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Sri Lanka Rugby Players prop MEPA’s ‘Sayura Rakina Rella’ beach cleanup



Harsha Samaranayake, SGM, Brand and Media, Group Marketing, Dialog Axiata PLC and Rizly Illiyas, President, SLR leading the way at the beach cleanup. 

On a balmy Thursday afternoon, Dialog Axiata PLC (Dialog), Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, together with Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) inaugurated the first phase of the ‘Sayura Rakina Rella’ sustainable beach clean-up programme by the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) deployed to protect and preserve our oceans. The initiative kickstarted with the collection of over 770 kilograms (KG) of waste material from the Sarakkuwa beach (Negombo) which was handed over to the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha for its safe and sustainable disposal.

Players from the present Sri Lanka men’s and women’s Rugby teams as well as former Tuskers such as Asoka Jayasena, Hisham Abdeen, Dilroy Perera, Ajith Upawansa, RMS Rathnayake and Jude Pillai, MEPA goodwill ambassadors, musical artists Bathiya & Santhush, young rugby players from the Western Lions Academy, officials from SLR together with the Dialog team volunteered for two-hour to restore the beach to a pristine condition.

According to a pollution index transcribed by the World Bank in 2015, Sri Lanka ranked as the 5th worst beach polluter of the world, mainly due to poor disposal of plastic waste. On average, a Sri Lankan produces 500g of non-degradable waste per day resulting in a mammoth amount of 100 million KGs of solid waste added into Sri Lanka’s coastal waters, according to 2017 records. During the total two-hour collection process at ‘Sayura Rakina Rella’, 275.89 KG of plastic, 102.6 KG of metal, 83 KG of glass, 250 KG of organic and 63 KG of paper waste was collected.

“We are thankful for Dialog and SLR for coming forward for this important initiative to safeguard Sri Lanka’s natural assets. We at MEPA sincerely hope that these initiatives, in the long run, inspire other sporting bodies, corporates and civil society to come forth and do their civic duty and we believe that initiatives of this nature enable corporates to be an agent of change in building a better tomorrow. We hope that by paving the way for initiatives of this nature, we can turnaround the present status quo especially as the country is on the cusp of opening its borders for tourism,” Dharshani Lahandapura, Chairperson of MEPA said.

“Rugby 7s giants in the Pacific Ocean like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga play most of their rugby on the beaches. They play touch rugby especially on the beach to develop their mind-blowing ball handling skills, which is something that I don’t see much today in Sri Lanka,” Rizly Iliyas, President of SLR said. He further elaborated, “When we were school children, we used to come to the beach often to play touch rugby. However, due to increased pollution, the beaches are not safe to come to as one can easily hurt themselves from household waste that is buried in the sand. Under this sustainability initiative, we would like to discourage the public from polluting and to take on their roles as responsible citizens by following proper garbage disposal methods”.

“As the proud sponsor of Sri Lanka Rugby, Dialog Axiata is pleased to join hands with SLR and MEPA to conserve our marine resources which have been under threat as a result of careless waste disposal,” Harsha Samaranayake, Senior General Manager, Brand and Media, Group Marketing at Dialog Axiata PLC said. “It is our belief that sports, like Rugby with a large following, will be a game changer in influencing its followers and the public on the necessity of preserving one of our country’s greatest natural assets” he added.

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Thewin, Pawan help Trinity as Gishan bags eight wickets  



Under-19 cricket

by Reemus Fernando

 A laboured 44 runs by Thewin Amarasinghe in the first innings and an unbeaten 76 by Pawan Pathiraja helped Trinity avert defeat in the traditional Under-19 cricket encounter dominated by Royal at Reid Avenue on Friday. 

Royal declared their innings on the overnight score of 403 for two and spinner Gishan Balasooriya picked up five wickets to rattle the Trinity batting line up.  A painstaking 44 runs by Thewin Amarasinghe (in 155 balls) was the only highlight in Trinity’s first innings. 

Following on Pawan Pathiraja scored an unbeaten 76 (in 105 balls, 11x4s) as they reached 115 for six wickets when bad light forced an early end.  

Balasooriya was the pick of the bowlers as he collected a match bag of eight wickets. 

The match will be remebered for the record breaking partnership between Royal captain Ahan Wickramasinghe (210n.o.) and Sadeesha Rajapaksha (152n.o.). They broke the Royal record for the highest partnership held by Sumithra Waranakulasuriya and Ajith Dewasurendra when they put on an unbroken 362 runs stand for the third wicket against Trinity in 1981 which was won by Royal by an innings and 62 runs.   


Royal 403 for 2 in 98 overs

(Ahan Wickramasinghe 210n.o.,  Ashen Gamage 22, Sadeesha Rajapaksha 152n.o.)  

Trinity 133 all out in 62.3 overs

(Thewin Amarasinghe 44, Matheesha Pathirana 16, Ranuda Somaratne 16; Gishan Balasooriya 5/41, Kavindu Pathirathna 2/18) and 115 for 6 in 32 overs (Pawan Pathiraja 76n.o.; Prashan Kalhara 2/29, Gishan Balasooriya 3/44) 

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Dhananjaya returns for West Indies Tests  



By Rex Clementine

Stylish Dhananjaya de Silva’s calm presence in the middle order had brought so much assurance to the Sri Lankan batting in recent times but he has been out of cricket for almost three months now after pulling a thigh muscle during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa at Centurion. De Silva was cruising on 79 when he attempted a run and pulled the muscle ruling him out of the series and the subsequent home Tests against England. His absence resulted in Sri Lanka struggling to balance the side.

The 29-year-old has been named in the 17 member squad that also includes Lahiru Thirimanne, who tested positive for COVID-19. Roshen Silva, Vishwa Fernando and Lasith Embuldeniya also have been named in the Test squad. All five players will fly to Antigua on Sunday via Doha and New York.

The selectors were contemplating of retaining an 18th player for the two match series. Lahiru Kumara had been named in the squad but he had to be withdrawn after testing positive for COVID. Sources said that either Nuwan Pradeep or Dilshan Maudhsanka could be retained as the additional player. However, no final decision had been made yet.

The players will have to go through 72 hours of quarantine in Antigua before being allowed to resume training.

All-rounder Dasun Shanaka will also travel to the Caribbean on Sunday but he will be taking an entirely different route – literally four flights. He will travel to Dubai from Colombo and will get connecting flights to Paris and St. Martin before reaching Antigua.

Shanaka was unable to get a US visa in time and was not able to be present in Antigua to lead the side. The all-rounder had lost his passport containing a valid US visa and the US High Commission in Colombo was investigating whether his previous visa had been used by someone else.

Sri Lanka will play three ODIs in Antigua prior to the two match Test series. All five games will be played at Sir Viv Richards Stadium. The T-20 series is being played at Alan Stanford Stadium, named after the Antiguan businessman who is currently serving a 110 year jail term in the United States for financial fraud.

Sri Lanka squad for West Indies Tests:

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Niroshan Dickwella,  Angelo Mathews, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Chandimal, Dasun Shanaka, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando, Ramesh Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Lasith Embuldeniya, Vishwa Fernando, Roshen Silva and Suranga Lakmal.



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Arushi going from strength to strength to clinch U14 title



Arushi Thomas receives her trophy from Nishan Gunasekara, Honorary Chairman SSC Tennis House Committee while runner up Dulkini Ranasinghe and Manoj Lakmal, Assistant Referee look on. (Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)


SSC Open Ranking Tennis

by Reemus Fernando

Newstead Girls School, Negombo player Arushi Thomas toppled top seeds and top ranked players on her way to clinch the Under-14 girls’ singles title at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Friday.

Thomas beat Dulkini Ranasinghe 6-2, 6-2 to win the title after ousting top seeds in the last two stages.

In the quarter-finals, Thomas beat top seed and number two ranked Under 14 player Melasha Randini 7-5, 6-4 before scoring a hard fought 6-7, 7-5, 10-6 to edge out Onali de Silva in the semis.

Thomas commenced the year reaching the last 16 at the Tennis Nationals (Under-14 tournament) in January and improved to reach the semi-finals at last month’s Colombo Championships where she was eliminated by Dinara de Silva.

Meanwhile, top ranked Under-14 player Lisal Goonethlleke ensured a Royal-Thomian clash in the semi-finals when he beat Aweesh Ganegoda 6-3, 6-3 in the quarter-final. The S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia player is set to meet Tharuk Marasinghe of Royal College. The third seed Marasinghe beat Senuk Herat 6-3, 2-6, 10-6 for his semi final place.

Sandas Usgodaarachchi beat fourth seed Dhanushka Dias in his match to meet number two ranked Methwan Wijemanne in the semi-final. Wijemanne advanced to the semi finals on Thursday when he beat Janava de Saram.



Under-14 girls singles final

Arushi Thomas beat Dulkini Ranasinghe 6-2, 6-2

Under-14 boys singles quarter-finals

Methvan Wijemanne beat Janava de Saram 6-3, 6-4,

Tharuk Marasinghe beat Senuk Herat 6-3, 2-6, 10-6

Lisal Goonetilleke beat Aweesh Ganegoda 6-3, 6-3

Sandas Usgodaarachchi beat Dhanushka Dias 6-2, 6-3

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