The team trained by Madura Perera. Back row from left: Piyumika Weerathisun, Ayan Thushara, Lahiru Sampath, Madura Perera (Coach), Chandima Sadaruwan, Himantha Kavidu, Sadun Krishantha. Front row from left: Charuni Pramudika, Samanthika Liyanage, Shanika Lakshani, Sureka Sewwandhi, Nawodhaya Madushani, Shiwanthi Jayathilaka And Saumaya Dilrukshi.
by Reemus Fernando
Hailing from a not so well to do family from Gampaha, Shanika Lakshani had many an obstacle to overcome before she shattered the 35 year old Junior National record held by Dammika Menike at the last month’s National Athletics Championships. Probably the most challenging one was the Covid 19 forced lockdown strictly enforced in the Gampaha District following the outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic. According to her coach Madura Perera who has been training a team of nearly 30 athletes, months of hard work behind preparing athletes for the National Championship, would have gone wasted if not for the extra effort taken to continue training amidst the pandemic.
“Unavailability of training facilities was the biggest obstacle during the pandemic. With grounds and training facilities shutdown it was difficult to continue training. I and Chandana Amarasinghe requested support to conduct residential training at the Subodhi Ground, Gampaha so that training could continue without interruption. Our request was given special attention to by the Additional District Secretary Sugath Kithsiri, who got the approval from health authorities to conduct training,” said Perera who considers it as one of the cornerstones of the success of his team.
Shanika Lakshani who broke the 35 year old Junior National record of Dammika Menike poses with her coach Madura Perera. (Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
At a time when sport is not high in the agenda of many government officials, the support given by the Additional District Secretary of Gampaha is highly commendable.
“He not only gave us permission but also found couple of sponsors to look after the extra nutritional needs of athletes. It was athletes who bore the costs of food but Mr. Sugath Kithsiri went out of his way to help us reduce costs,” said Perera.
Perera said that the residential camp has also helped him address nutritional issues of some athletes. He said it wouldn’t have been possible had they been taken care of by their parents.
Many athletes give up sports due to the negligence of authorities. Support does not only mean big time sponsorships as it is proven in the case of Perera’s team. The support given by the government official was crucial in Shanika reaching the standard to break the more than three decades old junior national record. She not only broke the record but also came almost close to achieving entry standards for the World Under-20 Championships in two disciplines. It was a huge confidence boost for junior athletes who not only missed competitions but also training opportunities during the pandemic.
When Shanika broke Dammika Menike’s record she was just five seconds behind the entry standard for 1500 metres. In the 800 metres she missed the entry standard by just milliseconds.
Madura Perera is confident that Shanika Lakshani would reach entry standards for the World Junior Championships during the next few months.
Perera is confident that his charge would achieve the entry standard during the next National Championships in April or the Junior National Championships both of which are scheduled within the qualifying period.
While Shanika Lakshani hogged limelight breaking a junior record, there were few other athletes trained by Perera who had their own success.
Though a number of them missed medals they had been able to finish among the top athletes. A fresher Gayan Thushara who was placed fifth in the 400 metres hurdles and Shivanthi Jayathilaka who was placed fifth in the women’s 200 metres have shown lot of promise.
Triple jumper Sandun Krishantha, steeplechase athlete M.S. Sewwandi, long distance runner Dilhani Liyanage and hurdler Lahiru Sampath are among the other athletes who have impressed in their pet events at other national level competitions.
At a time when the contribution of sports officers for the development of sports is questioned, the way this team has overcome barriers is exemplary.
Murali hospitalised for cardiac treatment
Muralitharan was at the Chepauk when Sunrisers played Mumbai Indians on Saturday, incidentally his 49 birthday. © BCCI/IPL
Sri Lankan cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan, who is part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad support staff in the ongoing IPL, has undergone an angioplasty in Madras.
It was reported that the champion off-spinner “had a stent fitted to unblock an artery, and will rejoin Sunrisers Hyderabad when discharged.
He has been the bowling coach and mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad since 2015. His team has suffered three losses in a row this season.
Dilhara Lokuhettige gets eight-year ban for corruption
Dilhara Lokuhettige had been slapped with corruption charges in April 2019
“The severity of the sanction reflects the seriousness of his offences and his continued refusal to cooperate”
Dilhara Lokuhettige, the former Sri Lanka allrounder, has been banned from all cricket for eight years by the ICC anti-corruption tribunal after being found guilty of breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code on three counts.
Lokuhettige had been slapped with corruption charges in April 2019, five months after the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) had also charged him. The charges relate to the 2017 T10 tournament played in the UAE, which is why the ECB had been first to lay charges.
In January this year, the tribunal found Lokuhettige guilty of:
Article 2.1.1 – for being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of a match.
Article 2.1.4 – directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach code article 2.1.
Article 2.4.4 – failing to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the code.
“Having represented Sri Lanka in international cricket, Dilhara had attended a number of anti-corruption education sessions and would have known his actions were a breach of the Code,” Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager – anti corruption, said. “The severity of the sanction reflects the seriousness of his offences and his continued refusal to cooperate and should serve as a deterrent for anyone considering getting involved in corruption of any kind.”
An Al Jazeera documentary on cricket corruption in Sri Lanka had initially raised concerns about Lokuhettige. In that, Lokuhettige was seen to be in the room when another former Sri Lanka cricketer was talking to an alleged corruptor, as well as an Al Jazeera journalist posing as a prospective bettor.
Former Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Zoysa was also found guilty of three corruption-related offences to do with that T10 tournament in November last year. Zoysa has since denied any wrongdoing.
Zoysa and Lokuhettige are the third and fourth former Sri Lanka players to be charged with corruption. Sanath Jayasuriya was the most high-profile cricketer to cop charges, and has served out a two-year suspension from the game, while former offspinner and sometime Galle curator Jayananda Warnaweera was the first to be charged with corruption by the ICC.
As Lokuhettige has been living in Australia and held no positions with Sri Lankan cricket, he has not faced a sanctions from the SLC so far.
He played 11 white-ball internationals for Sri Lanka, picking up eight wickets to go with 101 runs with the bat. His last competitive game was a first-class fixture for Moors Sports Club in February 2016.
Royal, Trinity march into semis as Ahan continues top form
Royal College marched into the semi-finals of the Under-19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament with a convincing six wickets victory over Nalanda as they stopped the team inclusive of at least two leading players of the tournament at the quarter-final hurdle on Monday.
Chasing 190 runs to win, the tournament’s leading batsman Ahan Wickramasinghe scored an unbeaten 71 runs for Royal to seal the semi-final place with 11 overs to spare. Dasis Manchanayake who took three Nalanda wickets also chipped in with 22 runs.
Wickramasinghe has scored over 400 runs now in six matches. Raveen de Silva who scored an unbeaten half century and Vinuja Ranpul who chipped in with 22 runs for Nalanda are the tournament’s second and third highest run scorers. .
In the other Tier ‘A’ quarter-final played on Monday, Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa by seven wickets to book their semi-final place.
While Royal meet the winners of the match between St. Anthony’s, Katugastota and Mahanama, Colombo in the semi-final, Trinity will encounter the winners of the quarter-final between Richmond and St. Joseph’s.
In the Division II Tier ‘A’ tournament, Lyceum International School, Wattala continued their impressive run as they edged out Rahula College, Matara in the quarter-final.
Division I Tier A
Royal beat Nalanda at Mount Lavinia
189 for 7 in 50 overs (Rashan Dissanayake 30, Nadil Jayakody 32, Vinuja Ranpul 22, Raveen de Silva 59n.o.; Dasis Manchanayake 3/17)
191 for 4 in 39 overs (Sineh Jayawardena 60, Isiwara Dissanayake 21, Ahan Wickramasinghe 71n.o., Dasis Manchanayake 22; Dineth Samaraweera 2/32)
Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s at Reid Avenue
131 all out in 43.2 overs (Yashan Avishka 51, Savindu Rodrigo 30; Dinuka Thennakoon 4/23, Abishek Anandakumar 3/37)
133 for 3 in 30.1 overs (Thevin Amarasinghe 39, Umair Raizan 60, Pawan Pathiraja 21n.o.; Sadeesh Fernando 3/39)
Division II Tier ‘A’
Lyceum beat Rahula at Darley Road
148 all out in 42.1 overs (Gamitha Pawan 61, Jaron Fernando 20, Theekshana Shehan 26; Binura Sanketh 2/17, Sandew Rithmaka 3/27)
117 all out in 42.2 overs (Tharindu Rajapaksha 52, Binura Sanketh 24; Mohammed Rifnaz 2/23, Mithush Lakshman 3/14)
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