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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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Silverwood applauds problem solver Asalanka



His ability to debate makes him a cut above the rest – Arthur

By Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood and his predecessor Mickey Arthur heaped high praise on middle order batsman Charith Asalanka, whose stunning 83 not out helped Sri Lanka to complete the highest successful run chase ever at home on Wednesday.Set an improbable target of 314, Asalanka played a blinder smashing five fours and four sixes during his 72-ball knock with the last six sealing Sri Lanka’s victory with two balls to spare.

Asalanka made his Sri Lanka debut in England during Arthur’s time as Head Coach last year. Although a top order batsman, Arthur made him to bat at number five, a position where you have to absorb pressure, especially during run chases. What factors in Asalanka impressed Arthur?

“Charith worked so hard when he came into the team. He is always willing to take on information, listen and ready to debate if he wasn’t convinced on something. That’s a very good feature in a young player. I like that kind of attitude. He has this aura about him. Dasun Shanaka is doing a fine job right now but one day when he is finished Charith is the guy who is going to take on the reins of leadership,” Arthur told Sunday Island.

The former Head Coach currently lives in UK where he coaches English county Derbyshire. He is in Colombo for the Lanka Premier League that gets underway next week.

“What prompted us to fit him in the middle order is that a left-hander gives you so many positives. Charith has this ability to switch gears. Increase and decrease the tempo. He is a wristy player and can manipulate things when he is out in the middle. He can hit boundaries at any given time with his ability to find gaps and he is good at rotating the strike. He has worked very hard on sweeping and he is now able to score all-around the wicket.”

While Arthur is in Colombo, Silverwood is back in the UK spending time with family for Christmas. Although he is from Yorkshire, he lives now in Essex, half hour drive from London. Silverwood won the County Championship with Essex, a title that they won after 25 years.

“I am looking for people who want to put their hands up and get the team over the line. The way Charith went about his business was superb. The influence he had on Dunith was a strong one as well during the run chase. He took calculated risks and showed what a fine player he is,” Silverwood added.

“Charith is a problem solver. He can find answers for any tough situation. He is a strong character and a good thinker.”

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World Cup 2022: Did it cross the line? Germany out as Japan and Spain progress



Did the ball cross the line?

That is the age-old World Cup question for Germany, who crashed out as Japan beat Spain thanks to an opinion-dividing winner that left many scratching their heads.Kaoru Mitoma’s cutback for Ao Tanaka’s tap-in happened just after the ball looked to have crossed the byeline.

Even after cropping and zooming it looked incredibly close. Eventually it was ruled that the ball had not fully crossed the line.

In other words, if you drew an imaginary line upwards at 90 degrees from the far edge of the whitewash, it would have still passed through the curve of the ball – albeit only just – even though the part of the ball that touched the ground had fully crossed the line.The goal was initially ruled out by the assistant referee after a long pause, then the video assistant referee (VAR) intervened and ultimately Japan’s lead would stand – and they would go on to win.

“I have seen a photo that must have been tampered with, it cannot be that this photo is real. It has to be manipulated,” said Spain boss Luis Enrique.

“I felt that something fishy was going on when the VAR took as much time as it did to decide… I have nothing to say.

“Luckily, the team only goes into collapse mode once every four years, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to cope.”

The controversy evoked memories of Frank Lampard’s “ghost goal” against Germany in 2010, when England went out in the last 16, and – no doubt for German fans of a certain vintage – of 1966 and Geoff Hurst’s extra-time effort when England won the World Cup.

In Qatar, those three points for Japan meant Germany were out, the four-time winners falling at the group stage for a second consecutive tournament.It was just one moment on a World Cup night full of spine tingling drama.


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Vishen Halambage could be next big thing in cricket



St. Peter’s take on Thurstan College in the under-19 finals today at Colts Cricket Ground and all eyes will be on young Vishen Halambage, who has been making headlines as a prolific run scorer in schools’ cricket.
The right-handed opening batsman is the leading run scorer in the competition having scored 456 runs with two hundreds and one fifty. He is also a handy leg-spinner and has taken 18 wickets in the tournament.
Vishen hails from Ambalangoda, a town that has produced many fine cricketers. He had his initial education at Stafford International before shifting to St. Peter’s to pursue his cricketing ambitions. He has done well in all age groups at St. Peter’s and has got one more year in the under-19 set up.
Vishen is in the national selection panel’s radar and has been shortlisted in the initial pool of 30 to take on West Indies in the bilateral series. He is also expected to feature in the next ICC Under-19 World Cup and could go onto skipper the Sri Lankan team having already captained the national under-15 side.
Cricket is in Vishen’s blood. His father Kumara Halambage played cricket for Dharmashoka, Ambalangoda and First-Class cricket for Singha SC. His uncle, Premasiri Halambage, was the President of Galle District Cricket Association.

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