Three kings of the ring

By Dyan Pathiravithana
From the very early days interest in sport was mostly centered on fighting. Kings built huge coliseums with arenas especially meant to stage these fights and they were big, as the entire populace of the city came to watch these events and recreation of the people was woven around them. There were fights among slaves and men had to fight animals but the main event was a fight between two strong Gladiators. These fights normally ended in death. In the event of incapacitation of a combatant, the ruler could save his life by granting him a pardon, but this was very rare.

With the growth of civilisation and taking another’s life became illegal, fighting came under stricter rules. The sport of unarmed fighting with bare hands was permitted but death, though not willfully inflicted, was quite prevalent. Thus the boxing we see today came in to being with protective gloves, head and mouth guards, strict rules and a referee who has the authority to stop a fight if he feels a boxer is in danger of serious injury. The sport, though much safer, is still regarded a dangerous sport.

When you talk about boxing many legends dominated the ring at various times. But three names stand out; Mohamed Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, three legends who held sway in the same era. No other era but the decade of the seventies saw such complete boxers fight in this world. Just imagine living with such greats under one roof, that way Americans are the luckiest lot to savour the great skills and glory of three of their greatest boxers.

First there was Cassius Clay, who changed his name to Mohamed Ali; he won the world title coming into the ring avowing to be the future champ. And he did likewise when he crushed the reigning champion Sonny Liston in six rounds to become the heavyweight champion of the world. He was dethroned in 1967 by the Government of The USA when he defied conscription and refused to go to war in Vietnam saying he saw no reason to go there to kill people he didn’t even know. He was known to fight from outside. The famous words ‘floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee’ described fully his style of fighting. He was best known for his strong jabs which caught most of his opponents unawares and they got floored. He had the strongest jab of all time.

After three years the law realised the man was being unfairly hassled and the Supreme Court ruled that Ali’s licence to box should be restored to enable him to carry on fighting once again. Then, in 1971 came the fight of the century in Madison Square which Ali lost to Joe Frazier. Yet Ali had shown great character to fight on, despite a battering from Frazier, when he fought on till the last bell of the 15th round. The battle had been so fierce that both boxers had to be hospitalised after the fight. Two years later, Joe Frazier, who was undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970, lost his title to the new kid on the block, George Foreman in 1973.
Frazier fought very passionately and may have been the best of all had he adopted a better guard. He was so sure of his strength that he did not depend on guarding himself; he was essentially an in-fighter who took the fight to his opponent. Many who caught his full blows were knocked out. He may have easily been the strongest of the three.

George Foreman was a fighter who was so sure of himself brimming with confidence whenever he entered the ring. He fought from the inside too, but he could surprise his opponents with almost violent knock-outs. When he came back after twenty years to win the heavyweight title back he still had the killer instinct even at the age of 45.

Then Ali won the title back in the most famous boxing fight of all time ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ held in Zaire 1974. Ali was well known for not coming in too close to his opponent and Foreman was fully prepared to deal with that. But Ali, who was determined to win at all cost, fought differently with more of in-fighting (close to the Opponent) and hit Foreman from the start. Foremen was taken by complete surprise and soon realised he had fought the wrong fight. His face was all swollen and he fell in the 8th round giving Ali the much deserved title back.

A story of three kings of the ring, boxing in the same era, will not happen for a long time to come. These are moments worth reliving because then we did not have television to view all what happened in the ring but imagined what was going on by listening to the radio, our only means then of getting world title fight news firsthand. And because these boxers and their fights were very special they will remain close to our hearts always.


Visakha’s swimmers dominate Aquatic Sports

Visakha Vidyala’s senior swimmers with 221 points emerged Women’s National Champions at the 2010 National Aquatic Championships held at Ananda College swimming complex recently. The juniors emerged second runners-up at the Junior National Championships.
Nadeera Jayasekera, top national swimmer for Visakha, clinched two golds, one silver and one bronze to her personal credit while Hashini Mathew won one silver. The Visakhians came out with flying colours winning first places in four relays and a second place in one.

In the junior category, Sewwandi Perera grabbed one gold and two bronze medals. The juniors secured three third places in the relay events.
Visakha’s victorious team comprised Damya Seneviratne, Karieshinie Peiris, Nadeera Jayasekera, Dunya Perera, Hashini Mathew, Cherani De Silva, Chathurika Perera and Charindee Weerasinghe.
Visakha’s aquatic teams also attribute their success to the unstinted support of the Principal Mrs. Sandamalie Aviruppola, Deputy Principal Miss Sujatha Devendra, Teacher-in-Charge of Physical Training Mrs. Muditha Liyanapathirana and the Teacher-in-Charge of Swimming Mrs. Jayani Jayaweera. 

Nishantha De Costa, Head Coach Visakha trained the team with dedication and not only placed the young swimmers in the box seat for the year 2010 but also created history by winning the event. 
The Visakhians performed brilliantly to win the Junior Nationals Diving Championships with Nethmi Liyanage winning two gold medals in the 1m and 3m spring board diving events. Yenushka Senanayake won a bronze in the 1m spring board diving event while Nethmi Liyanage was judged the best diver in the girls’ Junior National category.

The graceful synchronised Swimmers - Malveena Jayawardana, Yoshini Liyanage, Elisha Gomes, Limashi Kosgodage and Aneka Abeywickrama, who were trained by Miss Rovini Illukumbura, carried away the National Synchronised Trophy.

Visakha Diving Team

Standing (from left): Janeethri Kulawardane, Shaleena Peiris, Yenushka Senanayake, Nethmi Liyanage, Thisuri Mendis, Nadishka Senanayake, Thisuri Perera.
Seated (from left): Malveena Jayawardane (Captain), Mrs. Jayani Jayaweera (Teacher-in-Charge), Miss Sujatha Devendra (Deputy Principal), Mrs. Sandamali Aviruppola (Principal), Mrs. Muditha Liyanapathirana (Teacher in Charge Physical Training), Karieshinie Peiris (Vice-Captain)

Visakha Swimming Team

Second Row (standing from left): Shaleena Peiris, Sithumi Karunaratne, Amodini Jayawardane, Dewni Jayasinghe, Thusari Ekanayake, Disuri Kalara, Chathurika Perera, Thisuri Mendis, Gihini Nawela, Nadishka Senanayake, Rashmi Jayasinghe.
First Row (standing from left): Yenushka Senanayake, Sewwandi Perera, Charindee Weerasinghe, Cherani De Silva, Nadeera Jayasekera, Hashini Mathew, Dunya Perera, Janeethri Kulawardane.
Seated (from left): Damya Seneviratne (Captain), Mrs. Jayani Jayaweera (Teacher-in-Charge), Miss Sujatha Devendra (Deputy Principal), Mrs. Sandamali Aviruppola (Principal), Mrs. Muditha Liyanapathirana (Teacher in Charge Physical Training), Nishantha de Costa (Head Coach), Karieshinie Peiris (Vice Captain)

Visakha Synchronised Swimming Team

Standing (from left): Yoshini Liyanage, Aneka Abeywickrama, Malveena Jayawardane (Vice-Captain) and school officials.
Absent: Elisha Gomes (Captain), and Limashi Kosgodage


JR one of Royal’s top sportsmen

By Hafiz Marikar
The 14th death anniversary of the country’s first Executive President J.R. Jayawardene falls tomorrow November 1. He was one of the finest sportsmen to come out of Royal College. As a schoolboy sportsman he had tasted victory when he played in Royal’s victorious team of 1925.  In that year’s Battle of the Blues he was bowled out for a duck, but he held the match-winning catch.

JR led the Royal rugby team in 1924 and was a fine line-out jumper and played in the company of V.C. Batholamuesz, W.L. Siebel, R.F.C. Schrader, E. D. de Silva, E.F. Don, C.D.R. Bastian, K.S. Surendranath, V.E. Jayasundara, C.G.A. Perera, P.C.W. Peiris, N.S. Joseph,  D.W.L. Liversz (Snr), F.S. de Silva and L.D.S. Gunasekara.

This team lost to Trinity at Bogambara by 37 points (2 goals and 9 tries) to 3 points (one try scored by D.W.L. Lieversz (Snr), the first try by a Royalist against Trinity). Trinitians were led by P.A. Buultjens, D.Wyse, D. Perera, C.D. Buultjens, M.Than On, C. Bandaranaike, E. Aluwihare, N. Nagendran, C. Kishan Koli, F. Murray, G. Taylor, G. Bandaranaike, N.H. Perera, Yan Lin and L. Lindsay. This game was refereed by T.A. Dunstan. Interestingly during this period Trinity had a number of overseas students in their rugby team from England, France, Uganda, Burma and China.

JR was also a top-class footballer and played as centre-half, and was the vice captain of the side. He was also a fine boxer and a tennis player. J.R. Jayewardene always gave a big hand to sport. His pet sport was cricket and he gave the game a prominent place in his life and went on to become one of the most honoured Presidents of the Cricket Board.


Josephian juniors unbeaten

St Joseph’s Colombo are unbeaten so far in the under-13 Division A tournament having won one match outright, one on first innings and two ending in no decisions.

  • vs Ananda Sastralaya – no decision
    St Joseph’s 205-5 dec (40) (Dineth Madurawela 45, Kevin Cortling 50, Jehan Daniel 51 n.o., Pathum Boteju 3/48)
    Ananda Sastralaya 41-2 (21)
  • vs Gurukula College – no decision
    Gurukula 83-3 (30) (rain).
  • vs Basilica College – won by 9 wickets.
    Basilica 48 (28) (Clevin Perera 3/14, Tehan Seneviratne 2/11, Akila Perera 2/6) and 117 (29.3) (Avishkaa Dananjaya 44, Sudesh Niroshan 26 n.o., Clevin Perera 2/26, Akila Perera 2/19, Nipun Sumanasinghe 4/28)
    St Joseph’s 157-7 dec. (27) (Dineth Madurawela 25, Revan Kelly 31, Tehan Seneviratne 40 n.o., Thashan Perera 29 n.o., Sudesh Niroshan 2/47, Ruchira Oshan 2/39) and 11-1 (1.1).
  • vs Sri Jayawardenapura MV, Kotte – won on 1st inns
    St. Joseph’s 239-4 dec. (39) (Kevin Cortling 100 n.o., Nipun Sumanasinghe 58, Clevin Perera 30 n.o.)
    Sri Jayawardenepura 88 (24.4) (Kasun Kalpana 34, Tehan Seneviratne 3/21, Akila Perera 4/10, Havin Perera 2/19) and 130-9 (29) (Hasitha Malshan 23, M Shammi 24, Havin Perera 4/25, Akila Perera 2/24, Revan Kelly 2/14)


Awareness programme for Premier Club coaches

An awareness programme was conducted for tier A and B Premier Club cricket coaches by the National Coaching Department of SLC prior to the forthcoming domestic cricket season which is scheduled to commence on 1st December 2010. The workshop was of significant importance to all club coaches present and the coaching department due to the fact that all these coaches at different levels are responsible for coaching and grooming current national players and club cricketers who may have the potential to reach the national level in the future.
Presentations were made by ‘Jerome Jayaratne’ (Head of Coaching), Romesh Kaluwitharana (A’ Team Coach), Piyal Wijetunga (National Spin Bowling Coach), Anusha Samaranayake and Prabath Nissanka (Fast Bowling Coaches) and Mario Villavarayen (Strength and Conditioning Coach). The programme was concluded with an outdoor coaching session in fielding.


Chaturanga ton helps Shastrananda MV outplay STC

A chanceless 122 by Mahesh Chaturanga saw Shastrananda MV Kawdana amass a massive total of 301 runs for five wickets in 65 overs in the Little 13 Ran Kekulu Trophy Division 3 Cricket Tournament match played against S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia ‘C’ team at the STC grounds on October 21.
Shastrananda MV 301 for 5 dec. (65) (Mahesh Chaturanga 122, Manoj Udhara 48, Tharindu Anuruddha 28, Nipuna Lakruwan 27n.o., Hasitha Lakmal 18, Ravindu Sanjeewa 17, AHM Alwis 3-48, RP Nallaperuma 2-57).
S. Thomas’ 167 for 9 (OS Mendis 51, IS Perera 51, Hasitha Lakmal 3-63, Imesh Madusanka 2-13, Nuwan Chamara 2-76).


Nico de Silva heads Old Trinitians SC

Nico de Silva, the former Trinity College fast-breaking third-row-forward was elected as the President of the Old Trinitians Sports Club at their annual general meeting held recently.
Nico, as he is known among his friends, played for Trinity in 1961 under Jayantha Jayawardene and in 1962 under Noel Brohier. Nico, who is now a citizen of Australia, has come back and he is all out to give his club the best.
The Principal of Trinity College Brig. Udaya Ariyaratne and OBA President Brig. Japana Jayawardene are the Patrons. The Trustees are Nahil Wijesuriya, the man who built the club house and Mohan Samarakoon a top ruggerite during whose presidency this club received the much needed facelift. It was Mohan and former committee member Iswan Omar who were the two live wires who put the club in the correct path. The other trustee is Roger Abeyratne a former president, the present club house is built on the land where he lived during his school days.
The two vice-presidents are two former presidents Bimal Fernando and Michael Richardson both played for the school and several clubs. Kavinda Ellepolla is the secretary with Azwer Mohideen as the new treasurer. Kumar Dias de Singhe is sports secretary, Mutukumaran bar secretary and Chandika Perera social secretary. The new committee members are: NA de Silva, S Mendis, Shane de Silva, Umar Kanth, Amal Fernando and Chula Ratwatte. (Mariks)


World Masters Tournament postponed

BRIDGETOWN: Out of respect for the passing of Prime Minister, the Honourable David Thompson, the CLOBI Cup World Masters Tournament has been postponed. The event is now expected to be held from November 5 to 9, 2010. 
Organised by the Cricket Legends of Barbados in conjunction with the Barbados Tourism Authority and other key partners, the CLOBI Cup tournament was scheduled for October 30 and 31, November 3 and 5, at Kensington Oval. However, with the late Prime Minister’s funeral planned for November 3 at the Oval, it was not possible to continue with the tournament as scheduled.
 “We are deeply grieved that Prime Minister David Thompson has died,” said Ian Bradshaw, Chairman of the Cricket Legends of Barbados. “He was an avid cricket fan and a strong supporter of the Cricket Legends, and out of respect we have decided to postpone the tournament.”
 Now in its second year, the tournament has attracted four of the world’s top cricketing nations – defending champions England, Sri Lanka, India and the West Indies – to compete for the winner’s prize of US$50,000 (BDS$100,000) and the coveted CLOBI Cup.
 “Due to the magnitude and intense planning of this tournament, it takes a coordinated effort to postpone it and we are ever thankful to our partners and sponsors in working with us in helping to effect the changes,” said Adrian Griffith, the project manager of CLOBI Cup.
 “A number of players were scheduled to arrive in Barbados tomorrow (October 26), with others arriving on Wednesday and Thursday,” Griffith stated. “In fact, a few of them have already arrived on the island but we have been able to quickly reschedule the majority of flights.”  The Cricket Legends of Barbados thank all Barbadians for their continued support and look forward to hosting them from November 5. All tickets already purchased for the tournament will be honoured.


Lanka provincial coach for NCP

By V. Harishchandra 

Former Sri Lanka wicket-keeper/batsman Lanka de Silva has been appointed coach for North Central Province with effect from October 15. He assumed duties at the Welagedera Stadium, Kurunegala last Friday.
Lanka, who is a Level II qualified coach, took up to coaching only in 2008. He guided Tamil Union to the Premier Limited-over championship in 2009 He coached them for two years. Lanka was then appointed as assistant coach of Wayamba Elevens in 2008-09 and the team went on to win the Inter-provincial Twenty20 championship. Then he was appointed as head coach of Wayamba this year and they toured South Africa for the Champions T20 League.
A former St Anne’s College cricketer Lanka made his first-class debut for Kurunegala Youth CC in 1991/92. Later he turned out for BRC, CCC and Tamil Union in the Premier championship accumulating 10,555 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 41.07 with a highest of 213 for CCC against SSC in 1999/2000. He played 3 Tests for Sri Lanka against India in 1997/98 and also appeared in 11 One-day Internationals for his country. Former provincial coach Ajith Ekanayake has been appointed the provincial manager for the North Central Province with effect from 15th of this month.


TRR Rajan memorial cricket tourney

Jaffna Rotaract Club champs

Rotaract Clubs of Jaffna and Mid-Town Jaffna emerged as winners and runners-up respectively and Rotary Clubs of Wariyapola and Kalutara were winners and runners-up respectively in the 8th TRR Rajan memorial cricket tournament played at the Nittawela grounds recently.
The 52 teams in the competition participated in two groups of 26 teams each in the Rotaract Club group and the Rotary Club group with some of the top cricketers seen in action.
The event was sponsored by ‘Sun Match’ and a big hand should go to Ayesha Wijeratne and the rest of the organising committee for a good job done well. (Mariks)


Cambrian Cricket Wing Sixes

The De Soysa Stadium in Moratuwa will be set ablaze on November 6 and 7 when 24 of Sri Lanka’s top premier club teams vie in the 5th successive Cambrian Cricket Wing Sixes. The tournament which is conducted under the patronage of Sri Lanka Cricket will feature top class cricketers of the country in action in the shortest version of the game. Twenty one premier clubs and three Sara division teams have already confirmed their participation which will be an ideal fete for cricket lovers.
The defending champions of the championship Bloomfield, SSC, Moors SC and Singha SC have gained byes in the top half where Old Cambrians, Army SC, Police SC, Moratuwa SC, NCC, CCC, Lankans CC and Saracens are drawn. In the bottom half previous runners-up BRC along with Colts, Tamil Union and Navy SC will receive byes in the first round. The other teams are Antonians SC, Chilaw Marians, Air Force SC, Seeduwa/Raddoluwa, Sebestianites, Panadura SC, Ragama CC and Badureliya SC.
The organisers of the annual sixes championship, Cambrian Cricket Wing (CCW) will coincidently celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. The CCW was formed in 2000 by some of the renowned past cricketers of Prince of Wales’ College together with a group of enthusiastic cricket lovers of Moratuwa with the sole motive of assisting its alma mater’s cricket. [MNA]