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        Nadeeka celebrates Olympic entry with a Gold         

By Dhammika Ratnaweera
Javelin throw champion Nadeeka Lakmali once again brought honour to Sri Lanka at the Thailand Open Track and Field Championship last Monday. She won the women’s javelin throw gold medal clearing 54.11m. Nadeeka already qualified to compete at the Beijing Olympics in August. She is the first Sri Lankan to take part at the Olympics in the field events.

Susanthika Jayasinghe is the one and only women’s Olympic medal winner for Sri Lanka. Susanthika and Nadeeka Lakmali are the only two athletes to get the rare opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the Olympics this time.

Nadeeka at an interview with The Nation said: “Getting a chance to take part at the Olympics is not an easy task and I had to really work hard to get that golden opportunity. I had to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard of 56m and I reached this mark at the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Athletic Meet held at the Sugathadasa Stadium last year. At that meet I established a new National record of 58.44 m. That was a great achievement and the Army promoted me as a corporal.”

The 26 year old athlete Nadeeka remembering her first days in the sport at Kahaduwa MV, Elpitiya said: “From the beginning I was very keen on the javelin throw and my first coach at school was Manjula Mohotti. She always encouraged me to do this event. In 1995 I was the under 15 champion of this event at the Junior National Meet held in Galle and that was the first win of my career. After this victory I worked hard for success. I also won the event at the National Sports Festival in 1999. At that time Brigadier Palitha Fernando appreciated my abilities and asked me to join the Army to continue with my athletic career. I think that was the turning point of my career. Brig Palitha Fernando now promoted as Major-General is the present Athletic Association President and he is the man who encouraged me to come to this level.”

Nadeeka won her first international medal at the 10th South Asian Games held in Sri Lanka in 2006. At that time there was strong competition between Nadeeka and Anne Maheshi de Silva but Anne was favourite to win the gold medal. However Nadeeka created an upset by winning the gold medal at the SAG clearing a distance 50.61m.

This gold medal helped to boost Nadeeka’s confidence and she was keen to take part in international meets. She also expressed her appreciation for her coaches. “SMG Bandara was my first coach in Colombo. However my present coach AJ Rodrigo always backed me to achieve success. Regular practice also contributed a lot. Presently I stay with my sister at Padukka and practise at the Pannipitiya Dharmapala Vidyalaya grounds. Anyway I come to the Sugathadasa Stadium once a week and my coach Rodrigo always assists me with valuable advice.”

Nadeeka finally added, “International exposure is very important for me and thanks to Athletics chief Palitha Fernando I got a chance to take part at the Thailand meet. I also won the Asian Athletic Championship bronze medal in Jakartha in 2007 and the gold medal in South Asian Athletic Championships in Cochin, India clearing 51.70m. However those were not my personal best and I hope to clear a better distance.

“Unfortunately I have not had mush international experience. Today I don’t get much competition at local level. Earlier officials promised to give me further training abroad in Cuba but nothing happened to date. Susanthika is already in USA for higher training. But I am here with my local coach. Some athletes are already receiving sponsorships to focus on the 2011 Olympics.

“Anyway, I am very thankful to the Sports Ministry who give me a monthly allowance for my training. I am also very grateful to the Sri Lanka

Army who give me all my other requirements and even the pair of spikes I use. So I take this opportunity to thank the Army Commander, the Sports Ministry, my coaches and other officials for the valuable support to me.”

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Trinity determined to maintain their status

  Trinity College 1st XV Rugby Pool                                                                                                                                     

Hafiz Marikar, Kandy Correspondent
Trinity College, Kandy is back in the “A” division, after a couple of years, in search of their past glory and their talented side hope to give a good display in the tournament.

The sport was introduced to Trinity College in 1906 and the school has produced top teams and players. Trinity has also produced the largest number of players who have sported the Sri Lanka jersey.

Those who have represented Sri Lanka are far too numerous to mention and some of the country’s finest ruggerites came from this school. Some who brought honour and fame to their alma mater with their achievements are Bertie Dias, Senarath Pilapitiya, Kavan Rambukwella, Malcom Wright, Robert Sourjah, Ken de Joedt, Mike de Alwis, Nimal Maralande, Sari de Sylva, Dr. Tony de Sylva, Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Y.C. Chang, Gamini Fernando, Jayantissa Ratwatte, Mohan Sahayam, Noel Brohier, Ajith Abeyratne, Iswan Omar, Mohan Samarakoon, Gogi Thilakartne, Gamini and Saliya Udugama, J.P.U.M. Jayawardene, Mohan Balasuriya, Sam Palitha Samarasekara, Clifford Elhart, Glen Vanlangenberg, Shafi Jainudeen, Irwin Howie, Mohan Samarakoon, Anura Madawella, Lanil Tennakoon, Tikiri Marambe, D.Y.L. Pakstun,, Lakshman Kadiragamar, Dharmasiri Madugalle, L.L. Vitharana, D.N. Franke, Uvais Odayar, Ikram Odayar, M.T.M Zarook, Jeffery Yu, Clifford Elhart, Ayas Deen, Ashan Ratwatte, C.Y. Ching , Mahinda Ratwatte, Y.S. Ping, Hanzil Samad, Harindra Gunasekara, Sen U Swan, Mark Sundaralingam, Rohan Abeyakoon, Rohan Sourjah, Shah Dole, Imthi Marikar, Ashan Ratwatte, Suranga Amarasinghe, Rangika Ranasinghe, Pradeep Basnayake, Harris Omar, Duminda de Silva, Sean Wijesinghe, Dilip Selvam.

So this time the Trinity rugby side is certain to play a dominant role with the support of their ten senior players, and a talented squad determined to get back into recognition.

The 2008 side is led by Milinda Gunawardene, a fine third-row-forward. This time the strength is in their third row with Milinda as leader who should get the best out of the rest and maintain their status. If he can lead the side from the front like captains who did in the early days, then the Trinitians will be out of problems.

Trinitians are blessed with one coloursman Milinda Gunawardane, and nine last year jersey winners P. Gamage, Idris Omar, A Hameed, Rushni Marzook, Harindu Dissanayake, Viswajith Wijesinghe, L.U.P. Samarasekara, A Bulunewewa, Ishrath Sinhalakshana,

Once again they are coached by one of the most experienced guys in the game, Anil Jayasinghe with Pradeep Basnayake as his assistant. Anil a product of Vidyartha College is with years of experience, having played for his school, Kandy SC and the Up Country side, captaining all three teams, and earning selection to the National pool. Later he became a top class referee and is now a qualified coach. Before taking over Trinity he was the coach of Vidyartha and Dharmaraja Colleges. Today he can be rated as one of the finest coaches in the school rugby scene. He was a crack full back during his days. This time he will be assisted by Pradeep Basnayake former Trinity College, Combined schools, Kandy SC and Sri Lanka forward, who led the Kandy SC and Sri Lanka side. Last year he was the under 17 coach and this time he is with the seniors. These two are all out to mould the Trinitians into a formidable outfit with their vast knowledge and experience.

Trinity’s ambition, after coming back to the “A” division after a couple of years is to win the Bradby – the richest prize in school ruby and to be unbeaten and play good quality rugby.

THE TRINITY COLLEGE POOL:

PROPS: - Irshath Sinhalakshana, A Richardson, B.Dhushathan, C.B. Ratnayake, C. Wijesinghe, M.Riyaz, P. Karunaratne, T.Ramanayake. P.Arulprakash,

HOOKER:- M.Ramzeen,
SECOND ROWS: - D. Aluwihare, H. Dassanayake, I. Weerasuriya, M. Ishan, M.Nirojan, R. Balasuriya. S. Kithilan, V. Warapitiya, K. Srinarth, R. Widanagamage.
FLANKERS:- P. Gamage, K. Amrstrong, Idris. Omar, M.Umanadan and skipper M. Gunawardene.
NO. 8:-, S. Armstrong, D, Dissanayake, S. Jayaratne,
SCRUM-HALF: - A. Hameed, H. Gunasekara, L. Jayasinghe, R. Senaviratne.
FLY-HALF: A. Yatawara, A.Fahad, L. Samarasekara, S. Alwis.
CENTRES: J. Pathirana, S. Sameem, V. Wijesinghe,
WINGERS: A. Hettiarchchi, D. Rupasinghe, M.Luxman,
FULL BACK: A. Bulunawewa, M. Mushatq, S. Ahamed, T.Athukorale.
Fixtures: They opened the season against Isipathana on Friday and the rest of the fixtures are as follows, May 3 vs Vidyartha at Nittawela, May 17 vs S. Thomas’ at Pallekelle, May 24 vs St. Anthony’s at Nittawella, May 31 vs St. Peters at Pallekelle, June 6 vs Dharmaraja at Pallekelle, June 14 first leg of the Bradby in Colombo, June 21 vs Kingswood at Bogambara, July 5 second leg of the Bradby at Bogambara.

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MCG - worst cricket pitch in Australia

MELBOURNE: Cricket Victoria has declared the cricket pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the worst in Australia.
The state’s governing body for cricket, which is in the midst of negotiations that could have international games moved from the game’s traditional home, has also accused the Melbourne Cricket Club of a “born-to-rule mentality”.

Cricket Victoria chairman Geoff Tamblyn has turned up the pressure on the famous ground’s landlord, whose agreement to host international cricket expires after the coming summer.

He suggested that the Bushrangers - who do not have a representative in the current Test squad -- struggle to produce Australian players because they play on “the worst wicket in the country”.

MCG pitches last season were criticised by Australian captain Ricky Ponting and state skippers.
After the resignation of curator Richard Winter, the MCC hired Cam Hodgkins - credited with reviving Bellerive Oval - to review pitch preparation with arenas manager Tony Ware.

“(David) Hussey, he’s about the only one that has really mastered the wickets there. All the captains have been highly critical. The captain of Australia was so critical, it was embarrassing,” The Age quoted Tamblyn, as saying.

MCC chief executive Stephen Gough last night said the grass issues behind the pitch problems had been addressed.
The Age has revealed that international games could be put to tender if Cricket Victoria could not strike a more favourable commercial deal with the MCC.

Telstra Dome boss Ian Collins has voiced a desire to host “all or some” matches, raising the possibility of a split between Test and limited-overs cricket. – [ANI]

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Ronaldo wins writers’ award again

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the Football Writers’ Association footballer of the year for the second consecutive year.

The Portugal winger becomes only the second player - after Thierry Henry in 2004 - to retain the title.
And it follows the 23-year-old’s PFA player of the year award on Sunday, which he also claimed last season.
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and Portsmouth keeper David James finished second and third respectively.
Ronaldo’s most recent award consolidates his position as the most highly-rated player in the English game.

“To score 38 goals in a season - so far - is an astonishing feat for a winger,” said FWA chairman Paul Hetherington.
“He did not exactly get 100 percent of the vote, but from the moment voting started he moved to the front and stayed there.
“Given his age, he has the potential and ability to dominate this award for years in an unprecedented way.” Ronaldo has been in inspirational form for United, who are on course for a Premier League and Champions League double, with only Chelsea challenging them on both fronts.

United are top of the league table from the Blues on goal difference with two matches remaining.
And the sides will also meet in the Champions League final in Moscow on 21 May.
Blackpool winger Stanley Matthews won the first Footballer of the Year award in 1948. [BBC]

PREVIOUS PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
C Ronaldo (Man Utd) - 2007
Thierry Henry (Arsenal) - 2006
Frank Lampard (Chelsea) - 2005
Thierry Henry (Arsenal) - 2004
Thierry Henry (Arsenal) - 2003
Robert Pires (Arsenal) - 2002
T Sheringham (Man Utd) - 2001
Roy Keane (Man Utd) - 2000

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Manchester United top rich list

Manchester United is the most valuable football club in the world, according to Forbes magazine.
The Champions League finalists, who came second in a list compiled by accountants Deloitte in February, topped the table ahead of Real Madrid.

Forbes value United at £905m ($1,800m) and Real at £646m ($1,285m), with Arsenal at £603m ($1,200m) in third.
Liverpool is up to fourth from 11th in the 25-team list, while Celtic are the only Scottish team, in 20th place.

The other British representatives in the 25-team list are Chelsea in eighth, fellow Londoners Tottenham in 12th and 16th-placed Newcastle, while Everton, West Ham, Manchester City and Aston Villa occupy places 21-24.
Meanwhile, David Beckham has replaced Ronaldinho as the world’s highest-paid footballer after joining the Los Angeles Galaxy, earning £25m per year ($48.9m).

The Brazilian had to be content with second place while his Barcelona team-mate Thierry Henry earned £12.5m in salary and sponsorship deals this season. [BBC]

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