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Ushan scales new heights in US

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Olympian Ethir predicts more record breaking feats

by Reemus Fernando

Former Maris Stella College jumper Ushan Thivanka achieved his personal best performance of 2.25 metres in the high jump on Saturday at an indoor competition held in Texas, USA where he is pursuing higher education.

The impressive performance, which is a new Sri Lanka Indoor record, indicates bright prospects as he reached standards set by Sri Lanka Athletics to enter country’s ‘Elite Pool’ of athletes.

Sri Lanka Athletics had set 2.22 metres as the standard to enter the Elite Pool.

Olympian and Asian Games high jump gold medallist Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, who has helped a number of Sri Lankan high jumpers, including current national record holder Manjula Kumara, pursue higher education and sports in US Universities, believes that Thivanka has the potential to break Manjula Kumara’s outdoor record soon rather than later.

“Ushan has the potential to break or equal Manjula’s record by April or May at an outdoor competition,” Ethirveerasingam who is currently in the US told The Island when asked for his comments on the achievement.

Manjula’s outdoor national record (of 2.27 metres) which is 14 years old now has been equaled only once and that was also by the record holder himself.

Ushan had an outdoor personal best of 2.24 metres achieved in Colombo in 2018 and a seasonal best of 2.21 metres achieved last month (Crimson & Gold Invitational) before entering the competition on Saturday.

Ushan had been considered a potential successor to Manjula Kumara ever since he started scaling heights over 2.20 metres.

His new personal best mark is now level with the 17th position in current indoor world rankings shared by Tihomir Ivanov, Falk Wendrich, Tejaswin Shankar and Jeron Robinson.

In outdoor competitions this year, Hamish Kerr of New Zealand has the best performance of 2.31 metres and all other outdoor performances are below the 2.22 metres mark.

Ushan’s improving standards are a welcome sign to local athletics enthusiasts who are yearning to witness athletes achieving qualifying standards for Tokyo Olympics within the next few months. They have so far witnessed only one athlete (steeplechase athlete Nilani Ratnayake) performing within qualifying standards for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Tokyo Olympics will offer only 32 spots for men’s high jump and the qualifying standard set for the discipline is 2.33 metres.



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SLT-MOBITEL Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021 Concludes Successfully

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SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb 2021’ Motorbike and Car racing championship powered by the ultra-high speed fibre broadband and fastest mobile internet services provider in Sri Lanka SLT-MOBITEL concluded successfully amid much fanfare, on the 27th and 28th February, 2021 at the Eliyakanda racing circuit in Browns Hill Matara.

SLT-MOBITEL joined hands with the Southern Motor Sports Club (SMSC) for the 25th edition of the ‘SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb’.

The exciting racing spectacle comprised of 16 motor cycle events and 17 motor car events, on an uphill course covering a distance of 540 metres, The Bike races were conducted on 27th February and the Car races took place the next day, on 28th February, 2021.

Jaden Gunawardena took pole as the faster rider among 103 racers, marking a new race record of 33.63 seconds. Moreover, Ashan Silva made history at the car race as the first person in the event’s 25 year history to complete the race in 31.26 seconds. The race was made extra special as Ashan had in his first run beat Dilan Seneviratna’s record of 31.783 seconds.

The SLTMOBITEL Speedup Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb is a national championship event which functions under the purview of the Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS), the governing body for motor sports in Sri Lanka.

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Wenuka wins all Thomian final to clinch U16 boys’ singles title

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SSC Open Ranking Tennis

by Reemus Fernando

Wenuka Kithnula clinched the Under-16 boys’ singles title with a win over top seed Zaidh Zihar at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Wednesday.

In an all Thomian final Kithnula scored 7-5, 6-4 against Zihar, who had to be content with the runner up title for the second consecutive time within weeks.

For Kithnula, it was the first title in this age category after being eliminated in the quarter-finals of two consecutive tournaments this year. He has however tasted title victory in lower age category events at the SSC Open Raking Tournaments before.

Both Zaidh Zihar and Wenuka Kithnula have been performing consistently since tennis resumed following a long hiatus due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The S. Thomas’ College players were also among the top contenders when they were competing in the Under-14 age category often sharing the champion and runner up titles between them.

At the Tennis Nationals 2020 which was played in January this year, Kithnula was eliminated by eventual champion Kiran Viravanathan in the quarter-finals of the Under-16 tournament. Zihar reached the semi-finals in that tournament.

At the last month’s Colombo Championships, Kithnula was knocked out in the quarter-finals, while Zihar reached the final where he was beaten by Viravanathan.

Meanwhile, in the Under-16 girls’ singles, Dinara de Silva and Saajida Razick from Dineshkanthan Tennis School are set to meet in the final as they won their semi finals.

In the Under-14 girls’ singles Arushi Thomas, Onali de Silva, Jayami Thambugalage and Dulkini Ranasinghe advanced to the semi finals.

Results

Under-16 boys’ singles final

Wenuka Kithnula beat Zaidh Zihar 7-5, 6-4

Under-16 girls’ singles semi-finals

Dinara de Silva beat Anithra Dharmaratne 6-2, 6-4

Saajida Razick beat Dinethya Dharmaratne 6-2, 6-3

Under-14 girls’ singles quarter-final

Arushi Thomas beat Melasha Randini 7-5, 6-4,

Onali de Silva beat Inuki Jayaweera 1-6, 6-2, 13-11

Jayami Thambugalage beat Brinda Fernando 6-3, 6-1,

Dulkini Ranasinghe beat Akeesha Silva 3-6, 6-4, 10-8

 

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Top seeds Zihar, Wenuka book final berths

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SSC Open Ranking Tennis

Top seeds Zaidh Zihar and Wenuka Kithnula advanced to the final of the Under-16 boys’ singles as they won their respective semi-final matches at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Tuesday.

Zihar, the top seed, beat Hasal Ahangama 6-4, 6-5 to book his second consecutive Under-16 boys’ singles final berth. Zihar was the runner up to Kiran Viravanathan at the last month’s Colombo Championships.

The second seed Kithnula ousted Ransath Peiris 6-2, 6-2 to advance to his first final after being eliminated in the quarter-finals at both the Colombo Championships and the Nationals (U16) in January.

In the Under-12 boys’ singles Saha Kapilasena edged out his bother Tyee 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 to book a place in the final. Kapilasena will now meet Jayin de Saram who won his semi final against Aahil Kaleel (7-6, 2-6, 10-5).

In the Under-16 girls’ singles, third seed Dinethya Dharmaratne secured a semi-final place against number two seed Saajida Razick when she overcame a set defeat to beat Nelini Jayasuriya 3-6, 6-2, 10-8. Razick advanced to the semis with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Nesangi Hemakumara.

In the other semi-final Anitra Dharmaratne is set to meet Dinara de Silva who beat Ruvi Lewkebandara 0-6, 6-1, 10-7. Anitra Dharmaratne secured her spot when she ousted top seed Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-2, 1-6, 12-10.

Results

Under-16 boys’ singles semis

Zaidh Zihar beat Hasal Ahangama 6-4, 6-5

Wenuka Kithnula beat Ransath Peiris 6-2, 6-2

Under-16 girls’ singles quarter-finals

Dinethya Dharmaratne beat Nelini Jayasuriya 3-6, 6-2, 10-8

Saajida Razick beat Nesangi Hemakumara 6-2, 6-2

Dinara de Silva beat Ruvi Lewkebandara 0-6, 6-1, 10-7

Anitra Dharmaratne beat Dewmini Warnasuriya 6-2, 1-6, 12-10

Under-12 boys’ singles semi-finals

Saha Kapilasena beat Tyee Kapilasena 3-6, 6-2, 10-6

Jayin de Saram beat Aahil Kaleel 7-6, 2-6, 10-5

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