The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 12

play
Dhammika Ratnaweera
Four-time Asian champions Sri Lanka,
though losing once again in a final to Sin-
gapore, qualified to play at the next World
Netball Championships which will be held
in Sydney next year.
The Sri Lanka netball team led by Sha-
shika Samarasinghr had to be satisfied
with the runner-up spot at the recently
concluded 9th Asian Netball Champion-
ships in Singapore. They lost the final (59-
41) to Singapore who retained the Asian
crown.
Both Sri Lanka and Singapore reached
the final with an unbeaten record.
Sri Lanka was too heavily dependent on
their 2.06 metre tall goal shoot Tharjini
Sivalingam who ended as the tournament
top scorer with 267 goals - 106 more than
the next highest Norashikin of Malaysia
and 107 more than Singapore’s Charmaine
who was third highest.
Sri Lanka’s strategy was to feed balls
over the top of Singapore’s defence to their
main goal shoot Tharjini, whose 45 goal at-
tempts in the game accounted for all but
two of her team’s attempts.
Singapore’s coordinated and spirited de-
fence limited the supply of balls to Thar-
jini and provided the platform for the at-
tack to not only haul Singapore back into
the game but establish the team firmly in
the lead with 35 goals from 37 attempts in
the second and third quarters.
For the first time the Sri Lankan team
took part in a tournament without their
head coach Deepthi Alwis. Veteran Yasa
Ramachandra substituted for her with as-
sistant coach Yamunu Sandamali. In addi-
tion Hyacinth Wijesinghe was appointed
coaching consultant but she was not eligi-
ble to sit on the bench during the matches.
Sri Lanka netball team that finished runner-up at the Asian netball championships and qualified for theWorld Netball Championships
in Sydney next year
Sri Lanka qualifies for
World Netball Championships
Text and pictures by K.H. Tilak
(Veliveriya Corr.)
The 11th Annual Gampaha
District Swimming Meet 2014
proved to be very competitive
with as many as 40 schools
participating and Regent Inter-
national School Gampaha did
well to emerge champions at
the meet which was conduct-
ed by them at their swimming
pool recently.
Sumedha School Gampaha
also performed creditably to
become runners-up.
The General Secretary of
the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports
Union, Akhry Ameer, Manag-
ing Director Regent Interna-
tional School Anura Gunas-
ekera and Vice Principal Mrs.
Krishanthi Wickramarachchi
graced the occasion.
The meet was organised by Regent Inter-
national School, Senior Swimming Coach,
Nadun de Silva
The champion swimmers
Under 10 - (Boys):
Naveen Akalanka
Sirimanne (Imbulgoda Rajasinghe MV);
(Girls):
Senaya de Silva (Sumedha School
Gampaha).
Under 12 – (Boys):
Abhilasha Portzman
(Regent International Gampaha);
(Girls):
Nethmi Manawasinghe (Regent Interna-
tional Gampaha).
Under 14 – (Boys):
Tharaka Nadun Siri-
manne (Gampaha Thakshila Vidyalaya);
(Girls):
Thimali Lihansa Bandara (Lyceum
International Gampaha).
Under 16 – (Boys):
Dineth Sanjula Jay-
akody (Maris Stella College Negombo);
(Girls):
Hanshika Bandara (Holy Cross Col-
lege Gampaha).
Under 19 - (Boys):
S.A.P.D. Sirimanne
(Bandaranaike College Gampaha);
(Girls):
Varuni Muthukutti (Regent International
Gampaha).
Best All-rounder (Boys):
Dineth Sanjula
Jayakody (Maris Stella College Negombo).
Best All-rounder (Girls):
Thimali Lihansa
Bandara (Lyceum International Gampaha).
Regent International Gampaha
swimming champs
The champion swimming team of Regent International
School Gampaha
Bernard Perera
Negombo Youth SC had to settle
for a two-all draw against Crystal
Palace SC in their Dialog Cham-
pions League game played at the
Sugathadasa Stadium.
Negombo Youth SC was in the
lead 1-0 before lemons and after
the turnaround went further
ahead to net another goal to take
a strong position. But the never-
say-die Crystal Place soccerites
fought gallantly to score two goals
in the second half through their
foreign striker EI Aba, to draw the
match.
Saunders beaten
The glamour boys from Co-
lombo, Saunders SC went down
to Nandimithra SC 3 goals to 1 in
another game of the same cham-
pionship played at the Kelaniya
Football Complex.
Both teams failed to find the
net during the first session of
play though they played well. All
scoring was done in the second
half.
Issadeen hero for Army
Sri Lanka Army striker MNM
Issadeen with a haul of five
goals gave his team a resound-
ing 7-1 win over newcomers Thi-
hariya Youth SC. This game was
played at the Sri Bodhi Vidyala-
ya ground in Gampaha. At half
time the soldiers led 2-1.
Of the other two goals for the
soldiers, MDM de Silva booted
one while the other was an own
goal by a Thihariya defender.
The solitary goal for Thihariya
came from MJM Rajisheron.
Police down Pelicans
Pelicans SC who travelled all
the way from Kurunegala to con-
front Police SC had to go back
empty handed as they lost the
game by three goals to nil at Po-
lice ground in Clombo. Police led
1-0 at the halfway mark.
Sailors win 1-0
Table leaders Sri Lanka Navy
outplayed New Youngs SC from
Wennappuwa 1-0 at the Sugatha-
dasa Stadium. Before lemons both
teams failed to find the goal but in
the second half Y.D. Piuslas found
the net to score for sailors.
Renown victorious
Renown SC form Kotahena de-
feated Up Country Lions 2-0 at
the Jayatilleke Stadium, Nawala-
pitiya. Here too the strikers from
both teams failed to net in goals
in the first half. Mohameed Fazal
and MCM Rifnaz scored goals for
the winning team in the second
half.
Solid win 2-1
Solid SC from Anuradhapura
came up with a brilliant per-
formance to outplay Java Lane
SC 2-1 at City Football Complex
grounds. It was great win for the
A’pura team as they outplayed
the Slave Island boys on their
home territory.
D. Wijetunge scored the first
goal for Solid in the 28th minute.
M. Ruwansiri found the equal-
izer for the Colombo team in the
60th minute. S. Gunaarupathi
sealed victory for Solid with a
goal in the 81st minute.
Results
Negombo Youth SC drew with
Crystal Palace SC 2-2, Nandim-
ithra SC beat Saunders SC 3-1,
SL Army SC beat Thihariya
Youth SC 7-1, SL Police SC beat
Pelicans SC 3-0, SL Navy SC beat
New Young’s SC 1-0, Renown SC
beat Up Country Lions SC 2-0,
Solid SC beat Java Lane SC 2-1.
Dialog Champions League 2014
Negombo YSC held to a draw
Page 12 Sunday, September 21, 2014
The Nation
Harshani Weeraratne
His ability to turn, tease and
deceive has caused headaches to
many batsmen of international
standing. This is why reputed
commentators saw in him a wor-
thy successor to spin wizard Mut-
tiah Muralidharan. Ajantha Men-
dis joined the Army in the year
2005 and on November 8, 2006 he
was picked to play for his country
against India in the first Test of
that series. His accuracy, varia-
tion and mystery won him the nod
of the selectors on that occasion.
He’s been in and out of the Test
side, but has had a more perma-
nent place in the shorter formats.
Harshani Weeraratne caught up
with this amiable and yet deadly
soldier to discuss cricket, life and
the future.
S
eptember is the month
when cricketers get to re-
lax, isn’t it?
True. It’s only in September and
October that we get a few weeks
off. This is the best time to spend
with the family, even though I do
train throughout the week. Eng-
land is due to tour Sri Lanka in
six weeks time and the team will
be back at training before that.
Y
our son is at an age when
kids are extremely active
and enjoy attention and affec-
tion. Are you close to him?
He’s 15 months old now. I’ve
always spend a lot of time with
him. Even when I was overseas
with the national team, I took my
wife Yoshini and our son with me.
Still, I’ve not had this much free
time to be with him. We play to-
gether. I don’t feel the time pass
when I am with him. So yes, we
are very close.
I
t is generally thought that
cricketers with heavy sched-
ules need a lot of support from
their wives. Does Roshini sup-
port you?
It is the wife that relieves a
cricketer from all the burdens
that usually devolve on the head
of the household. My wife has re-
leased me from all these things.
She also takes care of me; creates
the mental environment that I
need. I think the best contribution
that a cricketer’s wife can make
in terms of supporting his voca-
tion is to understand how hectic
the schedule is. I am privileged to
have the maximum support from
my wife in this regard.
M
any wives of cricketers
claim that they began
watching cricket and indeed
understanding the game after
they got married. Is this true
of Roshini as well?
I met her at a match. She had
come to watch a game at Kettara-
ma. This was in 2009. So we met,
talked, fell in love and got mar-
ried. She already knew me. She
was always a cricket fan.
R
oshini’s father was a Se-
nior Superintendent of the
Police. Did this influence your
decision to marry her, i.e. con-
sidering the fact that he was
powerful?
Not at all. I saw her. I liked her.
It was long afterwards that I got
to know who her father was. I am
a cricketer but I am also a soldier.
I was never scared to declare my
love. We had the blessings of her
parents as well as mine.
Y
ou are a lieutenant in the
Army. You are also a con-
tracted cricketer. That’s two
jobs. How do you obtain bal-
ance?
It was the Army that turned
me into a national cricketer. The
honour goes to the Army. I was
released from all duties once I
was selected to the national pool.
I was given all facilities by the
Army so that I could devote all
my time and energy to cricket. I
would go only if there was some-
thing absolutely urgent to attend
to. Also, if ever I lost form and
was dropped, I could always play
first class cricket for the Army,
prove my case and come into the
selectors’ reckoning again. The
day I retire from cricket, I will re-
turn to the Army.
A
re you saying that you are
not planning to retire any
time soon?
I haven’t thought about retire-
ment yet. I want to play for as
long as I can.
I
t is said that money and
fame make people forget
their roots, their beginnings.
Have you forgotten all that
Ajantha?
Not at all. I believe that I am
humane. I am from Moratuwa. I
call my parents all the time and
inquire about them, their health,
their various needs. They also
visit us. I must say that it was not
just my family that encouraged
me to play cricket. People in my
village were as supportive. They
too were my strength. They are all
very proud of what I’ve achieved.
They were there for me and with
me in my better days and whenev-
er things were not going my way.
How could I forget them, ever? I
am not a person who would do
that.
I
n that case, why is it that
you don’t go to your village,
Ajantha?
I would love to do that. But I
don’t get the opportunity often. I
have to train continuously. But I
must say that when I do have the
chance I go there, visit my friends
and my family.
A
fter the game against
South Africa on July 31,
2013, it is only in July 2014
that you get to play in an ODI.
What happened?
This is true. I lost some pace.
Also, I suffered a back injury. But
I continued to train hard and tried
to recover my form. I am sure I
will continue to perform well.
M
any believed that you
would be a worthy suc-
cessor to Muttiah Muralithar-
an. Do you think you’ve filled
the void created when Murali
retired?
I have demonstrated what I can
do. Murali Aiya helped me im-
mensely. When he retired it was a
big loss. I wanted to fill his shoes.
I haven’t been able to do so in the
past two years. But there are a
few spinners who have emerged
during this period.
A
nd that’s a challenge,
right?
Of course it is. A challenge. But
I believe that if I performed to my
true potential I can protect my
place in the team.
The Army turned me into
a national sportsman
Ajantha, Yoshini and their little son Pic by Mankan Gunasekera
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