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Tennis champ Yasitha says there were no shortcuts to success



By a Special Sports Correspondent

Yasitha de Silva reached another milestone in his tennis career when he bagged the Men’s Open Singles event at the ongoing Sri Lanka Tennis Nationals in Colombo.

This is his second Singles ‘crown’ in tennis. Looking back at his win the champ says that playing tennis at a competitive level is tough given that he has to balance duties at his place of employment-MAS Holdings.

Yasitha is one player who took his education as seriously as the sport he chose for himself. And he credits his parents for showing him the importance of having a sound education.

While playing tennis he completed his degree at the University of Colombo. At present, he works as a Business Analyst to the Director of Group Operations at MAS Holdings Priyantha Fernando.

Yasitha is a household name in the Sri Lankan tennis fraternity and that identity in tennis was slowly built up since he started playing the sport at his alma matter Ananda College Colombo. “There was an amazing tennis culture at school and that helped me keep working on my game and loving the sport,” said Yasitha.

After he received his first lessons in tennis from his school coach Anupa Maththemagoda he came under the tutelage of Niranjan Casie Chetty with whom he has trained for the past 13 years. Incidentally Niranjan also produced this year’s Women’s Singles Champion Anjalika Kurera.

Yasitha wasn’t a dazzling player when competing at junior events and while in school. But he raised his game after stepping into the senior arena. Since making into the national pool he has been a regular and contested every Davis Cup event as a member of the men’s national team. He has fond memories of winning his Davis Cup match against Thailand. He also won a bronze medal at the 2016 South Asian Games; these two achievements being the top highlights in overseas assignments for country’s tennis representative.

He also values high his participation in tennis while in University and talks with much fondness about the appearances he made at the world university games in 2017 and 2019. “My future dream is to be a contributing player to the national team and also help Sri Lanka get back into Group 2 in the Davis Cup,” said Yasitha during an interview with The Island newspaper.

But all that has to be done while balancing his job as a business analyst. There are much younger hungrier players climbing up the ‘hill’ where he, at present, has taken a position as the ‘king of tennis’. “It will be tough for me in the future because most of the top players are younger than me. These young players are training full-time. I started working this year, so I have to balance my job with my tennis. I have to keep my game at the best possible level,” said the current national champion.

Yasitha maintained that he still focuses on the game with the same passion as when in his youth. “My childhood dream was to become the national champion. If you put in the right work and ethics and keep believing in yourself you can reach great heights in this sport. I still feel I can improve a lot more as a player. I want to learn and grow in this sport,” he said.

He also plans to make progress in his business career and see what the future holds for him there. He has this piece of advice for youngsters, “The message I want to give aspiring young players is to start the sport with small dreams. You must dream big, but don’t look for shortcuts in life. The toughest paths get you the most amazing results”.

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ODI World Cup 2023 winner to receive USD 4 million in prize money




As in 2019, the winner of this year’s ODI World Cup will be awarded prize money of USD 4 million. The ICC has allocated a total of $10 million for the tournament, which begins on October 5 in Ahmedabad.
Two million dollars have been set aside for the runner-up while the losing semi-finalists can also bank on a sum of $800,000.
The other six teams will exit the competition at the end of the group stages with $100,000 each, which essentially means everyone taking part in the World Cup are assured of this sum of money. The winner of each league match is also assured $40,000.

India qualified by virtue of being hosts while New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa progressed from the 2020-23 ODI Super League. Sri Lanka and the Netherlands came through the qualifying tournament held in June and July 2023.

This World Cup follows a simple round-robin format with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches. The top four will qualify for the semi-finals, to be played in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.

The defending champions England and the runner-up in 2019 New Zealand will kick off the competition in two weeks’ time. The hosts, India, will begin their campaign against five-time winners Australia on October 8 and then build up to the group stage’s marquee clash with Pakistan on October 14. The matches are spread across 46 days and 10 cities with the final scheduled on November 19 in Ahmedabad.

After the recent ICC decision to offer equal prize money for both men’s and women’s events, this sets the precedent for the next Women’s World Cup in 2025.


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Priyadharshani’s four-for the highlight as Sri Lanka cruise into Asian Games semis




Inoshi Priyadharshani picked up 4 for 10 (Cricinfo)
Inoshi Priyadarshani’s career-best returns of 4 for 10 backed up by a quick 32 from Anushka Sanjeewani helped Sri Lanka brush aside Thailand by eight wickets and advance to the semi-finals of the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Chasing 79 in the rain-reduced 15-overs-a-side quarter-final, Sri Lanka coasted to a win in 10.5 overs. Rain and a wet outfield had delayed the start of the game by close to an hour-and-a-half. Once the weather cleared, Sri Lanka opted to field under grey skies.

Udeshika Prabodhani found some movement in the air, but it was Priyadharshani who inflicted the early damage, accounting for four of the first five wickets to fall. She struck twice in her first over – the second of the innings – dismissing Suwanan Khiaoto and Natthakan Chantham. In her next over, she removed Nannapat Koncharoenkai before accounting for Naruemol Chaiwai with a smart caught and bowled.

At 37 for 6, Thailand were sinking rapidly but a 29-run stand between Chanida Sutthiruang and Phannita Maya arrested the slide a touch. Sutthiruang top-scored with an unbeaten 31 and was the only batter to get into double-digits as Thailand managed to reach 78 for 7 in 15 overs.

Chamari Athapaththu and Sanjeewani then made light work of the chase. They brought up their 50 partnership in the sixth over before Thipatcha Putthawong accounted for Athapaththu, who top edged a slog sweep.

Putthawong also removed Sanjeewani but the damage had been done by then. Thailand were not helped by their ground fielding; they committed a number of mis-fields and dropped chances. Harshitha Samarawickrama closed the game in the 11th over with a pull over deep square leg.

Sri Lanka will face Pakistan in the second semi-final on Sunday.

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 84 for 2 (Chamari Athapaththu 27, Anushka Sanjeewani 32, Harshitha Samarawickrema 14*; Thipatcha  Putthawong 2-21) beat Thailand 78 for 7 (Chanida Sutthiruang 31; Inoshi  Priyadharshani 4-10, Sugandika Kumari 1-13, Chamari Athapaththu 1-13, Kavisha Dilhari 1-14) by eight wickets

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France rout Namibia 96-0 in Rugby World Cup match




France captain Antoine Dupont was forced off in the second half with an injury to his face during the Pool A rout of Namibia (pic BBC)

France are on the brink of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals after claiming their biggest-ever win with a 96-0 victory over Namibia in Pool A.

Damian Penaud scored a hat-trick, while Jonathan Danty, Charles Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarry all scored twice.

Antoine Dupont, Thibaud Flament, Baptiste Couilloud and Melvyn Jaminet also crossed before a penalty try took their total tally to 14 in Marseille.

The only French cause for concern was the loss of Dupont to injury. The hosts’ captain was withdrawn during the second half following a head-on-head tackle by Johan Deysel, whose yellow card was upgraded to a red by the bunker-review system.

France head coach Fabien Galthie’s decision to keep his talisman on the field despite his side’s huge 54-point half-time advantage could be scrutinised if Dupont’s injury keeps him on the sidelines with the knockout stages looming.


France: Ramos; Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Bielle-Biarry; Jalibert, Dupont; Baille, Mauvaka, Atonio; Woki, Flament; Cros, Ollivon, Jelonch.

Replacements: Bourgarit, Wardi, Aldegheri, Taofifenua, Boudehent, Couilloud, Moefana, Jaminet.

Namibia: Van der Bergh; Mouton, Deysel, Burger, Greyling; Loubser, Theron; Sethie, Van der Westhuizen, Coetzee, Tjeriko, Ludick, Katjijeko, Retief, Gaoseb.

Replacements: Nortje, Benade, Shifuka, Van Lill, Hardwick, Blaauw, Izaacs, Rossouw.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

(BBC Sports)

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