Sunday Observer
Oomph! - Sunday Observer MagazineJunior Observer
Sunday, 13 February 2005  
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Mihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

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Government - Gazette

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Straight talk

by Lal Gunesekera

Arjuna,Warne bury hatchet

The hatchet seems to be buried. The animosity between Australian spin wizard, Shane Warne, (the current record holder for the highest number of Test wickets), and former Sri Lanka cricket captain, Arjuna Ranatunga (now a Deputy Minister in the UPFA Government is all over.

The rumblings that started before the 1999 World Cup, looks as if it has been washed away with the 'Boxing Day' tsunami tragedy that created havoc in Sri Lanka where over 30,000 people died and thousands were left homeless.

It was in 1999 that Shane Warne, writing his column to a newspaper stated that Sri Lanka cricket will be better off without Ranatunga. However, it was in 1996 that the feud got under-lay with Warne and Australia refusing to play in Sri Lanka in a World Cup game.

Ranatunga got the better of Warne in that famous final at Lahore where he thrashed the Aussie spinner for 13 runs in one over. Sri Lanka beat Australia to win the World Cup. There were other instances too, but all seems to have been forgotten and forgiven now.

Warne arrived in the country last Tuesday together with Brad Grapsas, the Chief Executive of the Shane Warne Foundation to help with the reconstruction process. He saw the damage caused first-hand and promised to help the Muralitharan-Vaz-Gunasekera Foundation.

Warne who visited the Galle International Stadium was thunder struck at the damage caused by the tsunami to the stadium where he made a memorable comeback after his suspension and where he took his 500th Test wicket.

He has pleasant memories of this ground which was devastated and unlikely to stage any more international matches. It is to be shifted to a more suitable place in Mahamodera, also in the Galle district, but inland.

Warne also had a clinic for junior spin bowlers at the Moratuwa Stadium. Moratuwa was also affected by the tsunami, but not badly affected. There was also a charity dinner where 500 persons attended paying Rs, 10,000 per hhead at teh Waters Edge Golf and Country Club.

Battle on

Now its back to business for Muttiah Muralitharan. His battle to get ahead of Warne for the record number of Test wickets will commence in April when Sri Lanka tours New Zealand.

It was the Sri Lankan who broke Courtney Walsh's world record against Zimbabwe, but Warne overtook him at Galle against Sri Lanka and has since held on to it. Muralitharan had a shoulder operation and even his "Doosra" was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Now, all that is past. His shoulder has healed and the ICC Chief Executive Committee decided in Melbourne last week to permit all bowlers a tolerence level of 15 degrees. So, the Muralitharan-Warne "battle" is set to resume.

Posh club

The waters Edge Golf and Country Club at Battaramulla of which business magnate Sumal Perera is the Chairman, is a project of the Asia Pacific Golf Courses (APGC) on a 240 acre piece of land, which attracts a variety of birds and maintained as a wetland park.

It is to have a 18-hole par 72 Course and include three restaurants, two banquet halls, members area (including a karaoke bar and restaurant), sophisticated and fully equiped fitness centre, spa managed by the MJF Group, hair and beauty salon, rowing club, children's fun park and parking facilities.

Eleven holes have been completed on the Course and the rest are to be completed and opened shortly. There is a fine Club House, Pro-Shop and driving range with 20 floodlit bays. Also proposed is a luxury apartment complex.

Already in operation is a restaurant on the terrace, air conditioned-bar with two pool tables on the lobby floor, banquet hall on the fourth floor with a seating capacity for 850 persons, and below, a smaller ballroom not yet opened.

The outdoor deck will consist of swimming pool, and three jacuzzis which are almost complete. They also propose to have badminton, tennis and squash courts, jogging, walking track, and sites for cricket and soccer too. The food and beverages is managed by Aitken Spence Hotel Management Services.

Lake View development halted

The re-development of the Lake View grounds of Dharmaraja College in Kandy has come to a grinding halt due tto financial problems. Already, Rs. 6 million has been spent and the contractors who have to be paid Rs. 5 million, have stopped work on the project.

The school Development Society has the funds, but are unable to withdraw and utilise it as the Department of Education has refused requests made as "tender proceedures" have not been followed. Now the school, play their cricket matches at the Open Prison Camp grounds at Pallekelle. This year also happens to be the centenary match between Dharmaraja and Kingswood.

Caltex to continue sponsorship

Caltex Lubricants are to continue with their association with the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) and its sponsorship deals upto 2007, despite the image and reputation of the SLRFU being tarnished last year (2004) with many unsavoury incidents, I understand that the Managing Director of Caltex, Kishu Gomez, is waiting for the new administration of the SLRFU to take up office on February 26 to have a dialogue with them in an effort to improve the image of the sport that has been badly affected.

I only hope that this season will see all tournaments run on schedule, finances put back on track, standard of rugby vastly improved and image restored. All the very best to you Priyantha Ekanayake, Dilroy Fernando and Company. You have a lot of work ahead of you, but please, do not be dictatorial and remember it's all team work for success.

Lourdes suspended

What are the actual reasons behind the suspension of national coach, Lourdes Jayasekera, by the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka (NFSL)? Surely, it cannot be for revealing "secrets" to the media.

Ask anyone, and they will tell you what is happening in the NFSL, who are also attempting to "dump" certain players from the national pool who do not "toe the line" of the NFSL and certain of its officials.

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