Asian Junior Athletics Championship
by Reemus Fernando
Ratnayake Central, Walala runner Tharushi Karunaratne won back to back gold medals as Sri Lanka reaped a haul of three medals on day two of the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in South Korea on Monday.
Karunaratne won the gold medal in the women’s 800 metres before running the vital anchor leg for her team to clinch gold ahead of strong Indian and hosts’ teams in the 4×400 metres mixed relay.
Gold medals Sri Lanka won yesterday were its eighth and ninth since the commencement of the biennial championship in 1986.
Competing in her pet event, Karunaratne was hardly challenged as she led from the first 100 metres to finish in a time of 2:05.64 seconds. Karunaratne, had set an Asian (junior) leading time just outside the current national record to earn her ticket to the event in South Korea. “I am really proud of her achievement. I was not expecting her to run close to her personal best as she had given her best in the 400 metres,” Susantha Fernando her coach told The Island after she clinched her first gold. She won the silver medal of the 400 metres on Sunday.
In the mixed relay she started in the third position but when the Indian counterpart who had won the gold in the 400 metres individual event tumbled at the start she grabbed the opportunity to fight for the first place and there was no turning back for her from there on. Jayeshi Uththara who won the 400 metres bronze, Shehan Dilranga and Vinod Ariyawansa were the others to form the mixed relay team.
She finished in a new Sri Lanka record time of 3:25.41 seconds. She was also a member of the team that had set the previous national record at the World Junior Championships. While the country’s senior athletes are yet to run the mixed relay at an international event, the junior athletes’ performances had been considered as National Records.
Kahawatta Central triple jumper Malith Yasiru was the other medallist of the day. Yasiru cleared 15.82 metres, seven centimeters shy of his personal best, to win the bronze ahead of India’s Sukhpreet Singh. Japan’s Miyao Manato who was the only athlete to clear the 16 metres mark (16.08m) and China’s Ma Yinglong (15.98m) won the gold and silver medals respectively.
With the two gold medals won yesterday the country has nine gold medals against her name at these championships now. Sri Lanka’s first gold medals of these championships were won by Damayathi Dharsha (100m) and Susanthika Jayasinghe (200m) in Jakarta Indonesia in 1994. The country had to wait till 2012 when it hosted the event in Colombo to witness the next gold. Dulaj Madusanka and Shivanthi Kumari Ratnayake won golds in the men’s and women’s 400 metres at the Sugathadasa Stadium while also anchoring the 4×400 metres relay teams to bronze and silver.
At the last edition in Gifu, Japan the country won three golds with Aruna Dharshana winning the men’s 400 metres with a championship record time of 45.79 seconds. Dharshana also ran a vital leg to win the 4×400 metres gold. The other gold came in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase when Parami Wasanthi clocked a National Junior Record time of 10:21.54 seconds to win.
Priyadharshani’s four-for the highlight as Sri Lanka cruise into Asian Games semis
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.
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
France rout Namibia 96-0 in Rugby World Cup match
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)
Bangladesh discover Mustafizur’s success with the new ball in rainy Dhaka
In a called-off game, disrupted due to rain on several occasions, Bangladesh lucked out. Amidst the rain breaks in the three-match ODI series opener between Bangladesh and New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, the hosts found out their experienced campaigner Mustafizur Rahman had something to offer with the new ball.
In the recent past, Mustafizur had hardly looked dangerous with the new ball and in the present setup – comprising Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud and Shoriful Islam – it looks he’ll hardly have the chance to open the bowling attack. Mustafizur’s recent performances also validate the fact that his role is to hold the batters during the middle overs, and he is doing that quite efficiently with his cutter and slower deliveries.
Mustafizur, who was rested after the opening game against Sri Lanka in the recently-concluded Asia Cup, made a comeback against India in their last game of the tournament after team management rested several first-choice fast bowlers and it also opened an opportunity for him to bowl with the new ball.
Though he put up an impressive show with the ball picking up 3-50 he turned out to be more effective with the old ball. He had given away 31 runs in the first four overs against India without any success but returned strongly when he was asked called in during the death overs.
It’s true that the two-paced wickets in Sri Lanka helped him against India, being suitable for cutters and slowers which were too hot to handle for the lower-order batting unit of their Asian neighbours. However, on Thursday against New Zealand, Mustafizur proved he still has something to offer with the new ball. What was more heartening for the hosts was the way he attacked to pickup a wicket – an instinct that had been missing for a while.
The way the 28-year-old got rid of Finn Allen (9), courtesy of a brilliant catch by Nurul Hasan Sohan behind the stumps, only showed he can still make the new ball talk as the New Zealand opener hardly had an answer to the length delivery that was pitched on the leg-stump and took the edge.
Since picking the wicket of Allen, Mustafizur was keen on trying different things that included bowling some short balls while he also tested the batters with his angled deliveries and quite surprisingly it was different from the way he bowled in the recent past where his major focus only remained on keeping a check on the flow of runs rather than going for wickets.
“Potentially, yeah. I thought Mustafizur bowled really nicely and hit the seam with the new ball,” New Zealand skipper Lockie Fergusson said after the first ODI was called off.
For Bangladesh, it was a breath of fresh air seeing him remove Chad Bowes (one) when the batter failed to negotiate his swinging delivery while he trapped Henry Nicholls (44) plumb in front to end the day with 3-27 from his seven overs.
Although the overcast conditions helped Mustafizur a lot to shine with the new ball, Bangladesh can definitely heave a sigh of great relief after his terrific performance just before the World Cup. Their interim head coach Nick Pothas echoed the same sentiment.
“Yeah he was very tidy. You know Fizz has been working very hard the last month or so to try and find some rhythm. We know his credentials bowling at the death. You can ask him to wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and bowl death overs and he will do them with the best in the world,” said Pothas.
“He has just been trying to get back some rhythm with the new ball and he has worked very hard himself along with Allan Donald and you can see the fruits. Just coming good at the right time just before the World Cup and very happy for him,” he added.
Pothas added that switching roles for Mustafizur is not a problem for him considering the vast amount of experience he has.
“No they are very specific, those two roles (bowling with new ball and old ball). They are almost living in two different boxes. These guys are professionals and have to be able to do everything. He does it and prioritizes that very well and he got a lot of experience.”
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