An 80x80 Rugby International in Kandy?

By Hafiz Marikar
Plans are afoot over here in Kandy to organise an 80x80 International Rugby tournament in the year 2010. It is a good idea, with the most popular Kandy Sports Club organised Singer-Srilankan Airlines International Sevens shown the exit door. This will be a good tournament to replace the ten-year-long International Sevens Tournament.

In Kandy the infrastructure is all in place to conduct an international event along with their past experience in this field. An additional plus is Kandy’s tremendous spectator interest in the sport together with the best rugby environment at Nittawela.

The 80x80 rugby tournament is a brainchild of former Trinity College, Dimbulla A & CC and Up Country ruggerite Dilip Kumar. He introduced this when he was the Chairman of the NSW Rugby Union Board. Dilip sponsored and organised the Second International Ruby 80x80 competition in Bangkok from October 6-14, 2006 with teams like Thai Barbarians, Royal Thai Navy, Lloyd McDermott Development Team, Sri Lankan Defence Forces, Sri Lankan Central Province and New South Wales. The first tournament was held in Phuket in 2005.

80-80 rugby has the potential to appeal to Asians because the rules make it compulsory that players can’t weight more than 80 kgs. This weight restriction will be ideal for the smaller made Asian rugby players.

So, people like Mohan Samarakoon a former SLRFU Committee member who took the teams to Bangkok and is a close associate of Dilip Kumar together with Iswan Omar, Saliya Udugama and Anura Madawella are all out to give the necessary fillip to conduct the 80X80 tournament. They will be ably supported by the Kandy SC, Singer – SriLankan Airlines 7’s organising committee who have promised their fullest backing.


Junior National Squash from October 17

By Sarashi Samarasinghe
The 20th Junior National Squash Championships, conducted by the Sri Lanka Squash Federation (SLSF) and sponsored by Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) manufacturers of Ritzbury chocolates, will be held at the Gymkhana Club Squash Courts in Maitland Crescent, Colombo 7 from October 17 to 24 with Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) as an alternate venue if necessary.

Speaking at the media conference held at the Gymkhana Club boardroom on September 17, Oliver G.Guruge, President SLSF emphasised a few advantages youngsters have by playing squash saying: “Squash is a game that every boy and girl could do well at by balancing their time properly with studies because it is not a game that takes long hours. The sport helps develop a student’s mentality and also provides many opportunities. There are four leading women squash champions who received top university scholarships in the United States of America.”
Having commenced in 1990, in preparation for the Asian Junior Championship which was held in Colombo in January 1991, the Junior National Squash Championships are today considered Sri Lanka’s premier squash tournament of the year.

A national ranking tournament, this year’s championship is expected to produce great squash especially with the participation of top ranked players.

The Squash Federation is also making efforts to invite Rod Symington of Canada one of the two World Squash Federation’s (WSF’s) referee assessors to be present at the 20th Junior Nationals.
The eight-day-long tournament will consist of 18 events which include, boys and girls under 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19, novices’ juvenile boys and girls under 12 and under 15 and also novices’ junior boys and girls under 19. Age cut off date for the Junior Nationals is July 1. The entry fee per event will be Rs.200.
Entries are to be handed over direct to the SLSF Secretariat, Tamil Union C&A Club, (Oval) 301, Lesley Ranagala Mawatha, Colombo 8.


Ravana Challenge Chess Championship

Vladimir Georgiev takes half-point lead

Macedonian Grandmaster, Vladimir Georgiev, beat Indian International Master Dinesh Sharma to take a 0.5 point lead over his nearest rivals.

Georgiev has 6.5 points after 8 rounds while Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Georgia), Elshan Moradiabadi (Iran), Anton Filippov (Uzbekistan), Anuar Ismagambetov (Kazakhstan), Merab Gagunashvili (Georgia) and Vadim Malakhatko (Belgium) had 6 points. Two players are on 5.5 points.

Meanwhile at the end of round seven Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Georgia), Vladimir Georgiev (Macedonia), Elshan Moradiabadi (Iran), Anuar Ismagambetov (Kazakhstan), Merab Gapunashvili (Georgia), Anton Filippov (Uzbekistan) and Vadim Malakhatko (Belgium) were all tied on top of the field with 5.5 points each.

Main Results:

Mchedlishvili drew with Georgiev; Moradiabadi Elshan drew with Malakhatko, Saptarshi Roy lost to Gagunashvili, Ismagambetov beat Niaz Murshed (GM), Tigran Kotanjian lost to Filippov, Alexander Shabalov baet P Maheswaran, Das Syantan drew with Krasimir Rusev (GM), Gavi Siddayya drew with Petr Kostenko.
The tournament organised by the Blue and Gold Chess Club with the support of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka and TIGO as the principal sponsor is being conducted over 10 rounds and has attracted players from 15 countries. The tournament is being held at the Ceylon Continental Hotel.


NOC Sports Medicine Course for Doctors

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) Medical Committee in collaboration with the Department of Sports Development, Ministry of Sports is conducting a Sports Medicine Course for Doctors. This is the first certified course to be conducted by NOC and will be held on Saturday the 26th September 2009, at the NOC Auditorium, Olympic House, Colombo 7. The course will consist of six hours of instruction, and would carry ‘CME credits’ for doctors who wish to follow other formal sports medicine courses in Sri Lanka.

NOC recommends the course for every doctor as it will give them the basic fundamentals in sports medicine needed in medical practice and also will give them a background in sports medicine education for future qualifications in the subject.

The aim of this course is to emphasise on the principles of sports medicine needed for aspiring doctors, to serve the medical needs of athletes in schools, clubs, sports federations and national pools.
Lecturers for this one-day course are doctors from the NOC Medical Committee and Consultants of the NOC Medical Expert Advisory Panel. Among the well recognised professionals the following university lecturers in Sports Medicine will facilitate as the resource persons:

Prof. Rohan Jayasekara, Dr. Lalith Wijayaratne, Dr. Narendra Pinto, Dr. C. Thurairaja, Dr. H. J. Suraweera, Dr. Aranjan Karunanayake, Dr. Asela Ratnayake and Dr. Seevali Jayawickrame.
Registration forms are available at the Olympic House, Colombo 7 and the registration fee will be Rs. 750/- that includes course certificate, lunch and tea.


Tigo gives huge boost to chess

“The Ravana Challenge Chess Championship, currently underway at the Ceylon Continental Hotel, will not only give a huge boost to the development of the game in Sri Lanka, but will also put the country on the international chess map”, Secretary, Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL), Luxman Wijesuriya said.
“We are very fortunate that TIGO came forward in a big way to sponsor this event, from the moment the idea was floated right through the organising process, the TIGO team has supported us” he said.

The tournament, by far the strongest such event ever organised in the island, has attracted 14 International Grandmasters (GMs), a Women Grandmaster (WGM), three International Masters (IMs) and several FIDE Masters (FMs) from 15 countries. While it is typical for events like this to attract top players from the region, the ‘Ravana Challenge’ has GMs from countries as distant as the USA, Germany, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Georgia, as well as players close to home from Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Iran and India.

“The presence of so many strong players and especially titled players such as GMs, IMs and FMs provides an excellent opportunity for local players to test their skills, improve their ratings and also aim for titles. We were also motivated by the fact that our players have to spend enormous sums of money to play in foreign tournaments. This therefore is a far more cost-effective option for Sri Lankan players” said Muditha Hettigama, Secretary of the Blue and Gold Chess Club, organisers of the event on behalf of CFSL, outlining the rationale for holding such a tournament.

“There has been an exponential increase in the number of players in the country. The recently concluded inter-schools tournament attracted over 4000 players from all parts of the country, including the North and East. What is required now is a qualitative leap; hence the importance of carrying out events such as the ‘Ravana Challenge’ commented Hettigama.

“As importantly, we see the need to promote Sri Lanka as a destination for sports-tourism, especially as the country returns to normalcy following the defeat of terrorism. This presents us with endless opportunities to once again make a mark as a country that has so much to offer. We have been greatly supported by the Ministry of Tourism in this endeavor” Heittigama added.

Dumindra Ratnayaka, CEO, TIGO, said “that the company was particularly motivated to sponsor the tournament because of the unique attributes the game of chess possessed, especially in its enormous potential as an educational tool that teaches children to think, to analyze, to prepare and most of all to be innovative”. Ratnayaka continued to state that “chess gives children skills that ideally complement the school curriculum. It is no surprise that most chess players go on to do higher studies and complete PhDs. As a country, we need people who can think out of the box, who are able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a given situation and who have what it takes to develop innovative solutions. TIGO believes that chess is a game that does it all.”
The tournament is being played over 10 rounds.


Hayleys runner-up in Mercantile basketball

 Hayleys Group emerged runners-up at the finals of the Mercantile Sector Basketball Association Semi-League tournament worked out at the Otter Aquatic Club recently.

The team, captained by Treherne Juriansz won its first two matches, defeating teams from Commercial Bank and Expo Lanka Group to reach the finals.


St. Peter’s U-15 Division I Cricket Champs

St. Peter’s College, Colombo recorded a thrilling 4-wicket win against Royal College last Thursday (September 17) at CCC ground to clinch the Under-15 Division I Inter-School Cricket Championship for the third consecutive year. In the picture the winning team along with school officials poses for a photograph after the awards ceremony.

Standing (back row: from left): Charith Perera (Asst Coach), Wasantha Haputhanthri (MIC), Fr. Sameera Cooray (Sports Coordinator), Fr. Travis Gabriel (Rector of St. Peter’s), LH Sunil (Head Coach), Asanga Gunathilleke (Asst Coach), Sanath Chinthaka (Asst MIC) and Duminda Perera (Asst Coach).

Middle row (from left): Sahan, Udesh, Venura, Chemila, Ranga, Jason, Jonathan, Dushan and Chamila
Front row (from left): Kavinda, Namal, Nirmal, Ranitha (Vice Captain), Julian (Captain), Lahiru, Shasheen, Methsusha and Nelaka


An Olympic star from the North?

In a message at the opening ceremony of the Northern Province Sports Festival which began on Friday at the Duraiappah Stadium, Jaffna, Northern Province Governer GA Chandrasiri said that he one day hoped to see an athlete from the Northern Province emerging as an Olympic star. Such a person, the Minister said would have the blessings and assistance from the Northern Province Department of Sports.

Speaking further the Minister said: “This event is seen as the coming together of about 600 sports organisations representing the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim population in the sporting arena. Muslim sportsmen and sportswomen from Mannar, Sinhala sportsmen and women from Vavuniya are getting together and competing with Tamil sportsmen and women after a lapse of about 15 years bringing about peace and harmony.”
The 3-day sports festival will conclude today.