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Tharushi qualifies for World Junior Championships



99th National Athletics Championship

by Reemus Fernando

Sixteen-year-old Tharushi Karunaratne reached qualifying standards for the World Junior Athletics Championship to provide consolation as seniors struggled in wet weather conditions to get closer to Olympic qualifying standards during the first stage of the 99th National Athletics Championship at the Sugathadasas Stadium on Friday.

Sri Lanka Athletics advanced the first stage of the National Championship to Friday in a bid to provide competition starved athletes a chance to strive for Olympic qualifying standards but wet weather battered the hopefuls preventing them from going for their best. The Sri Lanka Athletics took the decision after travel restrictions were announced for the weekend.

Dilshi Kumarasinghe, who established a new national record at the last meet, was the biggest casualty as she pulled out from the women’s 800 metres due to injury after a promising start. Kumarasinghe’s injury slowed the race down but gutty youngster Karunaratne made number three ranked Asian Nimali Liyanarachchi fight to win the title. In doing so Karunaratne returned a time of 2:07.21 seconds to finish second and bettered the entry standard (2:08.7 seconds )for the World Junior Championship to be held in Nairobi.

Tharushi is the younger sister of Asian Junior Championship medallist Harsha Karunaratne. Tharushi, who is also coached by Susantha Fernando, is the third Sri Lankan athlete to qualify for the World Junior event this year. Holy Cross College, Gampaha athlete Shanika Lakmali who reached qualifying standards earlier, also competed in the same discipline yesterday and was placed fourth in a time of 2:09.63 seconds.

While many struggled against wet conditions, Nilani Ratnayake, who (ranked 34th in the ‘Road to Olympics Rankings’) is the closest Sri Lankan to an Olympic berth, clocked 9:53.96 seconds to win the 3000 metres steeplechase. With the national champion guaranteed 100 ranking points plus the points for her performance, analysts believe that the athlete trained by Sajith Jayalal would improve her world rankings when the statistics are updated.

Rio Olympic participant Sumeda Ranasinghe had to settle for the second place in the men’s javelin as former champion Waruna Lakshan turned tables to win with a feat of 75.91 metres. Beijing Olympic participant Nadeeka Lakmali could clear only a distance of 48.55 metres in the women’s javelin. Dilhani Lekamge won the event with a throw of 52.88 metres.

Men’s long jump was won by Janak Prasad Wimalasiri but the distance of 7.80 metres was well behind the Olympic qualifying standard (8.22 metres).

Kalinga Kumarage clocked 46.12 seconds to win the men’s 400 metres beating Asian Junior Championship record holder Aruna Dharshana to the second place.

In the women’s 400 metres Nadeesha Ramanayake had little competition as Dilshi Kumarasinghe did not take part. She clocked 53.32 seconds to win.

Himasha Eshan, who was faster (10.38 secs) in the men’s 100 metres heats clocked 10.45 seconds to win the final followed by Sahan Rajapaksa (10.69 secs) and Chamod Yodasinghe (10.76 secs).

Amsha de Silva was hardly challenged in the women’s 100 metres. She clocked 11.89 seconds to win ahead of Shelinda Jansen (12.20 secs).




India crowned champions of inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup




The Shafali Verma-led side beat England in the final by seven wickets

Titas Sadhu, Archana Devi and Parshavi Chopra took two scalps each while Gongadi Trisha and Soumya Tiwari made useful scores as India Under-19 scripted a memorable seven wicket win over England Under-19 to seal the inaugural Women’s Under-19 World Cup in Potchefstroom. India U19 chased down the paltry target of 69 in the 14th over.

Brief scores:

England U19 68 in 17.1 overs (Ryana Macdonald Gay 19; Titas Sadhu 2-6) lost to India U19 69/3 in 14 overs (Soumya Tiwari 24*; Alexa Stonehouse 1-8) by seven wickets


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ICC names all-woman panel of match officials for 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup



The upcoming women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa will have an all-woman line-up of match officials, in what will be a landmark first in the game.On Friday, the ICC announced the panel of three match referees and ten umpires, featuring officials from seven countries. The match referees are GS Lakshmi (India), Shandre Fritz (South Africa) and Michell Pereira (Sri Lanka). The on-field and TV umpires will be Sue Redfern (England), Eloise Sheridan (Australia), Claire Polosak (Australia), Jacqueline Williams (West Indies), Kim Cotton (new Zealand), Lauren Agenbag (South Africa), Anna Harris (England), Vrinda Rathi (India), N Janani (India) and Nimali Perera (Sri Lanka).

Selecting this panel was part of the governing body’s “strategic ambition of advancing the involvement and visibility of women in cricket,” an ICC statement said.

The panel will also have the most number of women umpires and match referees in a global ICC tournament, four more than the nine who are at the ongoing women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup.

“Women’s cricket has been growing rapidly in recent years and as part of that, we have been building the pathways to ensure more women have the opportunity to officiate at the highest level,” Wasim Khan, ICC’s general manager of cricket, said. “This announcement is a reflection of our intent in this space and just the start of our journey where men and women enjoy the same opportunities across our sport.

“We are committed to continuing to support our female match officials and provide opportunities to showcase their talents on the global stage. I wish them all the best for the tournament.”

The eighth edition of the women’s T20 World Cup begins with hosts South Africa facing Sri Lanka on February 10. Defending champions Australia are in Group A with Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Arica. Group B has England, India, Ireland, Pakistan and West Indies. The top two teams from each group will move into the semi-finals.The matches will be played in Cape Town, Gqeberha and Paarl with the final scheduled for February 26 at Newlands.


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ACC to meet in Bahrain on Feb 4, call on Asia Cup expected



The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will meet in Bahrain on February 4. A decision on the Asia Cup is expected at the much-awaited meeting where the representatives of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be present. It could be a stormy affair in the Persian Gulf city of Bahrain, with the two boards having been at loggerheads.

The hosting right of the upcoming Asia Cup, which will be an ODI championship among the continental sides, has been a bone of contention, with the BCCI and the PCB being at odds over the venue. The August-September championship was allotted to the PCB but in view of political tension between India and Pakistan, the BCCI had declared that the Indian team will not be in a position to travel to Pakistan.

The BCCI’s refusal was initially escalated by former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja who threatened to boycott the World Cup in India later in the year. A similar stand seems to have also been taken by Najam Sethi, who succeeded Raja, but there seems little support from other ACC members to the PCB position.

The BCCI and the PCB sparred recently after Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary and ACC president, announced the schedule of the council. It was responded with sarcasm by Sethi who said in a social media post, “Thank you @JayShah for unilaterally presenting @ACCMedia1 structure & calendars 2023-24 especially relating to Asia Cup 2023 for which Pakistan is the event host. While you are at it, you might as well present structure & calendar of our PSL 2023! A swift response will be appreciated (sic).”

The PCB chairman’s comments were rejected by ACC which declared that Shah’s post was not unilateral. “It has come to our knowledge that PCB Chairman Mr Najam Sethi has made a comment on the ACC President unilaterally taking the decision on finalising the calendar and announcing the same. The ACC wants to clarify that it has followed well established and due process. The calendar was approved by its Development Committee and Finance & Marketing Committee in a meeting held on December 13th, 2022.

“The calendar was then communicated to all the participating members individually, including Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), via an email dated December 22nd, 2022. While responses were received from certain Member Boards, no comments or suggested modifications were received from PCB. In view of the above, Mr Sethi’s comments on a social media platform are baseless and are vehemently denied by the ACC,” the ACC said backing Shah’s position.

With the meeting in Bahrain happening in such a backdrop, it could be a stormy affair. A BCCI official, who was in Mumbai for the unveiling of Women’s Premier League teams, confirmed a final decision on the Asia Cup will be taken in Bahrain on February 4.


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