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Chamara in Australian TT squad for 2008 Olympics

By Samiidha Kalmith Rathnayake
How many talented sports stars did Sri Lanka lose? How many local players represent foreign teams today? In cricket, a player like Pubudu Dassanayake opted to play for Canada. But The Nation will focus on a former table tennis champion who now represents the Australian national squad and may soon have the rare opportunity to participate at next year’s Olympic Games under the Australian flag.

Chamara Dushmantha, who won the national championships in 1991 and 1996, is back in his motherland for a short holiday. Amidst his busy schedule he was good enough to spend some time to share his experiences in Australia. “I took a liking to the sport from my school days. When I was studying at Thurstan College, table tennis was a major part of my life. It was the main reason that pushed me to win two national championship titles” Dushmantha said.

“I migrated to Australia in 1997 and started my career there in Victoria State. Initially it was a bit tough; particularly as a foreigner I encountered several problems when competing at national level meets. But now things are easier,” he said thoughtfully.
Dushmantha is currently representing the Victoria State team and is rated among the top six in the country. For a Sri Lankan it is a huge achievement but this courageous player says that he can achieve more in the years to come. “During the last Commonwealth Games I was a standby for the Australian team. I lost the qualifiers just by a set. Currently I’ve been selected for next year’s Olympic pool” he said.

According to Dushmantha the set-up there is totally different from that of Sri Lanka. “They have a strong junior level. So the national team never lacks the youth power. On most occasions Sri Lankan squads are selected two or three days before the tournament. But the authorities there maintain a pool for a long time and the final team will be the best team for that tournament,” he remarked.

Currently the Australian best is seeded 148 in the world rankings. “I’m sure we’ll improve on that. They have a great hunger to develop their game and that is the power that drives them forward,” he said. “Sri Lankan players are really talented. But they always lack the physical fitness and preparation for a tournament. They will never make an impression in the international arena in this manner,” he said with certainty.

Dushmantha also mentioned that assistance of a foreign coach will come in handy for the improvement of Sri Lankan players. “I’m not underestimating the talent in the country but the local instructors are not familiar with the new techniques and methods. So I think that it will be good if the officials get down a foreigner as the coach of the national team.” the veteran said.
Dushmantha is another costly loss that the local sports arena had. But he is more than happy to offer a helping hand to his motherland whenever it is needed.

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Royal Rugby Fiesta 2007

The Royal College Group of ‘91 will be organising a touch rugby tournament “Royal Rugby Fiesta 2007” on Sunday the 28 of October at CR & FC grounds from 9 a.m. onwards.

This tournament is open to the old boys groups of Royal College and is organised primarily to promote goodwill & togetherness. It also provides an opportunity for stars of yesteryear to display their skills.
This event is being organised for the sixth consecutive year. A kids play area, competitions and DJ music have also been arranged to make it a memorable day for the entire family.
The Group of ’91 has undertaken many projects to assist their alma mater and further information of the Group activities can be obtained from the Group website www.royalcollege91.com

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Chatura leads at the half-way mark

Chatura Rajapaksha of Dharmaraja College led the field of 14 players after 7 rounds in the National ‘A’ Chess Championship, 2007. Chatura has collected a total of 5.5 points out of a possible seven, defeating defending national champion, Athula Russell along the way. His only loss was to Gayan Peiris, son of former national champion T.D.R. Peiris. Gayan had a dream start to the tournament, winning 3 games and drawing one in the first four rounds, but has scored only a solitary draw. Russell has a forgetting start, drawing with the youngest player, Oshadhi Kottahachchy, followed by two losses to Rajapakse and Dulan Edirisinghe. He has since recovered, winning 4 games in a row to end up with 4.5 points.

Half a point behind Rajapaksha is Dulan Edirisinghe (5.0 points). G.C. Anuruddha, Ruchira Dissanayake and Athula Russell are on 4.5, followed by Peiris and Danuke Kuruppu on 4.
Former women’s national champion, Vineetha Wijesura shares the lead with B.G.D. Umesha after 7 rounds in the women’s nationals, which is being held simultaneously with the men’s nationals. Despite losing to debutant Anjana Perera, Vineetha maintained her position at the top since Umesha also lost her 7 th round game. Both players have got 5 points and are followed by Gayathri Herath and A. Rajapaksha (4.5) and 4 players on 4 points (Sachini Ranasinghe, Piumi Maheshika, Supeshala Thilakawardena and Lihini Walallawita).

Standings at the end of the 7th round are as follows:
Men: R.M.C. M. Rajapaksha (5.5), Dulan Edirisinghe (5.0), G.C. Anuruddha, R.S. Dissanayake, Athula Russel (4.5), T.G.M. Peiris, Danuke Kuruppu (4.0), Neshendra Herat, Rasheen De Silva (3.5), K.O.V. Kottahachchy (3.0), G.L. Wijesuriya, Prasanna Kurulasuriya (2.5), Naditha Amarakoon (1.5), J.K.C. Ketalawala (0.5)
Women: G.V. Wijesuriya, B.G.D. Umesha (5), Gayathri Herath, A. Rajapaksha (4.5), Sachini Ranasinghe, Piumi Maheshika, Supeshala Thilakawardena, Lihini Walallawita (4) Lumbini Ambanwela, Anjana Perera 3.5, Buddhini Jayathileka (2.5), Thanya Cooray (2) Sithumi Kodithuwakku (1. 5), Dinukshi Premanath (1).
The tournament is conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka and jointly sponsored by the People’s Bank and the Mt. Lavinia Chess Club. The final six rounds will be played from October 20-22nd.

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Richmond Mavericks footballers enjoy tour

The Richmond Mavericks football team, from the North East of England, performed creditably drawing two and narrowly losing one of the three matches they played against strong local teams during their short 10-day tour of Sri Lanka.
Results of matches:
Sunday, October 7 at Sugathadasa Stadium Colombo.
Saunders SC 2, Richmond Mavericks 2. Sam Bainbridge and Jonny Sinclair scored for the visitors.
Tuesday, October 9 at Bogambara Stadium Kandy.
Kandy York 0, Richmond Mavericks 0.
Sunday, October 14 at Don Bosco Ground Negombo.
Negombo Youth 1, Richmond Mavericks 0.
Speaking of their tour Owen Amos said: “Everyone in our squad had a fantastic time. The three games were all very close and competitive. If we had not missed a penalty in the final game at Negombo, we would have returned unbeaten.
“We play to a high standard in England and found our Sri Lankan opposition to be extremely talented and hard-working. We were lucky to draw against Saunders, and at times we were out-played by Negombo.

“The games were so enjoyable and the best part of our tour was undoubtedly the welcome we received from every Sri Lankan we met. At Kandy, for example, there were banners and posters around the town, promoting our game, and we shared a meal with the opposition after the game.
“Special thanks must go to PD Sirisena, a former Sri Lanka football captain and coach, who helped organise our fixtures and other events. Our reception in Pettah on our first night will live long in our memories. We hope our club will have links with Sri Lanka for years to come.”

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Nalanda ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams record victories

Nalanda’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ junior cricket teams performed very creditably to record victories in the Astra Cup under 13 cricket tournament.
Nalanda ‘B’ beat President’s College Maharagama on 1st inns at Railway ground.
Nalanda 165-5 dec. (36.5) (Tilina Ratnasena 39 n.o., Malinga de Silva 34 n.o., Madusha Guruge 25 Rasika Wijayanga 24) and 67-1 (9.5) (Rishtha Padmaperuma 28 n.o., Rasika Wijayanga 34 n.o.)
President’s 69 (21.2) (Gavesha Fernando 3/15, Malinga de Silva 2/20, Avishka de Silva 2/11, Ishara Tennekoon 2/2).
Nalanda ‘B’ beat D S Senanayake ‘B’ on 1st inns at DS Senanayake College ground.
Nalanda ‘B’ 206-8 dec.(68) (Rishitha Padmaperuma 63, Tilina Ratnasena 34, Avishka de Silva 31 n.o., Dinujaya Samapth 4/30) and 52-1 at close (Rishitha Padmaperuma 33 n.o.)
DSS ‘B’ 54 (33.2) (Ishara Tennakoon 3/7, Gavesha Fernando 3/18)
Nalanda ‘A’ beat Kalutara Vidyalaya on 1st inns at Kalutara.
Kalutara 101 (40.2) (G R Umayanga 26, Nikila Weerasinghe 4/34, Saranga Premasiri 2/18, Pramod Hettiyawatta 2/23) and 93 (32.4) (UR Umayanga 39, Wasantha Silva 3/19, Pramod Hettiyawatta 3/39).
Nalanda 105-7 dec. (34.4) (Lahiru Jayakody 50, PAS Chathaka 3/32, DGR Shuan 2/22).
Nalanda ‘A’ beat Asoka Vidyalaya ‘A’ on 1st inns at Railway ground.
Nalanda 192-8 (55) (Pramod Hettiyawatta 50, Sachinda Karunaratne 25, Nipun Saminda 2/27, Sanjaya Dilhan 2 for 27) and 60-0 (4.4) (Wasantha Silva 35 n.o.)
Asoka Vidyalaya ‘A’ 68 (39.1) (Nikila Weerasinghe 5/7, Poorna Medivaka 2/3).

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