First Youth Athletics Selection Trial on November 13,14
by Reemus Fernando
The First Selection trial for the Asian Youth Athletics Championship 2022, scheduled for mid November, will be an ideal opportunity to weigh the impact the Covid 19 pandemic has dealt on schools sports.
There had been no schools competitions for track and field athletes since March 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Only a very few coaches had continued training junior athletes amidst trying conditions due to lockdowns and other restrictions during the last two years. Some of the athletes who were aspiring to compete at the Asian Youth Athletics Championship 2021 continued their training only to be disappointed later when the event was postponed to 2022 meaning the athletes who were eligible for competitions in 2021 will not be entitled to compete in 2022 due to the age group difference.
Sri Lanka were almost certain of top medals in at least two events at the Asian Youth Athletics Championships including the women’s 800 metres as young aspirant Tharushi Karunaratne was in top form. She is the top ranked 800 metres athlete in Asia in the Under-18 age category this year according to World Athletics listings but the postponement of the event to 2022 prevents her from emulating her brother Harsha who won a medal at a previous edition.
Sri Lanka Athletics announced November 13 and 14 as dates for the first Youth Trial for the Asian event to be held in Kuwait in March 2022. The eligible athletes are those who were born in 2005 and 2006 and Sri Lanka Athletics has provided entry standards to apply for trials. But almost all eligible athletes in this age category have last competed at national level in 2019 making it impossible to provide proof of their true current abilities to apply for entries. Due to this Sri Lanka Athletics will consider performances registered from August 01 2019 making the forthcoming trial an ideal opportunity to test the impact the pandemic has had on country’s junior sporting structure.
Sri Lanka Athletics has reduced the number of events limiting it only to the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 3,000m, 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles, 2,000m steeplechase, high jump, long jump, triple jump and the javelin for both girls and boys.
Dr. Cyril’s journey in Taekwondo has been fruitful
by A Special Sports Correspondent
Taekwondo in Sri Lanka has made a tough and challenging journey after it was introduced to the islanders by Deshamanya Master Dr. Cyril Antony to the island back on December 12th, 1976.
Those were the days when Bruce Lee’s films were sown in Asia and there was a great following for martial arts. The same environment prevailed here in Sri Lanka as well. After Dr. Antony picked up the rudiments of Taekwondo in Canada-where its founder General Choi Hong Hi was residing-he decided to make a quick return home and spread the sport island-wide.
However, Dr. Antony’s beginnings in martial arts had more to do with Kyokushin karate; a martial art where its players resorted to heavy blows and full contact fighting. According to Dr. Antony, Taekwondo is a much safer sport than karate due to its rhythmic and circular movements. “I respect karate because I cut my teeth in martial arts by learning it. But I realised that my future was with Taekwondo once I learned it in Canada,” said Antony in an interview with The Island.
There was a large following for the sport when he introduced it. But the numbers wanting to try it shot up largely because he had a successful stint as a referee at the World Championships in 1978. He was just 30 years old then when he achieved this feat.
At the inception, he started classes in Colombo, Kandy, Badulla, Wattala, Ratnapura, and Kuliyapitiya. “I used my personal contacts to promote the sport. There was much help for me because there was no politics involved with the sport back then,” he recalled. All these activities were made possible through his ‘club’-the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Association (SLTA).
As the sport gathered momentum here in Sri Lanka he registered the SLTA as the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Federation with the Ministry of Sports in 1984. Before that, exactly two years earlier, he registered Taekwondo as a national sport with the Ministry of Sports. All this was done with the good intention of promoting the sport and not with the aim of basking in personal glory.
However, things fell out of place when, in the year 1996, the then Minister of Sports took steps to suspend the registration of the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Federation. No reasons were given for this harsh action. The Sports Minister appointed an interim committee to oversee the administration of the federation and included his name among the list of administrators. But Dr. Antony soon fell out with the rest of the interim committee, so decided to go on his own.
Dr. Cyril Antony’s students perform during a Taekwondo demonstration
Reflecting on the suspension Dr. Antony said, “I think they wanted to benefit from the aid sent to us from South Korea for the purpose of promoting the sport here. I don’t think the Ministry of Sports had any legitimate right to suspend our registration because we didn’t receive any government funding or support.”
So between the years 1976 and 2021 the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Association, functioning in the capacity of a club promoted the sport in the island and served this nation in silence. To date there are as many as 200 committed students and eight qualified instructors there to promote the sport.
On December 12 last year the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Association held a ceremony to mark the occasion of the sport being present in Sri Lanka for a period of 45 years. It was held at the residence of Dr. Antony; the event was well attended by his students, teachers, his close associates, and the few representatives of the media.
Looking back at the hard journey made thus far Dr. Antony said, “I think we did better as an association that functioned without ties with the Ministry”. For the record his son Uditha and daughter Nayanajeevi are also full-time students training under him.
He added that Taekwondo being an Olympic sport was an added advantage to those practising it. “Our suspension took away the glory from the sport practised here,” he said.
Speaking further on the matter he said when he visited the archives of the Sports Ministry he had been told that there were no documents there to show that the Sri Lanka Taekwondo Federation was suspended. However, the federation is at present functioning under an elected body; in which Dr. Antony plays no role.
As things are Dr. Antony will continue to function through his Association which is serving the sport well. He has a great following in the sport and the name Dr. Cyril Antony is interwoven with Taekwondo in Sri Lanka. The sport owes a great deal to him because according to Dr. Antony he has spent the best years of his life promoting Taekwondo. He has grown old in the sport and he cannot even dream of divorcing himself from the sport he loves so much.
Pesandu wins Sri Lanka Chess Grand Prix 2022
Pesandu Rashmitha Liyanage of D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo won the Championship of the Sri Lanka Chess Grand Prix 2022 when he beat S. Sivathanujan of Kokavil Hindu College 1 ½ – ½ in the finals. In the double round finals, Pesandu won his first game with white pieces and forced a draw in the second game.
Liyanage earned Rs. 60,000.00, the Gold Medal and the Championship Trophy. Earlier in the semi-finals, he beat Osheen de Silva.
Sivathanujan settled for the silver medal and a cash award of Rs. 40,000.00.
In the consolation final, Osheen de Silva of Sri Lanka Navy beat Vinuda Shenal Gunatilake of Royal College 1 ½ – ½ . He beat Vinuda in the first round and drew the second round encounter to finish with 1 ½ . He received Rs. 25,000.00 and the bronze medal.
Vinuda had to satisfy with the fourth place and a cash award of Rs. 15,000.00. Buddhika Amarasinghe beat Kosala Sandeepa Amarasinghe and was placed fifth place and became eligible to receive a cash award of Rs. 10,000.00.
The 9th Sri Lanka Chess Grand Prix 2022, conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka had two stages. In the first stage, two round Robin events were played with nine rounds. Nine players competed. Unfortunately, Surath Wijeratne withdrew from the event after the first round and a point was given to all opponents in each round.
During the second stage, a knock-out events of semi-finals and finals were played among the top two teams of Group A and B. The two third-placed players competed for the fifth place.
Dulanjana hammers 344 runs as St. Joseph Vaz’s win by 665 runs
St. Joseph Vaz’s College number three batsman Inesh Dulanjana scored a triple century for his school to amass 708 runs for five wickets before cruising to 665 runs victory over Basilica College, Ragama in an Under 15 Division I cricket encounter at Ragama on Tuesday.
Dulanjana scored 344 runs in just 130 balls, according to official scorers the St. Joseph Vaz’s captain has scored 44 fours and 19 sixes in his swashbuckling innings. Nevin Senkith (111 in 83 balls, 19x4s, 1x6s) and Vimukthi Isara (109 not out in 39 balls, 13x4s, 7x6s) also scored centuries.
In reply, Basilica, fielding only ten batsmen were dismissed for 43 runs. Deneth Nimsara produced figures 8-4-7-6 for his six wickets.
St. Joseph Vaz’s 708 for 5 in 50 overs (Hansa Mihiranga 39, Inesh Dulanjana 344, Nevin Senkith 111, Vimukthi Isara 109n.o., Domonik Fernando 57)
Basilica 43 for 9 in 17 overs (Deneth Nimsara 6/07) (RF)
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