Selection Trial solace for competition-starved athletes
by Reemus Fernando
Sri Lanka’s top track and field athletes will find solace in the opportunity to compete at the first Selection Trial starting at the Sugathadasa Stadium today in the absence of international competitions.
The cancelation of the Asian Athletics Championship which was scheduled for May was a severe blow to local athletes striving to achieve entry standards for the postponed Tokyo Olympics. Going abroad for other available regional international competitions has also become difficult due to Covid 19 health restrictions.
The Sri Lanka Athletics has also decided not to send a team for the World Athletics Relays, one of the major international competitions, despite interest shown by the organisers. On this backdrop local athletes will take the opportunity to measure their progress at the first competition of the year.
The Selection Trial will be a launching pad for athletes targeting peak performances at the National Championship which will be held ahead of Olympics.
It will also be an opportunity to earn ranking points and get closer to qualifying standards for Olympics.
Sri Lanka Athletics is also conducting trials for selected number of junior events providing much needed competition exposure for school athletes who have been without national level competitions for more than a year now. Forming a junior pool is also on the cards.
Men’s and women’s 100m metres and 400 metres are the top track attractions on the first day of the three-day competition. While men’s javelin throw and men’s and women’s long jump are the top field events scheduled for the opening day.
The 400 metres sprinters Kalinga Kumarage and Aruna Dharshana, 100 metres specialists Himasha Eshan, Chanuka Sandeepa and Vinoj Suranjaya are all listed to take starters orders.
In the women’s category Nadeesha Ramanayake and Dilshi Kumarasinghe are expected to blaze the track in the 400 metres. Amasha de Silva who produced an outstanding performance at the last National Championship is expected to meet stiff competition from Shelinda Jansen and former champion Rumeshika Ratnayake in the women’s 100 metres.
In field events, men’s javelin throw is set to witness a close competition with Olympian Sumeda Ranasinghe competing against former national record holder Waruna Dayaratne. Both will be eager to improve on their rankings.
An interesting battle looms between Sarangi Silva and Anjani Pulwansa in the women’s long jump. Both cleared the six metres barrier few months ago.
Shreshan Dananjaya was the winner of the men’s long jump at the last Nationals. He will be up against a host of others including former national champion Janaka Prasad Wimalasiri who is making a return.
Athletics enthusiasts will also be eager to witness the performances of steeplechase athlete Nilani Ratnayake, who has almost secured her ticket to Tokyo. She is expected compete in both the steeplechase and the 1,500 metres.
Second ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka abandoned
The second ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka has been called off due to rain in Christchurch.
Lahiru takes five wickets as Joes take lead
Under 19 Cricket
Off-spinner Lahiru Amarasekara produced a five-wicket haul as St. Joseph’s restricted Mahinda to 127 runs on day one of the Under 19 traditional cricket encounter at Galle on Monday.
Amarasekara was ably supported by spinner Yenula Dewthusa and Muditha Dissanayake who shared the other five wickets.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, batting opener Ranmina Hettiarachchi anchored the top order with a knock of 33 runs. Chandupa de Silva with 29 runs, Tharusha Dilshan (15) and Hiruna Gallalge (17) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
In their essay St. Joseph’s were comfortably placed at 132 for two wickets but back-to-back wickets in the last two overs placed them at 132 for four wickets at stumps.
At Welisara, Dinuka Tennakoon took five wickets but Maris Stella managed to post 268 runs as Shean Adithya top-scored with 83 runs. In reply Trinity were nine without loss.
Vihanga Nimsara and Rasindu Ilukshana were the heroes for Moratu Vidyalaya as their half-centuries helped them score 249 runs against St. Sylvester’s at Boyagane.
At Galle: Mahinda 127, St. Joseph’s 132/4
127 all out in 57 overs (Ranmina Hettiarachchi 33, Chandupa de Silva 29; Lahiru Amarasekara 5/34, Muditha Dissanayaka 2/23, Yenula Dewtusa 3/32)
132 for 4 in 42.1 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 53, Naren Muralidaran 41; Shehan Hasaranga 2/39)
At Welisara: Maris Stella 268, Trinity 9/0
268 all out in 93.5 overs (Kaveen Fernando 26, Shean Adithya 83, Anshen de Silva 28, Ramith Bandara 33, Nethum Basnayake 26, Levin Fernando 22; Jayavi Liyanagama 2/40, Dinuka Tennakoon 5/74)
Trinity 9 for no loss in 4 overs
At Boyagane: Moratu Vidyalaya 249, St. Sylvester’s 5/1
249 all out in 93.1 overs (Vihanga Nimsara 82, Rasindu Ilukshana 54; Isuru Gunasekara 2/28, Pansilu Bandara 2/50, Akila Wickramasinghe 3/48, Khanka Wickramasinghe 2/31)
5 for 1 in 4 overs.
Sowmiya clinches a triple crown, Silvijan bags a double
Northern Badminton Championship 2023
T. Silvijan Dalima was crowned men’s singles champion while S. Sowmiya clinched a triple crown at the Northern Badminton Championship 2023 in Kilinochchi during the weekend.
At the Provincial Indoor Stadium in Kilinochchi, Silvijan met K Thusan in the final clash in which the latter retired in the second set with scores reading 21-14, 16-11 in favour of the champion. L Hentry and K Kajan were the losing semi-finalists.
Meanwhile, S. Sowmiya won all three of her open events, the women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles with respective partners.
Sowmiya clinched the women’s singles crown with a 21-15, 21-13 win over R. Ragavi in the final following her doubles title win with B. Oliviya. Sowmiya and Oliviya overcame Athmika and M. Kavinaya 21-9, 21-15 to seal the women’s doubles crown.
Earlier, Sowmiya and Silvijan, the best singles duo in the tournament, also won the mixed doubles title by defeating R. Sulacsan and S . Thanojana 21-12, 21-16 in the final.
The men’s doubles final was won by L. R. Reminsan and T. Thusyanthan who beat G. Thanukanth and R. Yuthakaran with a 21-13, 21-9 score line.
The tournament, organised by the Northern Province Badminton Association, was conducted under the guidance of Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB). SLB President Rohan de Silva and a host of top officials were among the special guests at the presentation ceremony.
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