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Sri Lanka Badminton brings on Li Ning – Lanka Shuttle Challenge 2020



Niluka Karunaratne raises his hands in jubilation after defeating world number eight Kenichi Tago of Japan at the 2012 London Olympics. Sri Lanka Badminton says that Niluka Karunaratne is in contention to qualify and represent the country at the Tokyo Olympics. (File Pic RF)

All year long, most of the national athletes have been training without a goal in sight. As in most sports, Badminton too had its fair share of missed competitions, both local and international. A frustrating sojourn in fact for many players who remain frustrated with a cascade of cancelled tournaments all over the world. The Olympics now saved for August 2021 would rekindle some hope and for Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB), Niluka Karunaratne remains in contention to qualify and represent the country in Tokyo.

SLB has therefore taken the plunge and mooted the Lanka Shuttle Challenge 2020 (LSC 2020) for its National Pool, which will give it the opportunity to assess its key players. Fortunately, the Ministry of Sports & Ministry of Health has been most supportive, permitting SLB to conduct this tournament, though under strict health conditions. SLB has accordingly put together a robust protocol that will conform to MOH guidelines working closely with PHI’s in charge of the venues selected.

Thus, the LSC 2020 will serve-off from the 16 – 20 December at the SLB & MBA stadium courts with 06 Teams of 12 players each vying for recognition and handsome prizes. SLB has adopted a franchise model to add glamour and set the precedents for an annual event each year that will complement the Senior and Junior Nationals, which has also been postponed to early 2021; target February.

The 06 Teams listed above are led by senior champion players with the national pool players evenly distributed to create a fine balance of talent. Managers consisting of SLB VP’s are heading the teams with assigned coaches and chosen captains, all gearing for a high-powered competition over the week. The Karunaratne brothers, Niluka & Dinuka, along with Sachin Dias, Buwaneka Gunetileke, Thilini Hendehewa, Kavidi Sirimanage & Dilmi Dias are all in the fray!

Namal Rajapaksa, the Minister of Sports will be the Chief Guest at the Opening and Closing ceremonies including the Prize Distribution.

Rohan De Silva, the SLB President and Chairman of the McLarens Group in his inimitable way, has offered the funds to run the event with the Prize Money alone more than Rs.600, 000. All teams will receive an appearance fee while the winners start from Rs. 250,000 for the Champions.

Li Ning is the SLB Corporate as well as Title Sponsor of the LSC 2020 and will bring a largesse of prizes for outstanding performances. SLB NPTC Chairman Palitha Hettiarachchi heads the organizing committee while Ajith Wijayasinghe as Event Director and Sanjeewa Wijesekera as Tournament Referee supported by a host of SLB Ex Co veterans.

SLB believes in the adage, Serving for Success and this introductory League tournament will no doubt set the trend for heightened competition in the years to come!


Joes stun Richmond, Mahanama sail through



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.


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)


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


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


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)


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  



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



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.


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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