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When rugby ace Lanil travelled from Passara to Colombo and back for national team practices

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Lalin Tennakoon (sporting white sweat band) at the Rugby 7’s game in Hong Kong.

by Harischandra Gunaratna

Former Sri Lanka Rugby captain Lanil Tennakoon in an interview with The Island said that he was compelled to ride his 650cc BSA motorcycle from Passara to Colombo and back covering nearly 450 km to attend national team practices.

He said that he had to be at Longdon Place by 4.30 pm for practices and back at work at Passara to supervise the tea manufacture and plucking the following morning.

Lanil who was attached to Gonakelle Estate in Passara had to endure the rigorous routine because his boss was a very strict administrator who was not supportive of sports and refused to release his Sinnadorai (Assistant Superintendent) for rugger practices even if it was at National level.

Reminiscing his childhood, Lanil said that he inherited his love for sports from his late father John Tennakoon who represented St. Anthony’s College Katugastota at boxing and cricket and later the Police.

Lanil had to move from Trinity College, Kandy to Kalutara Vidyalaya when he was nine years old as his father was poted as HQI of the Kalutara South Police Station. He recalls, playing with a rugger ball and kicking the ball in the compound of the HQI’s quarters at Ferry Road, Kalutara North during the two years he was at Kalutara. On being re-admitted to Trinity College he attended rugger practices religiously but never made it to the College first XV.

Captaining his house rugby team was the highest achievement during his school days.

Lanil joins the select band of Trinitians who donned the Sri Lanka jersey without representing the school. Others are Willie Ratnavale, Dr. Tony de Sylva and Y.C. Chang.

The burly second rower said that he was not the only Trinitian to don the Sri Lanka jersey without representing the alma mater.

Lanil received his baptism to club rugby after he was chosen to play for the leading planters club, Dickoya Maskeliya Cricket Club team in the hills, led by Bede Johnpullai in 1971 and later represented Dimbulla, Uva, Kandy SC, Havelocks and CH & FC. He also captained the Up Country XV against visiting foreign teams.

He was known for his bone jarring tackles, and brilliant place kicking and he was a regular in both the national XV and 7’s rugger teams.

Lalin with wife Sandra.

Lanil a place kicker with a bull’s eye has contributed with his boot for many a victory during his long rugby career and he celebrated 50 years as a rugby player last year. His crowning glory came when he was appointed as captain of the Sri Lanka XV and 7’s in 1980. He led the Sri Lanka teams that year at Hong Kong Sevens and Rugby Asiad in Taiwan.

Many sports enthusiasts are unaware that Tennakoon was a fiery fast bowler and represented the CCC in the Daily News Trophy games. The team included former All-Ceylon cricket captain C.I. Guanasekera and former national cap Channa Gunasekera among others. He played cricket until the day CH rugby coach Darley Ingelton saw him bowling to the Sri Lanka poolists including Duleep Mendis practicing at the CCC nets where he had to attend rugger practices and read him the riot act and said “Young man you have to chose either cricket or rugby”

Lanil Tennakoon the sports star married his sweetheart, former Good

Sheppered Convent, Kandy athlete Sandra Bertus and they have three children Devaka, Yoshini and Devshan, the eldest Devaka following the father’s footsteps is also a tea planter.

Tennakoon had a 5 ½ year stint in Mozambique and Rwanda imparting his expertise to the plantation companies and now in his 70’s continues his tea planting career at Powysland Estate in Dayagama.



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Sports

Nethmika and Sachintha brighten day one

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All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships

by Reemus Fernando

Jumper Nethmika Madushani Herath of Nannapurava MV, Bibila and thrower Thareen Sachintha of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya produced outstanding feats as they reached their personal best performances on day one of the All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.The Asian Youth Athletics Championship participant Herath missed the meet record of the Under 18 girls’ triple jump by just five centimetres but she managed to reach her personal best with an outstanding 11.96 metres performance.

The national junior record holder of the long jump event will be competing in two other events during this meet. She came to the meet with an added feather on her cap after obtaining top grades for her O/L exam (8As, 1B).Thurstan College sprinter who obtained nine ‘A’s at the recently held exam also made his presence felt qualifying from the Under 18 boys’ 400 metres.

St. Peter’s thrower Thareen Sachintha hurled the javelin to a distance of 60.02 metres to win the Under 18 boys’ event. With his notable feat Sachintha has helped his school keep the first place of this event in their possession since 2019.The day one witnessed two new meet records being established with Ovini Chandrasekara of Bishop’s College and Uvindu Sudaraka of Rahula College, Matara creating new marks in the Under 20 girls’ and boys’ shot put events.

Chandrasekara was the only athlete to break the 12 metres barrier as she cleared 12.72 metres to win. Asvitha Sundaresan of OKI International, Kelaniya was placed second with a feat of 10.62 metres, while St. Bridget’s Convent athlete Kavya Jayasooriya cleared 10.19 metres.

Sudharaka’s new meet record mark was 15.43 metres. Boys from Jaffna made a clean sweep in the Under 20 boys’ pole vault. S. Kobisan of Hindu College, Jaffna won with a feat of 4.10 metres. J. Kasmithan of Mahajana College (3.90m) and I. Abinayan of Arunodaya College (3.70m) were placed second and third respectively.

Oshini wins third consecutive title

Promising jumper Oshini Kodikara of St. Lawrence’s Convent, Wellawatta won her third consecutive age group title of the year when she cleared 5.50 metres to win the Under 16 girls’ long jump event. She was the winner of both the Junior National Championship and the Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships which were held early this year.

Pavani Uthpala of Manampitiya Sinhala MV, Dimbulagala (Under 16 girls’ discus throw 28.41m) and S. Thirubashitha of S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Colombo (Under 14 boys’ high jump 1.74 metres) were the winners of the other events. Sandil Hettiarachchi of Colombo International also cleared 1.74 metres in the Under 14 boys’ high jump.

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Lithium, Ganuka Under 14 boys’ doubles champions

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National Tennis Championships 2022 

Lithium Jayabandu of Ananda College, Colombo and Ganuka Fernando of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya clinched the Under-14 boys’ doubles title at the National Tennis Championships concluded at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts in Colombo on Wednesday.

Jayabandu and Fernando rallied around magnificently and went on to beat the combination of Mayanka Perera of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and Rehan Gunawardhane of Carey College 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 in a thrilling final encounter.

Meanwhile, Gehansa Methnadi of Musaeus College and Githmi Fernando of Ave Maria Convent, Negombo won the Under-14 girls doubles title when they defeated Venuli Jayasinghe of Maliyadeva Girls’ College, Kurunegala and Sandithi Usgodaarachchi of Musaeus College 6-3, 6-1 in straight sets. The boys’ and girl’s Under-14 doubles of the National Tennis Championships were delayed as most of the junior players were on national duty competing at the ITF Junior Tournaments.

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The Indian CEO Forum Partners with the Colombo Rowing Club for the Madras-Colombo Regatta

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The Indian CEO Forum (ICF) In association with LANKA IOC (LIOC) and POWER TECH Cement partnered with the Colombo Rowing Club for The Madras-Colombo Regatta’ which is considered to be the oldest regatta in the world between two cities of different countries. As per the tradition, The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka H.E Gopal Baglay was the chief guest at this year’s edition held at the Colombo Rowing Club on Saturday the 26th November 2022.

This year it was the 81st edition of the event and was supported by the Indian CEO forum in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the event, the High Commissioner said that India will continue to row together with Sri Lanka in the race against common challenges and it is but natural for the people of India and the people of Sri Lanka to work together and build bonds. The Indian CEO forum stepping in to assist and partner with the Colombo Rowing club for this event is a clear example of how the neighbors encourage and support each other.

“The Indian CEO Forum along with two other member companies — Lanka IOC and Power Tech Cement — have come forward to sponsor this exclusive event and make it a success. This is a great boost for rowing in Sri Lanka, especially at a time the country is trying its level best to regain glory in all aspects,” said the President of the Rowing Club, Dimuth Gunawardena. “I am extremely thankful to Mr T S Prakash and Mr Kishore Reddy along with Mr Nagaraj who made this happen” Gunawardena added.

T S Prakash, the president of the ICF said “we are really happy that we are associated with this event and member companies are extremely happy that such a partnership was established”.

Kishore Reddy who is the vice president and Chairman membership of the ICF as well as the President of the Sri Lanka India Society said “The Madras Colombo Regatta has immense potential to be a permanent feature of the sporting calendar considering the history of the event and the traditions associated with it. We will work together with the Colombo Rowing Club to take this to the next level”.

“We are glad to be the sponsors of the event and were not really aware of an event with such history before Mr. Kishore Reddy mentioned it” said Manoj Gupta, Managing Director of Lanka IOC. “we look forward to supporting the Colombo Rowing club for the next event as well” he added.

Gaurav Mehta, the Managing Director of DHT cement and Power Tech Cement who were co-sponsors of the event mentioned ” we are happy that the newest brand of cement in Sri Lanka (Power Tech) has partnered with the oldest Regatta in the island. The event exceeded my expectation and we are proud that we are part of this and contributed to the success of the event”.

Sagala Ratnayake who was the guest of honour and also a past Oarsman who had rowed many times at the venue said that he was happy to see the partnership between the ICF and the Rowing Club.

The first-ever Madras-Colombo Rowing Regatta was held way back in 1898 and is considered the oldest sporting encounter held between India and Sri Lanka.This time, the rivalry resumed after a break of three years due to the pandemic.

Traditionally, the Madras Boat Club and the Colombo Rowing Club host the Regatta alternatively and this year it was the Colombo Rowing Club’s turn to host the Indian team. ” we are extremely thankful to the Colombo Rowing Club for hosting us and for their great hospitality” said the President of the Madras Boat Club Mr Subramanium. ” We will also try our best to match this hospitality, if not exceed when we host this event next year” he added.

The main event of the Regatta is the Men’s boat race which is considered to be the second oldest boat race in the world, second only to the famous Oxford-Cambridge boat race. The events were for men and women over a distance of 1000 metres. The winners of the Men’s event were Colombo and were awarded the prestigious Deepam Trophy while the Adyar Trophy was awarded to the Madras team who were the Women’s champions. The overall champions of the 81st Madras Colombo Regatta was Colombo Rowing Club.

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