The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 12

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Page 12 Sunday, October 20, 2013
9, 2012
The Nation
Harsha Amarasinghe
The Ministry of Sports closed the
Sugathadasa stadium for a month
last week to repair the damage to
the synthetic track. The stadium
was previously repaired in 2012
just before the 15th Asian Junior
Athletic Championship at a cost
of Rs. 113 million, but strangely, a
lot of complaints were made about
the track during the recently con-
cluded All Island School’s Games
with some athletes struggling to
perform properly.
However, according to the agree-
ment signed by the Ministry of
sports with the Sri Lankan agent
of a German company which reno-
vated the stadium in 2012, the par-
ticular constructing company has
to fix the damages at no cost. Since
this company’s construction didn’t
even last for two years.
“Well, there are few things that I
have to reveal. Whenwe asked them
to repair the synthetic track in 2012
they actually had very little time
and the weather condition then
too didn’t help. So it did require
sometime, but our problem was
that we needed the construction
to be completed soon to hold the
15th Asian Junior Athletic Cham-
pionship, therefore we had to rush
them to finish the job,” the Sports
Ministry’s media secretary, Harsha
Abeykoon told
The Nation.
“Since they had to complete the
constructions quickly, the quality
of work of course was on the lower
side. But the important fact is we
don’t have to pay a single rupee for
the repairs because they had given
us a guarantee for five years,” he
added.
The estimated amount for the
repair of the synthetic track in
2012 was around Rs. 260m and this
company, the lowest bidder, was
able to seal the contract for Rs.
113m.
“Yes, they came up with the low-
est bid but, they are a world-class
company. We should also look at
how it had benefited the country.
Remember this was estimated for
Rs. 260m and through this we were
able to save Rs. 147m. On the other
hand, we believe in them to do a
much better job this time around
and once the construction is done
the stadium would be opened,” he
said answering questions raised
by
The Nation
on why this partic-
ular company was chosen.
“This is the off season and not
a single national level competi-
tion is due to be held in this pe-
riod that’s why we have selected
to repair the track now. So I don’t
think this has any serious nega-
tive impact on Sri Lanka athlet-
ics. But athletes of course won’t
be able to practice there for a
month. But then again, if it has to
be repaired, it has to be repaired
someday,” Abeykoon said, when
asked whether closing the stadium
has affected the country’s athletic
in any way.
Sugathadasa Stadium has been
the only international athletic
stadium in Sri Lanka where the
events such as Asian Track and
Field Championship (2002), Asian
Grand Prix (2005), SAARC (2006)
and the 15th Asian Junior Athletic
Championship (2012) were held.
The construction of this sta-
dium was initiated and completed
by a former Mayor of Colombo,
VA Sugathadasa in 1963; however,
it was refurbished and officially
re-launched as an international
athletics stadium in 1983 by late
President R. Premadasa.
“Sugathadasa Stadium is argu-
ably the most important of all sta-
diums in Sri Lanka and I hope the
construction would be finished in
a month or so,” the current Chair-
man of the stadium, Brigadier
Priyantha Samaratunga told
The
Nation.
Sugathadasa Stadium track
renovations at no cost
The Sugathadasa Stadium athletics track
Dyan Pathiravithana
We saw reports appearing in
newspapers recently about Sri
Lankan coaches and payments
received by them for services
rendered in their special fields.
We have heard about politicians
being asked to declare their as-
sets and the action of publicis-
ing cricket coaches’ earnings
maybe in keeping abreast with
events. Although nothing ap-
peared in print regarding assets
of politicians we are at a loss
to understand why the remu-
neration of cricket coaches was
made public?
We, who are of the opinion
that local coaches should get
more involved in the coaching of
Sri Lankan cricket, are worried
about this sudden appearance
of the salary particulars of lo-
cal coaches in the media. Could
this result in a dashing of hopes
of locals aspiring to get into
the coaching profession? Or, is
this aimed at raising eyebrows
of the public, who would get
alarmed at seeing the number
of zeroes behind the starting
figure. The impact would have
been much less if the amounts
had been given in USD instead
of SLR because the number of
zeroes would have been fewer.
If this was an act malicious-
ly designed to showcase local
coaches as not worthy of such
high remuneration and recog-
nition, it should not be taken
seriously. If you take the case
of Marvan Atapattu, who was
known internationally as the
most technically correct bats-
man in the world then, he is
worth much more than he is
paid here compared to what he
has achieved. Also the uncer-
tain and haphazard fashion of
selectingnational cricket coach-
es can be seen in the long delay
of Chaminda Vaas’ selection to
coach Sri Lanka. One wonders
whether Vass would have been
the choice by SLC, if the New
Zealanders had not picked him
as their bowling coach during
their tour of Sri Lanka.
Although locals have been
engaged in smaller roles in
coaching the national play-
ers, such as assisting the head
coach with batting, fielding and
bowling, we were slow to iden-
tify their true capabilities. The
fact that plays the major part
in this is the exposure coming
from that past. Especially in the
school game where through his-
tory we have seen and had good
coaches, who passed down their
skills to players.
And if you take coaching
appointments in other nations
they look to people with win-
ning capabilities and knowl-
edge, rather than the skills they
had when playing the game.
Take the instance where Cricket
Australia, when their game was
at a low ebb, entrusted coach
Buchanan, a man with no ex-
perience of playing first class
cricket, to handle the challenge
of bringing Aussie cricket out
of the slump. He fulfilled their
expectations sparing Cricket
Australia the ignominy of being
compared to ‘fools rushing in
where angles fear to tread,’ if he
had failed.
Sri Lanka Cricket wouldn’t
dare to take such a decision
due to the lack of the necessary
cricketing acumen to make such
a choice. Also such decisions
are not for the faint-hearted or
the fool-hardy - we hope SLC
isn’t both. The humiliation and
rejection of one of the best
Lankan cricket coaches Chan-
dika Haturusinha, is a classic
example of fool-hardiness on
the part of our cricket authori-
ties. Our loss is Australia’s gain
– courtesy former SLC commit-
tee under D.S. De Silva.
But the hard fact remains, we
have to begin trusting the local
coaches, or these people who
have come up the ladder will
be coaching abroad. There has
to be ample material now good
enough to be given the chance
of coaching at top level. With
some experience at interna-
tional level these coaches have
the chance to improve, and
with that in mind we have got
to trust them to do the job. Be-
cause, with the extent of talent
coming up we are bound to be
rich in the coaching depart-
ment and that is going to help
local cricket ultimately.
Cricket is in the blood of
many Sri Lankans and it is time
that we began looking at the op-
portunities in other countries
for not only supplying cricket
coaches but umpires, curators,
masseurs and physical trainers.
These are necessarily areas to be
thought of seriously, as we and
other countries playing cricket
need such qualified people to be
in the game now that it is played
at so many levels internation-
ally by men as well as women.
This is an area to be taken seri-
ously as being one with golden
job opportunities available not
only for players and coaches
but also those involved in every
aspect of cricket. It’s time that
the sports ministry or Sri Lanka
Cricket looks into this.
SLC, faint-hearted
or fool-hardy?
Hafiz Marikar
Kandy’s sports-loving pub-
lic are keen on organising a
rugby tournament among the
paststudentsof Kandyschools
like Trinity, St. Anthony’s,
Dharmaraja, St. Sylvester’s,
Kingswood, Vidyartha, Sri
Sumangala and Sri Rahula.
A trophy will be on of-
fer, and they also have ap-
proached a sponsor, but those
promoting the idea want to
keep a bit quiet about this as
the plans are still in a forma-
tive stage.
SLRFU boss Asanga Sena-
viratne too is keen to give a
helping hand. This is going
to be a fifteen-a-side game.
The Chief Minister, a great
sports lover and promoter,
Sarath Ekanayake who is
also the president of the
National Basketball Asso-
ciation, has said that he too
is there to help. This will
be ideal as there are many
school leavers who want to
play the game which they
love so much, and fans are
assured this tournament
will be well worth waiting
for.
In 1986, fromJuly 28 toAu-
gust 1, a rugby tournament
for former players called
the Kandy Rugby Carnival
was held, with Antonians,
Kingswoodians,
Rajans,
Trinitians and Vidyarthians
participating. That was dur-
ing the time of Y.C. Chang’s
SLRFU leadership, and the
organising committee was
headed by C.H. Seneviratne
(Chairman), H. Marikar
(Secretary), Jude Fernando
(Treasurer), the committee
had people like Deva Amunu-
gama, Rohan de Silva, Ajith
Fernando, Dr. C.D.L. Fer-
nando, Dudley Gunatilake,
late H.M. Halimdeen, Alex
Lazarus, Joe Madawella, Ku-
mar Meeriyagala and Upali
Senanayake, this was one
of the top tournaments, and
after seeing this Y.C. Chang
brought the Clifford Cup
quarters to Kandy.
The
tournament
was
played for the Harris Rat-
watte Cup, and Old Trini-
tians under the captaincy
of Ashan Ratwatte won, the
cup is still at the OTSC.
This time, the hard work-
ing rugby promoter Iswan
Omar, who was in charge of
the Singer – SriLankan Air-
lines Sevens for ten years,
has promised to come for-
ward to handle the tourna-
ment aspect. And they are
hoping to get a sponsor for
the playing kits for each
team. A meeting will be
called in the near future re-
garding this tournament.
Await champagne rugby
from old boys of Kandy
Two new
International-class
football stadiums
Shenal Yeshitha
The Football Federation of Sri
Lanka (FFSL) has made arrange-
ments to construct two world-class
soccer stadiums in Colombo and Ne-
gombo at a cost of US dollars 115 mil-
lion with assistance of the FIFA.
The President of the FFSL Ran-
jith Rodrigo said that the main idea
in constructing these two stadiums
is to help improve the technical as-
pect and competition level of the Sri
Lankan players.
He emphasised since Sri Lanka is
lacking proper international class
venues at home they tend to struggle
at the higher level and the recent re-
sults have proved this fact to a great
extent.
Rodrigo stated that all Asian coun-
tries including the neighbours Mal-
dives boast of international-class
grounds and they have proved their
improved capabilities through some
good performances at recent inter-
national tournaments.
The FFSL have identified the Pe-
dris Park and the Kadolkele ground
in Negombo, which are currently
owned by the local Government Au-
thorities, as potential venues for
these stadiums.
Rodrigo further stated that the
FFSL and the Colombo Municipal
Council have already had discus-
sions with the participation of
Sports Minister Mahindananda Alu-
thgamage to obtain these grounds on
a 30-year lease.
The cost for the renovation of the
Pedris Park is estimated at US dol-
lars 65 million and this stadium will
be completed next year while the
Kadolkele which will cost US dollars
50 million will be completed in 2015.
Dunlop has extended its
sponsorship for the fifth suc-
cessive year to Gamini Dis-
sanayake, who is ranked
No. 57 in the world in wheel-
chair tennis, offering him a
comprehensive package.
This would most certainly
enable Gamini to play the
sport at its highest level with-
out thinking on the procure-
ment of quality equipment
as Dunlop will be looking af-
ter that aspect. He has been
given the rackets which is
used by players like Ver-
dasco, and other top circuit
players.
Gamini was very thank-
ful to Dunlop for providing
this equipment which he
says enabled him to reach a
ranking which has not been
achieved by anyone in Sri
Lanka for the sport. This was
revealed at a simple signing
ceremony at the local Dun-
lop agents in Colombo 3.
Gamini also represented
Sri Lanka at the “Paralym-
pics” in London last year. He
is hopeful of reaching the
top twenty in the near future
playing as many tourna-
ments as possible. He would
have reached this milestone
earlier but due to financial
reasons he could not take
part in international tourna-
ments outside Sri Lanka as
this is very important to go
up in ranks. He would be
very happy to receive any
kind of travel sponsorship
from anybody ready to help
him reach his dream.
Dunlop is represented in
Sri Lanka by Ralhum Sports
the leading sports goods
distributor in the country that
has helped tennis players
like Dineshkanthan Thanga-
raja the current No 1 player
in the country to achieve
this position. Usama Sam-
sudeen marketing manager
stated that this sponsorship
is special for Dunlop as it is
different fromothers andwas
a very satisfying deed as it
will not only help the player
to be among the best in the
world but also it’s a very wor-
thy cause that helps build up
confidence and character in
players like Gamini.
Ranked 57th in the world in wheelchair tennis
Dissanayake sponsored by Dunlop for fifth year
Gamini receives tennis equipment from sponsors Dunlop
Lithmina Mahanama of Wesley
College and Dewmini Weerasena
of Musaeus College were ad-
judged the most outstanding boys’
and girls’ players at the Children’s
Table Tennis Carnival conducted
by Nugegoda TTC at S Thomas’
Indoor Stadium in Mt. Lavinia.
The tournament was held in col-
laboration with the Western Prov-
ince TTA.
Thissa Ranchigoda of Royal
College, Colombo was adjudged
the up-and-coming player of the
tournament.
Chairman Salu Sala and Se-
nior Vice President of the Western
Province Table Tennis Association
Roshan Maddumage was the chief
guest.
Themain awardwinners pose
with their trophies (from left):
LithminaMahanama ofWesley
College (most outstanding boys’
player), Thissa Ranchigoda of Royal
College, Colombo (up-and-coming
player) and DewminiWeerasena of
Musaeus College (most outstanding
girls’player) at the Children’s Table
Tennis Carnival held at STC Indoor
Stadium, Mt Lavinia
Nugegoda Table Tennis Carnival
Lithmina, Dewmini stand out
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