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Sunday, 30 March 2003  
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Honours shared in four-team competition

S. M. JIFFREY ABDEEN, Kandy Sports Corr.

Honours were shared in the four-team competition of the inaugural Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Junior Chellenge Cup golf tourney played at the picturesque Victoria Golf Club Course at Rajawella, featuring the 'A' and 'B' teams of Victoria Golf Club and the Royal Colombo Gold Club.

The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation keen to support junior golf in the country donated both the cups to the winning teams. This was the first event of its kind at Victoria and was designed to incorporate juniors from all golf clubs in the country. On this occasion, the Victoria juniors played host to the RCGC Juniors, however the organiser's have envisaged that as junior golf progresses in the country, other clubs will also participate in this event.

Twenty youngsters battled for their respective clubs with the 'A' division players playing 18 holes off the adult tee with adult handicaps and their younger brothers and sisters playing 9 holes off their junior handicaps and junior tees.

Inspired play along with perfect playing conditions and some of the highest scores yet at the club this year as the RCGC players swept to victory in the 'A' Division. It was the reverse in the 'B' Division where home advantage and local knowledge served the Victorians well.

The champion RCGC 'A' team comprised the following players: Binupa Wijesinghe (Captain), Mithun Perera (son of the famous Nandasena Perera) Sujahb Sangani (whose mother and aunt are also regular players at Victoria) Sanjay Wettimuni (whose sister played for Victoria), Awad Mansoor and Keshani Wethavinayagam.

The champion Victoria 'B' team was made up of: Shamara Wettimuni (a young lady, who hits the ball sweetly), Shaveendra de Silva (following his father's footsteps. His dad Rohan de Silva won the Ebert Pot at Victoria this year), Dilshan Karasingharachchi (a student from the CIB and took to the game only recently) and Ravana Perera (often seem with his grand parents on the fairways).

The individual honours were won by Binupa Wijesinghe and Ravana Perera, Binupa (a member of both clubs) had his allegiances tested even before the match in deciding which club to play for. He opted for RCGC and led them to victory with a personal 42 points and closely chased home by Praveen Dias on 41 points - a good sportsmanship over a rule giving Binupa Wijesinghe the final edge.

Ravana won with an impressive 44 points, the youngest in the team and the whole tournament at 9 years old, he has a graceful swing and can find good length even though he is still only a small chap. A nine hole putting competition was also held for the 'B' Division players which was won by Richard Gunawardena on his first visit to Victoria.

The fairways were well maintained and loocked green as ever thanks to a fine job by Tony Witham while British born Janine Weeratunga and her able assistant Lalindra Ranaweera played wonderful hosts to keep the young golfers in good spirits.

HSBC have pledged their continuing support for this event in the future and all the juniors said that they are eagerly looking forward to their next match which is to be hosted in Colombo at the RCGC in a few months time. So with Nuwara Eliya's junior section growing and the new golf club coming up in Colombo this event promises to grow in the forthcoming years.

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