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Teenage athletes set to travel without officials for Commonwealth Youth Games



US embassy rejects visas for officials    

By Reemus Fernando  

The last-minute attempts by the Sports Ministry and Sri Lanka Athletics to send the full track and field contingent for the Youth Commonwealth Games were found futile yesterday after the US embassy rejected visas for the three officials including respected athletics coach Anura Bandara who famously guided the likes of Sugath Thilakaratne to stand head to head with world forces in athletics.

The US embassy has granted visas for the five teenage athletes but denied the officials visas to transit in New York en route to Trinidad and Tobago where the international multi-sports event is scheduled to commence on August 4.

Sri Lanka Athletics has now sought to send the track and field team with the beach volleyball officials.

The team were set to leave early morning today but they had to abandon that plan due to the delays in obtaining their visa documents.

Bandara was the official manager cum coach of the track and field team. He was selected after two of his charges including medal prospect Ayomal Akalanka were selected from Ambagamuwa Central.

Ambagamuwa Central athlete Shalani Hansika (long jump and 400m hurdles), Vijitha Central Dickwella high jumper Nilupul Pehesara, Wickramabahu National School, Gampola athlete Nirmali Wickramasinghe and D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo high jumper Lesandu Arthavidu are the other athletes.

It is the first time that a team inclusive of school athletes are leaving for a foreign competition without a lady chaperon or at least one official from the Ministry of Education to look after them.

The athletes’ participation at the Commonwealth Youth Games was in jeopardy after the National Olympic Committee failed to obtain visas for the country’s teenagers to transit in Amsterdam. The sports Ministry and Sri Lanka Athletics intervened at the eleventh hour to obtain US visas for the team to transit in New York.

Last week Maxwell de Silva, the secretary of the National Olympic Committee said that there had been no mistake from the part of the NOC in the process of obtaining visas for the athletes.

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SLC announce Men’s 2024 future tours program




In a media release issued today (29) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has announced its Men’s future tours program for 2024.

Sri Lanka will commence their 2024 international calendar with a white-ball home series against Zimbabwe in January, which will consist of three ODIs and as many T20Is. This will be closely followed by the arrival of Afghanistan for a multi-format tour in the January-February period, comprising a one-off Test, three ODIs and three T20Is.

The first away tour of the season for Sri Lanka will be to Bangladesh, for a two-match Test series and three games in each of the two white-ball formats.

The 2024 T20 World Cup, which will be played in West Indies and USA, in the June-July window will be immediately followed by the high-profile white-ball series against India.

Sri Lanka will travel next to England for three Tests, but return immediately to host New Zealand for two red-ball games. The Kiwis will later return for the white-ball leg in November.

In the meanwhile, Sri Lanka will also host West Indies for three ODIs and three T20Is in October.

The 2024 season will end with the red-ball tour of South Africa, for two matches, and a return white-ball series in New Zealand.

CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket Ashley De Silva said   ”We are heading into a highly exciting year with a lot of international cricket to be played, which augurs well for us, as our team will be engaged in competitive cricket year around, The 2024 calendar is expected to give our players a lot of playing opportunities, fans entertainment, and our sponsors great exposure,”

Sri Lanka Cricket has been suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) but has permitted Sri Lankans to compete internationally in bilateral and  ICC events, despite the suspension.


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Percy: The Unusual Brand



by Kushil Gunasekera

If any student growing up wants to learn how to create a brand of your own, what Percy did can be an example, not necessarily replicating what he did which is his own unique benchmark- a hard act to follow. The point I’m trying to make is that one should not be afraid to establish one’s identity following their passion, but do it the way he did- relentlessly, which eventually became a global one-man-brand that is most extraordinary.

It is time that we recognize such a personality, the one-man Sri Lankan flag bearer who has not only entertained all of us, but that he established long lasting friendships with internationally renowned cricketers whom we saw sending messages of condolence that had touched their heart with his unforgettable, witty, demonstrative art of engaging which others dare not even attempt.

I have known that anyone can copy someone’s work or style, but definitely not the passion to pursue what one enjoys the most. He truly epitomized an unwavering and positive spirit- a remarkable character that lifted up the mood of the spectators- victory or defeat, and his presence on the field lit it up, like giving a heads up even when the odds were against us.

There is no Sri Lankan, as one man, that I know of who has been waving the flag countless times even on a daily basis during a five day Test match, to showcase and highlight the colourful lion symbol of our country with pride which itself could really be a record worthy of the Guinness Book, having done what he did for at least 45 years- a hugely praiseworthy feat that should not go unnoticed, and matchless.

We all know what he did to boost, enhance and motivate not only the fans but the National Team during this long period of association at every given opportunity but standing tall, rain or shine, covering -again hard to count- the many miles, walking at the venues which itself is another record-breaking effort that he did tirelessly.

As someone who was acquainted with Percy for 44 years, since 1979, I have had the unique opportunity to see a different side of his passion for cricket- one that has been closely tied with bringing people and communities together in unity and harmony during the Murali Cup held in the North post-conflict for five consecutive years 2012 – 2016 where he played a pivotal role towards building reconciliation and goodwill through building bridges of friendship. People eagerly awaited his arrival at each venue where he would circle the grounds like no other which is phenomenal, notwithstanding the hot and humid climatic conditions even at his age- a rare gift of the ‘never-give-up’ attitude.

In fact, when I told him in lighter vein that Sir Ian Botham was knighted for walking thousands of miles for charity, Percy responded promptly in his usual inimitable and hilarious manner that he has walked more miles across all of the grounds worldwide, “but not even a good night for me” which is typical of the man- never short of quick witted rhymes, such a statement can only come from him and no other.

We salute and applaud his courageous life, to do what he did and just like any famous cricketer is recognized in this country there was no place that he wasn’t recognized either, even in the North, having had that experience of going along with him which was always an interesting journey, to be accorded a right-royal welcome even at boutiques on the way side with a free cup of ginger tea for his contribution, even by the villagers.

His personality, a lively and vibrant character, cannot be erased from the Sri Lanka cricket arena that will be historically ingrained in the minds of cricket fans who will not see again another stadium ambassador for the spirit of cricket.

May his good deeds benefit
his Sansaric journey!

Sports Editor’s note:Kushil Gunasekara is a former cricketer and a philanthropist. Foundation of Goodness, a charity he initiated, has done much to alleviate poverty in both north and south. Kushil was also a former SLC Secretary and was responsible in successfully conducting the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2000.

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Colombo South favourites against Colombo North



Colombo North Under 15s with their officials

SLC Under 15 Youth League Final

by Reemus Fernando

Colombo South Under 15s are the favourites as they take on Colombo North Under 15 in the final of the Sri Lanka Cricket conducted Under 15 Youth League tournament at the MCA ground today.

Colombo South coached by Omesh Wijesiriwardana are going to the final with four victories and an unbeaten tag against their name.

Colombo South batting is fortified by four Royalists. Royal College, Colombo batsmen Rehan Peiris, Hirun Matheesha and Thevindu Wewalwala and Royal College, Panadura batsman Sathsara Nilanjith were the leading batsmen for them in this tournament. Peiris and Matheesha have both scored over 100 runs in the four matches they played. While Peiris scored a century to provide a robust start to the tournament, Matheesha came up with a decisive half century. While Nilanjith made a vial contribution with 45 runs in one match, Wewalwala helped them with a dogged knock of 22 runs in a difficult chase.

They have two strike bowlers in Himaru Deshan and Rusandu Silva. The left-arm spinners have more than twenty wickets between them in the four matches. And both have also claimed five wicket hauls. The Holy Cross College, Kalutara spinner Deshan is the tournament’s highest wicket taker with 14 wickets against his name. They also have a safe pair of gloves behind the wickets in St. Peter’s College player Jason Fernando.

For Colombo North, skipper Lithum Senuja of Wesley, Mahanama College, Colombo batsman Dulneth Algawatta and Christ King College, Ja Ela player Sahan Rashmika excelled with the bat during the four-match league. Algawatta scored an unbeaten 56 to lead their batting charts.

Colombo North too have two left-arm spinners to count on but their main strike bowler was paceman Lahiru Lakmal who has nine wickets from the tournament. The left arm spinners are Dinuja Samararatne and Dasith Perera.

Colombo North are coached by Duminda Perera.

Colombo South Under 15s with their officials.


Colombo South U15s (from): Thevindu Wewalwala, Dunitha Anusara, Rehan Peiris, Hirun Matheesha, Rusandu Silva, Chanul Athale, Lasiru Sandakan, Matheesha Aponso, Himaru Deshan, Janul Damhiru, Jason Fernando, Sathsara Nilanjith, Yasaru Praveen.

Officials: Kanishka Perera (Manager), Omesh Wijesiriwardana (Head Coach), Umal Liyanage (Asst. Coach)

Colombo North U15s (from): Lithum Senuja (Captain), Dulneth Algawatta, Sadeesha Silva, Yenula Danthanarayana, Janindu Induwara, Shan Rishmitha, Kavith de Silva, Buddhima Tharupathi, Lahiru Lakmal, Dinuja Samararathna, Dasith Perera, Senith Nethsara, Gavindu Ranasinghe.

Officials: Jaliya Jayantha (Manager), Duminda Perera (Head Coach), Dhammika Sudharshana (Asst. Coach).

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