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Stanley Jayasinghe the nonagenarian: going strong

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The nonagenarian cutting the birthday cake to the strains of ‘happy birthday’.

by Harischandra Gunaratna

The oldest living All Ceylon cricketer Stanley Jayasinghe recently celebrated his 90th birthday at his Thalapathpitiya residence at a lavish birthday party attended by friends and fans.

Despite his age, his memory is razor-sharp and he shared some of the unforgettable incidents of his life with those present at the gathering with great humour and banter.

The grand old man of Sri Lanka’s cricket was hale and hearty and enjoyed the evening very much, entertaining his guests.

He was fit as a fiddle and still drives his vehicle maneuvering Colombo’s busy streets with tremendous ease, though some of those who are much younger to him would find it a nightmare.

The nonagenarian is a wildlife enthusiast and being an outdoor man, spent most of his time farming at Tanamalwila where he has a bungalow on a two acre land.

“Unfortunately due to the spread of Covid-19, I am unable to visit the place now and am confined to the apartment at Thalapathpitiya,” he said.

Jayasinghe is one of the best batsmen and a prolific run getter produced by Sri Lanka, representing the country from 1949 to 1967.

The batting machine made his debut for Ceylon while still being a schoolboy at Nalanda College, in 1951 playing against Pakistan in Pakistan under the captaincy of Sargo Jayawickrama.

The schoolboy hero captained Nalanda College, Colombo in both 1950 and 1951.

Jayasinghe scored  four centuries in his illustrious school cricket career in addition to many half centuries. His 170 against Prince of Wales at Moratuwa was the best, in a game where Nalanda went on to win the match by an innings. The all-rounder later played for the Sinhalese SC, Nomads and NCC.

He also played county cricket with distinction for Leicestershire for five years and prior to that league cricket in Lancashire. He was adjudged the Times of Ceylon Sportsman of the Year in 1951.

Jayasinghe is known as a stickler for discipline and punctuality.

He said, that he disapproved the unkempt appearance of some of our cricketers today and added “if you can’t be a cricketer, at least look like one.”

The cricketing great of yesteryear regretted the manner in which some of country’s cricketers play the gentleman’s game.

“Playing with a straight bat was the norm then, but today our batsmen have a tendency to play across the line and get out,” he said.

However, Jayasinghe praised about the standard of fielding in today’s cricket which has improved by leaps and bounds and said, it is 300 times better now than my time.

“I wish all cricketers of all nations uphold the noble traditions of the hallowed game,” Jayasinghe said.

Jayasinghe considers Mahadevan Sathasivam as one of the greatest cricketers produced by Sri Lanka in the pre-Test era for his brilliant stroke play and finesse, and admired Douglas Jayasinha, the former All Ceylon cricketer as a man who brooked no nonsense, acted with impartiality and a person who didn’t bow down to political pressure or dictates from any other during his tenure as Chairman of the selectors panel.

Asked about cricket becoming highly commercial, Jayasinghe was of the opinion that the players were entitled to benefits of the gentleman’s game.

He said the most cherished amongst the birthday presents he received was the book authored by Sri Lankan cricket writer Alston Mahadevan domiciled in Australia titled “History of Sri Lanka-International cricket 1882-1982” presented to Stanley by the author himself.

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SLT-MOBITEL Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021 Concludes Successfully

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SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021’ Motorbike and Car racing championship powered by the ultra-high speed fibre broadband and fastest mobile internet services provider in Sri Lanka SLT-MOBITEL concluded successfully amid much fanfare, on the 27th and 28th February, 2021 at the Eliyakanda racing circuit in Browns Hill Matara.

SLT-MOBITEL joined hands with the Southern Motor Sports Club (SMSC) for the 25th edition of the ‘SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb’.

The exciting racing spectacle comprised of 16 motor cycle events and 17 motor car events, on an uphill course covering a distance of 540 metres, The Bike races were conducted on 27th February and the Car races took place the next day, on 28th February, 2021.

Jaden Gunawardena took pole as the faster rider among 103 racers, marking a new race record of 33.63 seconds. Moreover, Ashan Silva made history at the car race as the first person in the event’s 25 year history to complete the race in 31.26 seconds. The race was made extra special as Ashan had in his first run beat Dilan Seneviratna’s record of 31.783 seconds.

The SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb is a national championship event which functions under the purview of the Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS), the governing body for motor sports in Sri Lanka.

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Wenuka wins all Thomian final to clinch U16 boys’ singles title

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SSC Open Ranking Tennis

by Reemus Fernando

Wenuka Kithnula clinched the Under-16 boys’ singles title with a win over top seed Zaidh Zihar at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Wednesday.

In an all Thomian final Kithnula scored 7-5, 6-4 against Zihar, who had to be content with the runner up title for the second consecutive time within weeks.

For Kithnula, it was the first title in this age category after being eliminated in the quarter-finals of two consecutive tournaments this year. He has however tasted title victory in lower age category events at the SSC Open Raking Tournaments before.

Both Zaidh Zihar and Wenuka Kithnula have been performing consistently since tennis resumed following a long hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The S. Thomas’ College players were also among the top contenders when they were competing in the Under-14 age category often sharing the champion and runner up titles between them.

At the Tennis Nationals 2020 which was played in January this year, Kithnula was eliminated by eventual champion Kiran Viravanathan in the quarter-finals of the Under-16 tournament. Zihar reached the semi-finals in that tournament.

At the last month’s Colombo Championships, Kithnula was knocked out in the quarter-finals, while Zihar reached the final where he was beaten by Viravanathan.

Meanwhile, in the Under-16 girls’ singles, Dinara de Silva and Saajida Razick from Dineshkanthan Tennis School are set to meet in the final as they won their semi finals.

In the Under-14 girls’ singles Arushi Thomas, Onali de Silva, Jayami Thambugalage and Dulkini Ranasinghe advanced to the semi finals.

Results

Under-16 boys’ singles final

Wenuka Kithnula beat Zaidh Zihar 7-5, 6-4

Under-16 girls’ singles semi-finals

Dinara de Silva beat Anithra Dharmaratne 6-2, 6-4

Saajida Razick beat Dinethya Dharmaratne 6-2, 6-3

Under-14 girls’ singles quarter-final

Arushi Thomas beat Melasha Randini 7-5, 6-4,

Onali de Silva beat Inuki Jayaweera 1-6, 6-2, 13-11

Jayami Thambugalage beat Brinda Fernando 6-3, 6-1,

Dulkini Ranasinghe beat Akeesha Silva 3-6, 6-4, 10-8

 

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Top seeds Zihar, Wenuka book final berths

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SSC Open Ranking Tennis

Top seeds Zaidh Zihar and Wenuka Kithnula advanced to the final of the Under-16 boys’ singles as they won their respective semi-final matches at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Tuesday.

Zihar, the top seed, beat Hasal Ahangama 6-4, 6-5 to book his second consecutive Under-16 boys’ singles final berth. Zihar was the runner up to Kiran Viravanathan at the last month’s Colombo Championships.

The second seed Kithnula ousted Ransath Peiris 6-2, 6-2 to advance to his first final after being eliminated in the quarter-finals at both the Colombo Championships and the Nationals (U16) in January.

In the Under-12 boys’ singles Saha Kapilasena edged out his bother Tyee 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 to book a place in the final. Kapilasena will now meet Jayin de Saram who won his semi final against Aahil Kaleel (7-6, 2-6, 10-5).

In the Under-16 girls’ singles, third seed Dinethya Dharmaratne secured a semi-final place against number two seed Saajida Razick when she overcame a set defeat to beat Nelini Jayasuriya 3-6, 6-2, 10-8. Razick advanced to the semis with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Nesangi Hemakumara.

In the other semi-final Anitra Dharmaratne is set to meet Dinara de Silva who beat Ruvi Lewkebandara 0-6, 6-1, 10-7. Anitra Dharmaratne secured her spot when she ousted top seed Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-2, 1-6, 12-10.

Results

Under-16 boys’ singles semis

Zaidh Zihar beat Hasal Ahangama 6-4, 6-5

Wenuka Kithnula beat Ransath Peiris 6-2, 6-2

Under-16 girls’ singles quarter-finals

Dinethya Dharmaratne beat Nelini Jayasuriya 3-6, 6-2, 10-8

Saajida Razick beat Nesangi Hemakumara 6-2, 6-2

Dinara de Silva beat Ruvi Lewkebandara 0-6, 6-1, 10-7

Anitra Dharmaratne beat Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-2, 1-6, 12-10

Under-12 boys’ singles semi-finals

Saha Kapilasena beat Tyee Kapilasena 3-6, 6-2, 10-6

Jayin de Saram beat Aahil Kaleel 7-6, 2-6, 10-5

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