him. In Valencia he was using the light in the second part of the race, but I don’t believe that the lights are helping a lot. We saw this season already enough races where athletes couldn’t follow the lights. The lights are helpful to the spectators and the (TV) viewers at home,” said the Dutchman, whose charge has now established himself as the dominant distance runner of his generation.

In August Cheptegei slashed nearly two seconds off the 2004 world record of Bekele in creating the new 5,000 metres mark (12:35.36 secs) and on October 7 clocked 26:11.00 seconds to take 6.53 seconds off the Ethiopian’s 10,000 metres world record established in 2005.

“I started coaching Joshua five years ago. Joshua and Global Sports Communication gave me the opportunity to build up his career step by step according to my vision. It is great to see as a coach when he achieves this kind of performances.”

With back-to-back world records against his name, Cheptegei was expected to carry his success on the track to road events by winning the World Half Marathon, which was held in Poland last week. He was placed fourth.

Ruiter said: “In March, he was perfectly prepared for the World Half Marathon but they postponed it. This time around, he was only prepared for the 5,000 and 10,000 metres World Records attempts. During the last period, we didn’t do long runs. By the race day in Poland he had also not totally recovered from the effort put in to Valencia (10,000metres record) and his endurance part was not good enough for such an effort. But it was important for Joshua to represent his country,”

Cheptegei first won at international level when he clinched the World U20 Championships 10,000 metres title in 2014 as a 17-year-old. A double gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships, Olympic titles are the only laurels not in the 24-year-old’s possession. Ruiter said that periodization of Cheptegei’s preparation was different than what athletes normally did but they would not be revealed until at least 2024.

With the Olympics postponed to 2021 will he be attempting another record performance in Tokyo?

“In Tokyo, you are only running for the medals and the time is totally not important. When there is a possibility in 2021, then Joshua will try to break his own World Records.”

Covid 19 pandemic has impacted many athletes adversely. Asked for comment on how the pandemic had affected him and your trainee he had this to say:

“It was and is of course a difficult time for everyone. For most athletes there were no possibilities to run races. For the training it was very helpful. The athlete was still motivated because it gave us the possibility to train without interruptions of races.”

Ruiter has some 20 Uganda athletes, 15 in Kapchorwa and five in Kampala training under his guidance. Halimah Nakaayi, who won the 800 metres title at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, is also trained by him.

Ruiter has visited many countries and it was his love for traveling that has helped him take an easy decision to be in Uganda to coach their athletes.

“I did a lot of traveling in my life and have visited 98 countries. So I’m used to it and not to being in the Netherlands and to be in other cultures. So, when they did ask me for this job, I did not have to think about it twice.”

With the World Records now under Cheptegei’s belt what would be the plan Ruiter has now for his champion athlete?

“With the pandemic, that is a difficult question to answer. We hope that Joshua is having the opportunity to break his own World Records in the 5,000 and 10.000 metres but most important thing is trying to win the double at the Olympic Games.”



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Joes stun Richmond, Mahanama sail through

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Under-19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

St. Joseph’s registered a stunning 128 runs win over league stage group champions Richmond and Mahanama beat St. Anthony’s Katugastota by 38 runs as the two teams completed the semi-final line up of the Under-19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament on Tuesday.

Dunith Wellalage top scored with 61 runs for St. Joseph’s before taking two wickets as the Joes ended Richmond’s unbeaten run restricting them to 100 runs. Incidentally, Richmond had recorded five wins in a row during the league stage and were the champions in group ‘Z’. St. Joseph’s were the third placed team in group ‘Y’ having scored three wins in five outings.

Mahanama lived up to their reputation as one of the favourites for the title as they knocked out the team from Kandy. Sampath Nissanka took four wickets to contain St. Anthony’s to 116 runs.

Now Mahanama will meet Royal in the semi-final, while St. Joseph’s take on Trinity.

Meanwhile in a Division II Tier ‘A’ quarter-final match Royal College, Panadura registered a two wickets win over Bandaranaike College, Gampaha.

Results

Division I Tier A

St. Joseph’s beat Richmond at DSS ground

St. Joseph’s

228 for 9 in 50 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 29, Sheran Fonseka 54, Dunith Wellalage 61, Hirun Matheesha 21n.o.; Amshi de Silva 2/46, Kavindu Nirmana 4/39)

Richmond

100 all out in 29.3 overs (Hansamana de Silva 33, Amshi de Silva 25; Deshan Seneviratne 2/22, Shenuka de Silva 3/27, Dunith Wellalage 2/22, Shevon Daniel 2/00)

Mahanama beat St. Anthony’s at Kurunegala

Mahanama

154 all out in 46.4 overs (Savindu Kavinda 22, Sachira Weliwatte 50, Dhanaja Sadalidu 27, Achintha Supun 24; Chamindu Wickramasinghe 2/21, Divyesh Ramaiya 3/19, Tharindu Lamahewage 2/37)

St. Anthony’s

116 all out in 44.4 overs (Anjala Bandara 44; Sampath Nissanka 4/36, Sethum Kenula 2/22, Sadishan Chamodya 2/22)

 

Division II Tier ‘B’

Royal beat Bandaranaike at Asgiriya

Bandaranaike

113 all out in 32.3 overs (S. D. Saranga 21, Rusith Kavishka 27; Himesh Fernando 2/15, Hasantha Warunajith 4/28, Milinda Sanjaya 3/26)

Royal

116 for 8 in 30.3 overs (Jayod Silva 17; Kanishka Malinga 4/29, Kavishka Jayawardena 3/17)

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Green top awaits Cobras  

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Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Head Coach Mickey Arthur take a look at the pitch ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh at Pallekele that gets under way today. Fast bowlers are expected to make merry on a green top never seen before in Sri Lanka.

Rex Clementine at Pallekele

One of the best gifts a dad can give a child is a trip to Leisure World at Avissawella and similarly one of the best things that can happen to a Sri Lankan quick is to get a green top at home. That’s exactly what’s going to happen at Pallekele today.

Not too sure when was the last time on  Sri Lankan soil so much grass had been left on a cricket pitch.  For a few days Pallekele is going to look like Newlands in Cape Town.

The unlucky ones are Dilshan Madusanka and Asitha Fernando who will not get a chance to bowl here.  

The new ball will be shared by Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara with Vishwa Fernando providing variety with his left-arm seam.

A lot will be expected of Suranga Lakmal who was Player of the Series in the West Indies. Kumara will be a handful with his raw pace. But the real deal is Vishwa, whose clever tricks when conditions are helpful are a treat to watch.

Expect Angelo Mathews to do more bowling this series as well. Whether they will have a fifth seamer in Dasun Shanaka or opt for Wanindu Hasaranga at number seven remains to be seen.

With Mathews returning to the side, one of the batters will be left out from the side and whoever who gets the axe must consider himself very unlucky.

There is reason for Sri Lanka to change their strategy to pace based. Bangladesh’s strength is spin and the hosts don’t want to play into their hands. That’s exactly why the series is played in Kandy and not Galle.

Bangladesh will miss Shakib Al Hasan, their main match winner. They are also without their lead pacie – Mustafizur Rahman. Both are in India playing IPL.  

The tourists are under pressure. They lost a home series to West Indies unexpectedly and were whitewashed in New Zealand losing all six white ball games. Their away record also nothing much to boast about having won just one Test match in the last four years – against Sri Lanka in 2017.

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Lisal, Saajida win singles titles

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Clay Courts National Tennis Championship

Number one ranked Lisal Goonetilleke bagged the Under-14 boys’ singles title, Saajida Razick claimed the Under-18 girls’ singles trophy as the Clay Courts National Tennis Championship continued at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.

S. Thomas’ College player Goonetilleke scored a 6-1, 6-4 win against Methvan Wijemanne to win the Under-14 final.

Bishop’s College player Saajida Razick beat Hasali Gajaba 7-5, 6-4 to win the Under-18 girls’ title.

In the Under-14 girls doubles final, Inuki Jayaweera of Musaeus College and Melesha Randini of Ave Maria Convent, Negombo beat Akeesha Silva and Movindi Fernando to win the trophy.

Results:

Under 14 Boys’ Singles Final:

Lisal Goonetilleke beat Methvan Wijemanne 6-1, 6-4.

Under-18 Girls’ Singles Final:

Saajida Razick beat Hasali Gajaba 7-5, 6-4.

Under-14 Girl’s Doubles Final:

Inuki Jayaweera and Melesha Randini beat Akeesha Silva and Movindi Fernando 5-3, 4-2. (RF)

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