Open tennis Men’s final today
Final is frontier for
MELBOURNE, (AFP) - Andy Murray hopes to end
Britain’s 75-year Grand Slam drought against Novak
Djokovic at the Australian Open Sunday, the first
major final without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer
for three years.
Murray is aiming to become the first British man to
win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936, while
Serbian Djokovic is favourite to claim his second
The final will be only the second in 23 majors where
both the sport’s pre-eminent duo, Nadal and Federer,
are missing, prompting talk of a changing of the
Third seed Djokovic and world number five Murray
are close friends from their junior playing days and
it will be their first meeting at a Grand Slam,
athough the Serb leads 4-3 in their matches.
Djokovic goes in as favourite after his convincing
straight-sets win over Federer, repeating his
performance against the 16-time Grand Slam champion
on the way to winning the 2008 Australian Open
Murray prevailed after a punishing four-set win over
seventh-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer in their 3hr
46min semi-final on Friday, limiting his recovery
time for Sunday’s final. Djokovic played Federer on
Scotland’s Murray will also be seeking redemption
for his bitter defeat in straight sets to Federer in
last year’s Australian final.
In 2010, Murray choked back tears as he
apologised to British fans after he was unable to
serve out the third set while leading Federer 5-3,
and then squandered five set points in an agonising
tie-break to bomb out in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4,
“It was tough for me, but something that I think
overall has made me a better player, stronger
mentally,” Murray said.
“They’re all experiences that you need to deal
with playing at the highest level of sport. You lose
some tough matches and I hope that it will help me
“But I’m sure I’ll deal with everything better than
I have done in the past.”
The big match with Djokovic offers Murray the chance
to turn a new page in what could become one of the
game’s enduring future rivalries.
“We’ve always been like (ranked) three and four
the last few years, we’ve always been on different
halves of the draw in every tournament we’ve
played,” he said.
“We haven’t come up against each other I think for
over two years now, but we practice a lot together,
we’re good friends and I hope it’s the start of us
playing each other in big matches.”
While Murray has had two demanding matches
against Alexandr Dolgopolov and Ferrer to get to the
final, Djokovic has looked in terrific touch,
dropping just one set.
Djokovic’s confidence stems from leading Serbia to
their first Davis Cup triumph against France in
Belgrade last month.
“I knew that these two weeks are the most important,
this period of the year,” he said.
grant to SLRFU
Time to take rugby to
north and East
By M. Farook
The long-awaited approval of the grant from the
International Rugby Board (IRB) to promote rugby
football in the country has been given and the funds
should be in the SLRFU coffers shortly.
Without funds rugby languished to a great extent in
seven provinces. These funds had not been received
by the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) since
2008 due to the interim committees being in control
of the game in the island. Now that SLRFU is an
elected body with no less a person than the Chief of
Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Roshan
Goonetilleke at the helm of affairs, all rugby fans
can breathe a lot easier.
With IRB funds and a good set of officials at the
helm, including Vice President Lasith Gunaratne, it
is hoped that rugby will prosper once again and will
also spread its wings to the liberated north and
east as well.
Earlier on, under stalwarts YC Chang, a former Sri
Lanka skipper and one of the toughest prop forwards,
and Arjun Dharmadasa a rugby doyen of Kelani Valley,
the sport blossomed in Sabaragamuwa and gradually
spread to the Southern, Central, North Central and
Western Provinces. A lot of hard work was put in by
representatives of the SLRFU with the funds coming
in from the IRB.
This sudden resurgence in rugby bore fruit almost
immediately with a host of rugby players emerging
from the Sabaragamuwa Province who went on to don
the national jersey.
Several women rugby players too emerged during this
period. This resulted in the Sri Lanka women’s team
winning the Bowl at the Asian Women’s Championship
in Singapore (2005).
Suddenly this growth in the sport was strangled with
the withdrawal of IRB funding. Development plans
came to a grinding halt. Those students who learnt
the game during this period suddenly found
themselves at a loose end. Officials and
YC Chang and his officials’ hard work went down
the drain. Rugby was taught at grassroots level and
a lot of hard work was involved. Masters and
masters-in-charge of rugby in schools were put
through a crash course in rugby as a means of
promoting the game in the remote areas.
Regarding the promotion of rugby the former Manager
Rugby Development Committee, Sarath Ranaweera said
that most number of participants at the training
programmes were from the south, a province that
suffered greatly from the Tsunami. They came in
great numbers to participate. A successful camp was
held at the St. Aloysius’ Grounds, Galle in 2006.
The results are now bearing fruit with St. Aloysius
College Galle doing well in the sport.
Kumar Abeywardena, the former Trinity and
Havelocks player and President of the Ruhunu Rugby
Football Union, has been another who had put in all
efforts to uplift the standard of rugby in the
Rugby in the Central Province, Sabaragamuwa and Uva
too thrived and one hopes that the rugby development
work in the provinces is resurrected and also
extended to the Northern and Eastern provinces
Sugathapala from Matale won the competition for
picking the correct Sri Lanka squad for the
forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 conducted by
our sister Sinhala publication ‘Rivira’. The awards
ceremony took place at the Rivira Media Corporation
last Wednesday (January 26) with Sri Lanka
cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera
winners, Lankan cricketers and Rivira officials
(from left): Sunil Lakshmanasinghe (CEO, Rivira
Media Corporation), Thilan Samaraweera, Achira
Nimanka Wijesinghe (third place winner), Lahiru
Iroshan Samaraweera (second place winner), Danushka
Sugathapala (winner), Mahela Jayawardene and Sisira
Paranathanthri (Editor in Chief, Rivira) pose for a
photograph after the awards ceremony
By M Minhaz in Kandy
Trinity won the Cup championship when they beat
Kingswood by 28 points (4 goals) to nil in the
Central Province Schools Under-18 12-a-side rugby
tournament at Pallekele yesterday. At half time
Trinity led 14-0.
In the Cup semi-final Kingswood beat St. Anthony’s
by 40 points (5 goals and 1 try) to nil. In the
second semi-final Trinity beat St. Sylvester’s by 17
points (1 goal and 2 tries) to nil. St. Anthony’s
and St. Sylvester’s became joint Plate champions
when the plate final ended in a scoreless draw.
Maliyadeva Kurunegala won the Bowl championship by
defeating Sarasavi Uyana MV Peradeniya by 28 points
(4 goals) to nil after leading 14-0 at the breather.
Aruna Rankotge refereed the Cup final while YMS
Ratnayake officiated the Plate final. The tournament
was originally scheduled to be held at the Bogambara
Stadium but had to be shifted to Pallekele at the
eleventh hour as the organisers found the ground
conditions to be unsuitable. The tournament was
organised by the Central Province Schools Rugby
|CPRFU AGM on February 3
|Central Province Rugby Football Union (CPRFU),
Annual General Meeting is fixed for February 3rd at
5 pm at the Old Trinitians Sports Club.
Central Province rugby football is under the
leadership of Mohan Samarakoon who took over from
veteran Maurice Perera. Mohan a master planner and
hard worker, along with his able committee, did his
best to promote the game.
Mohan and his committee with the help of the SLRFU
organised a superb rugby tournament at Nittawela
grounds in 2010. He has also planned for another
tournament for clubs and schools. (Mariks)
bat from Cricket Shop
Chairman –Cricket Shop (Pvt) Ltd presenting a
cricket bat to Yasoda Lanka, Richmond College
cricketer who scored a double century for Sri Lanka
against England in the recently concluded second
youth test match at the P. Sara Oval. Mohamed is an
old boy of Richmond College, Galle and was the
former secretary and treasurer of Sri Lanka Cricket.