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Yupun ends track and field medal drought at Commonwealth Games

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Sprinter Yupun Abeykoon ended more than two decades of a wait to witness a track and field medal for Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games as he clocked 10.14 seconds to clinch bronze in the men’s 100 metres final in Birmingham on Wednesday. It was the first track and field medal at the Commonwealth Games for Sri Lanka since Sugath Thilakaratne (bronze) and Sriyani Kulawansa (silver) won medals at the Kula Lumpur Games in 1998. Olympic medallist, Susanthika Jayasinghe’s highest achievement at the Games was a fourth-place finish.

In a competition where the South African defending champion Akani Simbine (silver 10.13) was beaten by Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala for gold (10.02), Abeykoon edged out Ghana’s Benjamin Azamati (10.16) to share the podium with them. He became Sri Lanka’s first ever medallist in 100 metres at these Games.

Jeremiah Azu of Wales (10.19), Rohan Browning of Australia (10.20) and Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme (10.24) finished behind the Sri Lankan.After reaching the semi-finals with the fastest first round (10.06 secs) performance in the history of the Games, the 27-year-old clocked 10.20 seconds in the semi-final on Wednesday to accomplish his preseason target.He had set winning an Asian Games medal and featuring in the Commonwealth Games final among his targets for this season.

With his bronze medal victory Abeykoon became the fourth Sri Lankan track and field medallist at the Commonwealth Games. Olympic medallist Duncan White (440 yards hurdles), Sriyani Kulawansa (100 metres hurdles) and Sugath Thilakaratne (400m) are the only other athletes to have won track and field medals at these games.

The Italy-based sprinter is in red hot form this season after becoming the first South Asian sprinter to run the 100 metres under 10 seconds (9.96 secs) in early July. His national record mark of 9.96 seconds which he established last month is the fastest performance by an Asian this year, though the World Athletics rankings places him second in Asia behind Abdul Hakim Sani Brown of Japan.

The former Joseph Vaz College, Wennappuwa athlete has constantly clocked sub 10.20 seconds this season, a performance none of the former national record holders could achieve. On an eventful day, Para-athlete H.G. Palitha won the silver medal in the F42 discus throw event with a throw of 44.20 metres in his fifth attempt. His previous throws were read at 39.54, 41.48, 41.88 and 43.13 metres.

In the men’s 400 metres, Kalinga Kumarage secured a semi-final spot with a fourth-place finish in heat one. Kumarage’s finishing time of 46.53 seconds was the 17th fastest time in a field of nearly 50 sprinters.He is scheduled to compete in the third semi-final of the men’s 400 metres today. Long jumper Sarangi Silva and steeplechase athlete Nilani Ratnayake are the others competing in their events today.

The performances of track and field athletes were a consolation after the Sri Lankan contingent in Birmingham attracted attention for the wrong reasons. The news of a Sri Lankan wrestler, a judoka and the judo manager disappearing from the games village was reported by international media.



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Mihiranga, Charuka shine as Richmond secure quarter-final place 

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Under 17 Division I Cricket  

by Reemus Fernando   

Spinner Pubudu Mihiranga produced a five wicket haul to lead Richmond to 60 runs victory over Sri Devananda in the Under 17 Division I cricket pre-quarter-final played at Ambalangaoda on Sunday. Richmond were in danger of missing the quarter-final berth after Ravindu de Silva triggered a middle order collapse to restrict them to 166 runs. But Mihiranga’s counter attack helped them earn the crucial victory as they restricted the home team to 106 runs.

Chasing a target of 167 runs to win, Mayura Malshan, Lahiru Kavinda and Sithum Vihanga were the only batsmen to reach double figures as Devananda were bowled out in the 25th over. After doing well in the field, their batsmen failed to back up, with five batsmen getting out without scoring.  For Richmond, Thamindu Pradeeptha and Yuri Koththigoda did early damage before Mihiranga came up with his impressive spell to complete a five wicket haul.  Mihiranga’s 8.5 overs included four maidnes and he gave away just 23 runs for his five wickets.

Deciding to bat, Charuka Gunasekara stood out with a valuable knock of 81 runs (94 balls, 14x4s). With Gunasekara going great guns Richmond were looking at posting a challenging total. But Ravindu de Silva had other ideas.

Introduced to the attack as the ninth bowler, de Silva rattled the Richmond batting line up with a five wicket haul. Richmond were 133 for two wickets at the end of the 30th over but their last eight wickets could add only 33 runs during the remainder of the innings as Ravindu De Silva joined Sithum de Silva to contained the formidable line up to 166 runs.

Sithum who completed his quota of ten overs gave away just 19 runs for his three wickets. Ravindu bowled seven overs taking five wickets for 19 runs, while Mayura Malshan and Sithum Vihanga too bowled economical spells. Malshan’s seven overs (7.2) cost him just 12 runs. In the other two pre-quarter-final matches played on Saturday, Revata College, Balapitiya pulled off an exciting three runs victory over St. Thomas’, Matara and Trinity scored two wickets victory over D.S. Senanayake.

Scores:  

Richmond 166 all out 43.2 overs (Helith Edirisinghe 19, Charuka Gunasekara 81, Extras 24; Sithum de Silva 3/19, Ravindu de Silva 5/19) 

Sri Devananda 106 all out in 24.5 overs (Mayura Malshan 28, Lahiru Kavinda 30; Pubudu Mihiranga 5/23, Yuri Koththigoda 2/11) 

Results of the Matches played on Saturday 

Revata beat St. Thomas’ Matara by three runs at Matara  

Scores: 

Revata 140 all out in 49.1 overs (Kaveesha Mendis 59, Malith Mihiranga 23; Loshitha Diksith 3/26, Manuga Yonal 2/22, Pesandu Sanjan 2/14) 

St. Thomas’ 137 all out in 37.5 overs (Abdul Majid 26, Manuga Yonal 23, Sanju Dilshan 21; Kaveesha Mendis 2/32, Malith Mihiranga 2/18, Shehan Madusanka 3/18, Purna Ranyuru 3/18) 

 Trinity beat DSS by one wicket at Mount Lavinia  

Scores: 

DSS 144 all out in 45.3 overs (Shanal Binuksha 23, Sohan Senarathyapa 39, Chanul de Alwis 20, Extras 24; Malith Rathnayake 2/25, Sweaph Anurajeewa 2/24)

Trinity 145 for 8 in 49.5 overs (Sweaph Anurajeewa 27, Jayavi Liyanagama 32; Akidha Weerasuriya 2/19, Randisha Bandaranayake 2/22) 

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Man United’s David de Gea after Brentford defeat: Last season’s horror show still in our minds

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David de Gea has said Manchester United are struggling to get over last season’s traumatic campaign and added the hangover is contributing to a nightmare start to life under Erik ten Hag.Ten Hag is the first United manager in more than 100 years to lose his first two games in charge after back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

The 4-0 humiliation at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday left Ten Hag’s team bottom of the Premier League table and De Gea said the dismal end to last season, when United lost seven of their final 12 games, is playing a part.

“It was a difficult season and probably it’s still in our minds,” he said. “When something goes wrong people get panicky, it’s difficult. But we have to learn, we have a new manager, some new players, we need to be more positive, keep learning and improve.”

All four goals at Brentford were conceded in the opening 35 minutes, prompting Ten Hag to replace Luke Shaw, Lisandro Martinez and Fred at half-time. The Dutchman said afterwards he wanted to change his entire starting lineup following a disastrous first 45 minutes and De Gea said the United boss relayed his anger to the players at the break.David de Gea endured a miserable afternoon as Manchester United were thrashed at Brentford. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“He said it was unacceptable, what we were doing on the pitch,” De Gea said. “Nothing else to be honest. It was horrible, then some tactical things. It was horrible from us.

“I must take responsibility, I think I cost two goals to the team today. That first goal cannot happen. As a team we should react much better than we did, but I think I cost the team two goals.”

It won’t get any easier for United with Liverpool their next opponents at Old Trafford on Aug. 22. United haven’t beaten Liverpool in a league game since 2018 and the last three fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side have ended in three defeats and a combined score of 13-2.

“It’s about winning games,” De Gea added. “As soon as we win one game, two games, we’re going to start feeling better and more positive.

“We’re training really well, people are training hard, everyone is giving everything, to be honest, but then in the games we are not performing. For sure we’re going to learn, we have to learn and we have to play much better.”

(ESPN)

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Godamanne retires as Sri Lanka secure Group III promotion

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Sri Lanka registered a 2-0 victory over Iraq to earn promotion to Group III as they won the vital encounter in the Asia Oceania Zone Group IV Event, which was also the final Davis Cup match for Harshana Godamanna at the SLTA clay courts in Colombo on Saturday.

In the singles Yasitha de Silva beat Abdullah Ali Hatem 6-4, 6-2 and Harshana Godamanna beat Adel Mustafa Al-Saedi 6-3, 6-2.

Godamanna who represented Sri Lanka for 20 years made his retirement from the game a memorable one. He was presented with a plaque with many pictures of him in action and his parents in appreciation. The presentation was made by Iqbal bin Issack president of SLTA.

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