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British Rugby player dies on Lankan tour; another player critically ill 

British amateur rugby player has died and a second is critically ill after suffering breathing problems during a tour of Sri Lanka.

Thomas Howard, 25, was taken to hospital in the city of Colombo on Sunday and died shortly afterwards, according to Durham City RFC. Tom Baty, 26, remains in hospital where he is being treated.

They were on tour with the Clems Pirates team, which is described as a veterans’ outfit that raises money for charity based at Durham City RFC.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunesekara said that some of the players went to a nightclub before returning to the team hotel in the early hours of Sunday. They reported respiratory problems at about 10am.

"Both men had returned from a nightclub and had complained of breathing difficulties, and they were admitted to the hospital, one died and another is in very critical condition,” he said, adding that a post-mortem examination would be conducted.

The club said the breathing problems were "non rugby related".

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SLC issues ultimatum to Malinga: Play domestic cricket or forget SL team selection

Sri Lanka Cricket selectors are upset with pacer Lasith Malinga for wasting his time as bowling mentor of Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians and issued the 34-year-old an ultimatum to return home to play domestic cricket if he intended to be recalled to the national side.

Malinga, who last played for the Islanders more than seven months ago in the home series against India, was not retained by Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2018 season. He went unsold at the IPL auction and then opted for a stint as a mentor for the Mumbai Indians.

He was named for Sri Lanka's domestic Inter-Provincial one-day tournament but prior to the announcement of the squads, which started on Wednesday (May 2), he posted a video message declining to play any domestic cricket until the IPL was over. In the video he had mentioned that he was ready to make an international comeback during the home series against South Africa in July.

"The selectors will have to make a call-in case Lasith doesn't play any domestic cricket," SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. "I do believe that we can make use of him for T20 Internationals. We wouldn't have had any problem had he been playing matches at the IPL, but the issue is that he is on the bench," remarked Sumathipala.

SLC CEO Ashley de Silva warned Malinga that his refusal to play in the domestic tournament may shut the door on his international selection. 

"We have informed Lasith that he has been selected. If he doesn't play the Inter-Provincial tournament, it is unlikely that the selectors will consider him," de Silva said. Since his return from injury, the fast bowler has taken just 10 wickets in 13 ODIs. South Africa will play five ODIs and a T20 International during their five-week tour of Sri Lanka that kicks off with a two-match Test series.

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From Anuradhapura to Abu Dhabi: Sri Lankan cricket hero Chamani Senevirathne gets ready for a second innings with Team UAE

Chamani Senevirathne has returned to international cricket four years after saying goodbye. In a new role. For a different team.

The former Sri Lanka captain has been named in the UAE's 14-member squad to play in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier from July 3-14 in the Netherlands. Going by her career statistics, she could be picked for her experience alone.

A veteran of five 50-over World Cups, Senevirathne has also played in two World Twenty20s and an Indoor World Cup. She remains Sri Lanka's only Test centurion more than two decades after scoring 105 not out against Pakistan.

Clearly though, current form has been the main reason for her selection.

Senevirathne led Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC) to the UAE National Women’s T20 League title last week. Her feat was even more commendable given that she was captaining a newly-formed team. Opening the batting, she emerged the third-highest scorer in the tournament: 225 runs at an average of 45.00 and strike-rate of 123.63.

She was also player of the final last Friday, smashing 80 from 56 balls as ADC beat Desert Cubs by 13 runs at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Clearly the cricket in her is still alive. So why did she have to leave Sri Lanka to come to the UAE?

Her short, three-word answer: "lack of opportunities". Indeed, Senevirathne played just one Test for Sri Lanka since making her international debut in 1997, although she did feature in 80 one-day internationals and 32 T20 matches. But thereafter, there was little scope for her either as a coach or an administrator.

Even though she had been picked for Sri Lanka's tour of India in 2014, she chose to retire from the game before moving to the Emirates, where she now works as a coach and fitness trainer at Zayed Cricket Academy.

Senevirathne is remarkably fit for someone who turns 40 this year, but that is hardly surprising given that she is a fitness fanatic. She has kept herself active by playing in tournaments such as the recent T20 league and training at the academy.

Her all-round abilities have hardly waned either, as was evident at some of these tournaments.

“I have been playing club cricket since I was 16 and have continued to play after arriving in Abu Dhabi; not as much as I used to do, but still good enough to be competitive,” Senevirathne said.

Chamani 1
Chamani Senevirathne enjoys competing with players half her age. 

She admits she is surprised to be back as an international player.

“I retired from international cricket for personal reasons, and when I left Sri Lanka I never thought I’d play international cricket [again]. But here I am wearing the shirt of another country again," she said. “It’s a real honour to get selected for the UAE. Cricket has been all my life."
So how does she view her role in the new team?

“I’ll be happy if I can make a contribution to the UAE and share my experience with my teammates. Obviously it’s a tough task for an associate member, but we’ll give our best shot to qualify [for the World T20].”

"Tough" is a word that often appears in Senevirathne's vocabulary. Born and raised in Anuradhapura, a city almost 200 kilometres from Colombo in the North Central Province which is famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient civilisation. And as a young player, she had to go through plenty of hardship to progress in her career.

“Those were tough days when I had to travel to Colombo at the crack of dawn and return home very late,” she said.

“At the end, it was indeed a very exciting and rewarding journey. I was fortunate to play in three different formats of the World Cups. I cherish all those beautiful moments and my time in international cricket.”

Chamani 2
Chamani Senevirathne works at Zayed Cricket Academy, but she hopes to open her own coaching school one day. 

It is a journey she continues to enjoy. Decades after starting out, she continues to play the game and compete with players half her age. Her passion for cricket has brought her to coaching.

“Having spent most of my time playing cricket, my job as a cricket coach is the next best thing to happen to me,” she said. “I want to nurture as many young cricketers as possible from the Zayed academy to reach a good level.

"Our goal is also to encourage girls and develop women’s cricket in the country.”

(The National)

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Nishantha Ranatunga to contest SLC elections

Former Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has filed his nominations for the upcoming SLC elections. Ranatunga and his confidant Hirantha Perera were the only individuals to come forward to contest the strong incumbent executive committee headed by parliamentarian Thilanga Sumathipala.

Ranatunga, the younger brother of World Cup winning former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna, was SLC secretary from 2009 to 2015. A loyalist of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the younger Ranatunga fell out of favour after President Rajapaksa’s ouster in 2015.

“I was not to contest the cricket elections, but came forward after several requests by the stakeholders of the sport,” Ranatunga told Cricbuzz.

He contested the 2016 elections against Sumathipala, but was beaten handsomely. Sumathipala has never been defeated in a cricket election. He first became board president in 1998 at the age of 33.

Asked whether he will be able to challenge Sumathipala this time, Ranatunga said, “It is a matter of the stakeholders of the sport deciding whether they want to continue the same way or whether they want to have a change. The standard of our cricket has certainly gone down and we need to address these issues soon,” Ranatunga noted.

SLC elections were scheduled for the 19th of May, but was postponed to June on technical grounds. There’s also a lot of uncertainty regarding the AGM taking place as Sumathipala has come under tremendous pressure after voting for the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

The No Confidence Motion was defeated and now the Prime Minster’s United National Party, the largest party in the coalition government, is making a bid to take over the Sports Ministry, a portfolio assigned to coalition partners Sri Lanka Freedom Party, of which Sumathipala is a member. Sumathipala is the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and his future will become clear after next week’s cabinet reshuffle.

Source : Cricbuz

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Udawatte gets Test call-up for Windies tour

Sri Lanka suffered a huge blow ahead of the tour of West Indies with prolific opener Dimuth Karunaratne ruled out of the three-match series.

Karunaratne fractured his left index finger during training a fortnight ago and although specialists were confident that he will be able to make it to the side before the first Test in Trinidad that gets underway on June 6, the selectors have made a call.

Although on previous tours Sri Lanka would have taken a chance by bringing their prolific opener straight into the series, the fitness guidelines issued by the Ministry of Sports stresses on proper assessment of fitness. As a result, the selectors are keen to assess players’ match fitness before bringing them back to competitive cricket.

Karunaratne, who only plays Test cricket, was prolific last year as he scored over 1000 runs in the calendar year becoming the first Sri Lankan to do so since Kumar Sangakkara in 2014. He was also named Player of the Series after Sri Lanka ended Pakistan’s unbeaten run in UAE last October. His 196 in the first innings of Sri Lanka’s first-ever pink-ball Test in Dubai remains his career-best score. The 31-year-old has been replaced by another 31-year-old - Mahela Udawatte. The left-handed batsman had made his ODI debut in Port of Spain and is certain to make his Test debut at the same venue, albeit ten years later.

Udawatte, yet another product of Ananda College, was prolific in the recent Inter-Provincial tournament as he averaged 56 in the first-class competition and averaged 62 in the List A tournament before being called up to Kandy for a training camp prior to the tour.

Danushka Gunathilaka, who was the reserve opener during the last tour of Bangladesh and played the Dhaka Test as a middle-order batsman, has been axed. Lakshan Sandakan was also dropped as the selectors backed right-arm leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay. The injured fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera was overlooked for the series with Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando being named in an extended 17-member squad.

There was no place for fast bowler Dhammika Prasad, who made a comeback to domestic cricket last month after being on the sidelines for over two years following a shoulder surgery.

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SLC One-Day Super Provincial Tournament to begin tomorrow; here are the squads

Domestic cricket is set to take off with a bang as the focus shifts from Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) novel four-day Super Provincial Tournament concluded last week to the gallop of instant cricket with the staging of the Super Provincial One-Day Tournament on May 2. It will see the super four teams namely Colombo, Kandy, Galle and Dambulla in the fray.

The tournament will be significant with the SLC authorities prioritizing it in so much as assessing talent in view of Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of the West Indies with the national selectors having a keen eye on individual performances.

Incidentally the Super Provincial One-Day Tournament to be worked out for the second successive year is viewed as a major step forward in further developing the short version of the game at the highest domestic grassroots level. It is literally aimed at fine-combing the best available talent and nurturing to international standard aimed at taking national ODI cricket to the next level.

One Day Squads

Team Colombo – Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Thisara Perera (Vice-Captain), Dhananjaya De Silva, Dilhan Cooray, Shehan Jayasuriya, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Abeyrathne, Chamara Silva, Angelo Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Samith Dushantha, Nisal Fransisco, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Ambuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Kaveeshka Anjula, Dilshan Munaweera, Vikum Sanjaya, Sachintha Peiris, Thikshila De Silva, Nipun Malinga (U19), Kamindu Mendis (U19)

Charith Senanayake (Manager), Avishka Gunawardena (Head Coach), Ajith Ekanayake (Asst. Coach), Nuwan Zoysa (Bowling Coach)

Team Galle – Upul Tharanga (Captain), Dasun Shanaka (Vice-Captain), Lahiru Milantha, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Chathura Randunu, Shammu Ashan, Roshen Silva, SL Fernando, Ramith Rambukwella, Chathuranga De Silva, Janith Liyanage, Seekkuge Prasanna,  Sadeera Samarawickrama, Madawa Warnapura, Mohommad Dilshad, Suranga Lakmal, Malinda Pushpakumara, Nisala Tharaka, Nishan Peiris, Irosh Samarasuriya, Deshan Dias, Andy Solomons, Dhananjaya Lakshan (U19), Ashen Bandara (U19)
Waruna Waragoda (Manager), Hashan Tillakaratne (Head Coach), Upul Chandana (Asst. Manager), Ravindra Pushpakumara (Bowling Coach)

Team Kandy – Angelo Mathews (Captain), Niroshan Dickwella (Vice-Captain), Pathum Nissanka,  Priyamal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Prabath Jayasuriya, Asela Gunarathne, Tharanga Paranavithana, Minod Bhanuka, Chamara Kapugedara, Pramod Madushan, Jeewan Mendis, Lahiru Kumara, Ramesh Mendis, Mahela Udawatte, Sachith Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Nipuna Kariyawasam, Avishka Fernando, Adeesha Nanayakkara, Charith Asanlanka, Isuru Udana,  Hasitha Boyagoda (U19), Jehan Daniel (U19)

Malinda Warnapura (Manager), Piyal Wijethunga (Head Coach), Nuwan Seneviratne (Asst. Coach), Chamila Gamage (Bowling Coach)

Team Dambulla – Kusal Janith Perera (Captain), Milinda Siriwardena (Vice-Captain), Nipun Karunanayake, Sangeeth Cooray, Kusal Mendis, TN Sampath, achithra Serasinghe, Lahiru Gamage, Dimuth Karunarathne, Ashan Priyanjan, Lahiru Madushanka, Mahesh Priyadharshana, Amila Aponso, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Sachithra Senanayake, Shehan Madushanka, Lasith Malinga, Ravindu Gunasekara, Kosala Kulasekara, D A Rathnayake, Sahan Nanayakkara, Nishan Madushka (U19), Rashmika Dilshan (U19)

Vinothen John (Manager), Sumithra Warnakulasuriya (Head Coach), Lanka de Silva (Asst. Coach), Darshana Gamage (Bowling Coach)

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Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom pioneers electric racing yacht

He founded Skype and is a key figurehead in the tech sector, but now Swedish billionaire Niklas Zennstrom is pioneering electric propulsion systems in racing yachts.

The 52-year-old is a long-time competitive sailor with a succession of boats named Ran, but his latest yacht is pushing the boundaries of technology with a greener, lighter and more efficient electric power unit.

Ran VII, the smallest of his yachts to date, is a stripped down 40-foot racer which will compete on the Fast40+ circuit. The revolutionary electric motor -- needed to maneuver out of berths, drive to the race course and for longer passages -- was the brainchild of Carkeek Design Partners, a Majorca-based yacht design business founded by South African Shaun Carkeek.

"Having gone through the design, build and initial test cycle there is no doubt to me that the future for racing yachts is electric propulsion. It's lighter, less drag, quieter, and most importantly it is environmentally friendly," said Zennstrom.

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Ran VII will race on the Fast40+ circuit. 

The Swedish entrepreneur and his wife Catherine launched the Ran Racing team in 2008, since when it has won a host of the world's most prestigious regattas, including the Rolex Fastnet Race, the RORC  Caribbean 600, and the TP52 and Maxi72 World Championships.

But Zennstrom, who now runs technology investment firmAtomico, believes Ran VII is "the most radical" of his racing yachts.
"For sure, other companies have done electric propulsion systems but at this stage no one is doing what we've done in terms of optimization of the system into the performance side of the market. That's where this is pretty unique," Carkeek told CNN Sport.

(CNN)

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Two Lankan boys in FIFA Children's Programme for the first time

Dinuka Bandara and Ayaan Sadath, two enthusiastic 12 years old Sri Lankan football players will represent their countries in a social global program Football for Friendship(F4F)supported by the Internationale Federation of Football Association(FIFA).

The program F4F develops youth football and a healthy style of life as well as to promote tolerance, open mind and respect towards different cultures and nationalities among children all over the world,Colombo Gazette site reported Wednesday.

This year, the initiative, which is also supported by the Russian company Gazprom, was extended to 211 countries and regions and Sri Lanka is participating for the first time.

Bandara will join young football players all over the world in Moscow 2018 to take part of one of the 32 international friendly teams who will play against each other at the International Friendly Football Championship.

On the other hand, Sadath will act as a journalist and report about all the local and global activities of the F4F program as a part of Children's International Press Centre. He will also make conscience about values of friendship, equality, justice, peace, devotion, victory and honor of the program.

Two Sri Lankan youngsters will participle at International Friendship Football Forum in Russia where they will meet players from other countries, share experiences and discuss with famous football players and journalists about the promotion of values all over the world.

This 6th season of the F4F program will end with the visit of the children participating to the open ceremony and the first play of the Football World Cup Russia 2018.

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Thisara Perera included in ICC World XI for charity match

Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera was included in the ICC World XI line-up for the fund-raising Twenty20 International against the West Indies at Lord's on May 31. The match is being organised to raise funds for stadia in the Caribbean which were damaged due to hurricanes last year. 

The team, to be led by England's limited overs captain Eoin Morgan, includes Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik (both India), Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik (both Pakistan), Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal (both Bangladesh), Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) and Luke Ronchi and Mitchell McClenaghan (News Zealand).

The Windies, the reigning ICC World Twenty20 champions, are being led by Carlos Brathwaite. Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree and Andre Russell are among the other leading players in the squad.

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Nic Pothas quits as Sri Lanka's fielding coach

Sri Lanka's fielding coach Nic Pothas has ended his coaching contract with Sri Lanka to spend time with his young family, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old joined Sri Lanka in 2016 as fielding coach but was unexpectedly elevated to the post of head coach after Graham Ford’s abrupt exit in June last year.

Under his stewardship Sri Lanka were thumped in a home series against India and humiliated by cricket minnows Zimbabwe in a one-day international tournament.

The islanders did however record a 2-0 Test series win over Pakistan last year in the United Arab Emirates.

Pothas and several other players then refused to travel to Pakistan for the final Twenty20 international of the tour, citing security concerns.

After six months at the helm, he was replaced by former Sri Lanka Test batsman Chandika Hathurusingha, who was named head coach in December.

He remained as fielding coach and had been expected to stay until August but Sri Lanka Cricket announced that the South African called it a day on Friday.

“After two incredible years with Sri Lanka cricket, this is the right time for me to move on to other opportunities, which will allow me to spend quality time with my young family,” Pothas said in a statement issued by the cricket board.

 

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Pingpong diplomacy: Koreas join teams at table tennis worlds

Pingpong diplomacy is uniting North and South Korea at the table tennis world championships.

The women’s teams from the two countries, originally competing separately, decided Thursday to combine teams rather than play each other in the quarterfinals.

“When I informed the board of directors about this development, the unified team received a standing ovation from the delegates who showed their sign of support to this historic move,” ITTF President Thomas Weikert said.

Table tennis
Members of North Korea and South Korea table tennis teams pose together for a group photo after deciding to combine their teams to avoid playing against each other in the Quarter Finals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships at Halmstad Arena in Halmstad, Sweden, Thursday May 2, 2018. Their quarter final match was canceled after North and South Korea decided to play together in the semi finals, rather than eliminate one of their teams in the quarter final. ( Jonas Ekstromer/TT via AP) (Associated Press) 

The move follows recent cross-border diplomacy by state leaders at home. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in promised last week to work toward the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula.

The combined Korean team at the table tennis tournament will next play Japan in the semifinals Friday.

“(It’s) an important statement to promote peace between our countries through table tennis,” the South Korean team said.

In March, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made a surprise visit to Sweden to meet with Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom. After three days of talks, they said they discussed the “opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution” to the Koreas’ security dispute.

“I welcome the announcement that North and South Korean table tennis teams have decided to form a joint team during the world championship in Sweden,” Wallstrom wrote on Twitter.

The original “pingpong diplomacy” was between the United States and China in the early 1970s, leading to President Richard Nixon’s breakthrough visit in 1972.

In the Koreas, sports were another battlefield between the countries at the height of the Cold War. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympics, both held in Seoul.

But sports exchanges briefly flourished in the early 1990s before the onset of a nuclear crisis. This cooperation included the North-South combined women’s table tennis team championship win over China in 1991, and a unified world youth boys’ soccer team that reached the quarterfinals later that year.

After the leaders of North and South Korea met for landmark summit talks in Pyongyang in 2000, athletes from the Koreas walked behind a blue-and-white “unification” flag for the first time at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. This happened at other major international sports events, but the practice stopped after the 2007 Asian Winter Games in Chuangchun, China.

The two countries marched together again at this year’s Pyeonchang Olympics, and the women’s hockey team at the games featured players from both sides of the border.

Relations have thawed quickly since then, leading to a possible meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump this month or next.
(AP)

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Commonwealth Games: Eight Cameroon athletes 'desert' team

Eight Cameroonian athletes have gone missing from their accommodation at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, team officials have confirmed.

Press attache Simon Molombe told the BBC officials viewed it as "desertion" and that the missing athletes had been reported to Australian police.

The three weightlifters and five boxers were last seen at different times on Monday and Tuesday, he said. Cameroon said the group had valid Australian visas until 15 May.

Officials named the missing athletes as weightlifters Olivier Matam Matam, Arcangeline Fouodji Sonkbou and Petit Minkoumba, and boxers Christian Ndzie Tsoye, Simplice Fotsala, Arsene Fokou, Ulrich Yombo and Christelle Ndiang.

"The authorities are very disappointed with the deserters - some did not even compete," Mr Molombe said.

"The pious hope is that they come back to the village and travel home with the others."

The Australian government has warned athletes against overstaying their visas.

The Commonwealth Games Federation said it would monitor the situation but athletes had "the right to travel freely" on their visas.

The Australian Federal Police has been notified of the development, according to Kate Jones, a Queensland state government minister.

In 2012, seven Cameroonian athletes disappeared while in London for the Olympics.

Source : BBC

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