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Match-fixing could become criminal offence in India and Sri Lanka 

Match-fixing could become a criminal offence in India and Sri Lanka for the first time if pressure by the International Cricket Council (ICC) persuades governments to legislate against corruption.

Cricket’s anti-corruption unit are currently in Sri Lanka to lobby the government to make match fixing a criminal offence as they investigate cases of corruption on the island.

Alex Marshall, the chairman of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, met with the country’s prime minister and president last week. Telegraph Sport understands he is due for further meetings with government officials later this month and politicians have offered more resources for fighting corruption as several serious investigations reach a crucial point. 

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Pressure by the International Cricket Council may persuade governments to legislate against corruption Credit: AFP

Some of those are in Sri Lanka, another is in Hong Kong, where the ICC announced on Monday three players had been charged with 19 counts of breaching the anti-corruption code including offences linked to a game against Scotland and at the 2016 World Twenty20 in India.

The ICC are hoping that by making match fixing, and also approaching players to fix, criminal offences in Sri Lanka they can bring greater powers of investigation to bear while potential prison sentences would deter would be corrupters. They hope to have similar discussions with Indian officials and believe other countries will follow suit if Sri Lanka takes the first step.

Match fixing is a criminal offence in Australia and South Africa under specific sports laws. In the UK courts use the bribery act which is how Mervin Westfield and the three Pakistan players were sentenced but there is no criminal offence for match fixing anywhere in the sub-continent so there is not the same police support the ICC would receive elsewhere in the world. 

With police help the ICC believe they can make life difficult for fixers in other ways such as examination of bank accounts, tax returns, visa status for overseas travel and freezing of assets.

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Cricket is extremely popular in Sri Lanka Credit: Action Images 

The ACU is also set to make more widespread use the charge of failing to support an investigation so if suspected fixers, either players or officials, do not hand over mobile phones or other computer records they will face punishment and the public shame of being associated and banned for involvement in corruption. 

Sri Lankan cricket is in a state of paralysis at the moment with board elections on hold with three groups trying to take over. An interim board was appointed by the ICC in February to run the game in the meantime. 

Former president Thilanga Sumathipala is standing again but his application was opposed in court by a rival alleging he has links with bookmaking. His father is a bookmaker and he has admitted this publicly in the past.

In the meantime, the ICC are investigating fixing allegations in Sri Lanka and believe enlisting government help will make their job easier. It is believed the whole system needs cleaning up with Sri Lanka domestic cricket seen as the vulnerable point when fixers can get their claws into young players. With the Sri Lanka national team struggling, the negative publicity of any match fixing investigation, and potential subsequent public backlash, could force the government to look as if it is making a stand by making it a criminal offence.

The ICC investigations in Sri Lanka are separate to the Al Jazeera documentary aired earlier this year which alleged the pitch for the first Test against England next month in Galle could be doctored by fixers. A man who was described as the groundsman has been suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket based on evidence in the programme and England have been assured the pitch preparation will be closely monitored. They were briefed by ACSU officials on Sunday night in Dambulla. 

Marshall, the former chief constable of Hampshire police, took over as chairman of the ACU last year and has  launched several major investigations around the world as cricket looks to take on fixing and react to the threats  spread by the springing up of Twenty20 leagues around the world. 

The ICC has long feared the players from associate nations are more susceptible for approaches from fixers and charged three from Hong Kong  yesterday. Fast bowler Irfan Ahmed has been charged with nine offences linked to games against Scotland and Canada in January 2014,  a match against Zimbabwe in 2014 and at ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers in July 2015 as well as  one charge of “seeking, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept a bribe or other Reward to fix or contrive or otherwise improperly influence the result,” of a match at the World Twenty20 tournament in 2016. He was banned for two years for breaching the anti corruption code in 2016.

His brother, Nadeem Ahmed, when played against India in the Asia Cup last month, was charged with five offences covering the same time period as was Haseeb Amjad.


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Cricketer’s Wife Accuses Him of Torture Over Dowry

Bangladeshi cricketer Mosaddek Hossain Saikat's wife has accused him of driving her out of their home and torturing her over dowry, a media report said today.

Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, 22, who married his cousin Sharmin Samira Usha six years ago, has been included in the Bangladesh squad for the upcoming 50-over cricket tournament Asia Cup to be held from September 13-28 in the UAE.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Rosina Khan admitted the charges brought by Usha against the middle-order batsman yesterday and ordered the Sadar Upazila executive officer to investigate the case, bdnews24 reported. Mosaddek Hossain Saikat has been torturing Usha for dowry for a long time, her lawyer Rezaul Karim Dulal alleged. "He (Mosaddek) tortured her and drove her out of home for 1 million taka (USD 12,003) in dowry on August 15," he claimed.

The report said that the cricketer did not immediately respond for comments on the case.

"They have been in disagreement since they married," the cricketer's brother Mosabber Hossain Moon said. Mosaddek Hossain Saikat sent her a divorce letter on August 15 but she demanded more money than mentioned in the marriage documents, the brother claimed. "She has started the case after spreading false and misleading information as she did not get the money," Mosabber Hossain alleged.


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Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara on Angelo Mathews, Asia Cup and sledging

Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara is a former captain of the national team and is widely regarded as one of the greatest wicket-keeper batsmen of all-time, scoring 12,400 runs in his 134 Tests at an impressive average of 57.40. He also took 182 catches and 20 stumpings.

Sangakkara spoke exclusively to Sport360 in Dubai earlier this week and opened up about Sri Lanka’s poor performance in the recently completed Asia Cup, the Angelo Mathews saga and how sledging has got out of hand in the modern game.

Q: Sri Lanka performed very badly in the Asia Cup and were eliminated in the group stages after humbling losses to Afghanistan and Bangladesh. It’s just six months out from the World Cup, is it time to hit the panic button?

A: I empathise with the team. I’ve been there. I’ve lost to sides that we shouldn’t have lost to. And I understand exactly how they feel. But I’m very pragmatic about it, I’m realistic. They played very bad cricket.

They looked confused during the tournament, with an unsettled air around the team and that hasn’t helped them. That’s been the case for a while now.

So how do you fix the current situation?

Leave aside the emotion, be very rational and clinical in your decision making – you need to evaluate very quickly as to what’s going wrong. Whether it’s the strategy: if it’s the strategy then you need to select players who can execute that strategy.

Then you examine team culture, you examine consistency of selection and then you put those things right.Clear, honest face-to-face one-on-one communication is essential to build trust and having a settled squad that have clear roles identified for them and are given a clear run.

That will improve self-confidence of players and they will trust the system better, the performances will be more consistent and results will then come.

The issue is we’re only six months to the next World Cup. So we need to do these things quickly and I hope they get that done.

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Angelo Mathews has been made to step down from captaincy of Sri Lanka 

I think this breakdown of communication needs to be sorted quickly.

It needs to be sorted through direct, honest and clear conversations between captain, the management and the player concerned. They need to make sure, also, that the public has the right idea of why this decision has been taken, especially at an emotional time.

What they have to be careful is that it’s not a knee-jerk reaction to the team’s performance at the Asia Cup, but it’s actually a worthwhile decision for the side. But I really think that with Chandika Hathurusingha’s strategy, Angelo will find himself back in the side very soon.

Angelo’s performances in the past suggest that he’s a player of great value to the side. I think it’s very important to get Angelo bowling again.

I think it does his confidence a lot of good. It does the Sri Lankan side a lot of good. And whoever is captain – whether it’s Angelo or Dinesh Chandimal – it gives them a lot of options to use a multi-skilled cricketer in different situations. All of that is going to be absolutely vital to their chances at the World Cup.

In stark contrast Bangladesh had a superb tournament, surprising Pakistan in the Super Four to reach the final where they were beaten on the last ball by heavyweights India. Have they now gone past Sri Lanka in the ODI pecking order?

I don’t think Bangladesh has risen above Sri Lanka in terms of ability, talent and quality – they’ve outperformed us in this particular tournament. Going back a few months (January) we beat Bangladesh in the final of the Tri-series one day tournament (in Bangladesh).

I think the difference between the two sides is that Bangladesh are settled. The core group of Bangladesh hardly ever changes: Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe Mortaza.

They’ve been around for years, they never change their core, so it’s a consistent side knowing their roles performing day in day out, playing day in day out.

So it becomes easier to have consistent performances and more good days than bad.
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Kumar Sangakkara in action for Surrey in 2016 

As a senior player how do you now see your role in the game in relation to young players coming through?

To look after, to mentor, to really be an example on the field, but also talk about the core values of cricket. Because one of the things about cricket is it’s based on fair play, on team spirit, playing fair but playing hard, about integrity.

How to have a positive lifestyle on and off the field, there’s a lot of aspects and thoughts and ideas that will be exchanged.

Apart from all that – the grounding – (you need to) play good cricket on the field so these young players can see skill at its best.

There has been a lot of talk of late about indiscipline on the field giving cricket a bad name. Is the game getting too competitive?

It’s hard to define in professional sport whether competition is healthy or not. It just depends on how you as a player, play within the defined rules of the game, (together) with your personal belief system is in terms of your philosophy on the game and in life in general. So it’s a huge balancing act, and the pressures are immense, mistakes happen.

But you know there’s been a concerted effort by players around the world and franchise leagues have actually helped to have better understanding between countries, between players who actually are rivals elsewhere but are team-mates in tournaments like the IPL.
Does that help with better relations on the field of play?

It really helps to gives you a better balanced perspective on how to play this game, how to interact with people and how to be competitive on the field and display your skills.

To play as hard as you can to win for your country but at the same time have healthy relationships while doing it and friendships that are formed on the cricket field lasting for many years between players from different backgrounds and countries are inspirational.

Sportsmen and sportswomen are naturally competitive and that’s healthy for having a great show on that field.

Spectators enjoy watching a keenly contested competition and the players enjoy playing for something because everyone seems to keep score, but the spirit in which you do it is important.
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Ugly scenes in Durban as David Warner confronted Quinton de Kock in the grand stand. 

It’s disappointing how sledging has got out of control in the game recently, for example how things boiled over in Durban earlier this year in the Test between South Africa and Australia. How do you bring that back under control?

I just think that you can’t define a line because it’s all relative. Being offensive or taking offense is a relative thing. Things that some people from a certain background or country don’t find offensive other people will.

So if you do go down the line of having a chat on the field and you open that door, you have to be mindful that you have to accept whatever comes back at you.

It could be something that you find offensive but you can’t say and talk on the field and sledge and then say ‘Well I draw the line here and what he said was unacceptable’. That to me is ridiculous.

I think if that is the case then don’t sledge at all.

So could a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to sledging be the answer?

Everyone talks about ‘banter’ and about ‘having a friendly chat’ and not being offensive and its ‘part of the game’…

I actually think that if you are to play by the rules that there should be a rule that actually says “No, the line is drawn at zero tolerance. Nothing offensive that can be said.”

It might make it a little bit duller in terms of playing the game but sometimes so be it. It’s not going to take anything away from your skill or the spectacle of the game.

Otherwise if that rule is not drawn and the rules are not set you will get instances where players have these instances where offense is taken, lines are crossed, miscommunication, misunderstandings, bad tempers, all of these will be seen (like in Durban).

You need to be mindful that if young kids are watching the game and if your own kids are watching the game and you want it to be something healthy that they see on the pictures you can make your own decisions.

But implementation of the rules and regulations should be the same across the board.

(Alex Brown/Sports 360)

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Visiting South Africa announce two captains

The five-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and South Africa is currently underway and the visiting team has already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series. The fourth match is a mere dead rubber and will be played tomorrow at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. 

After a pretty disappointing Test series, the Proteas would be more or less satisfied by their show in the limited-overs fixtures.

In the meantime, all is not well in the South African camp as Faf du Plessis, their ODI and T20I skipper, has been ruled out of the remainder of the Lankan tour owing to a shoulder injury. 

As per ICC’s official website, Quinton de Kock has been announced as the captain for the remaining two ODIs while JP Duminy will lead the team in the one-off T20I in Colombo on August 14.

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I’m a scapegoat, says sacked Sri Lanka captain Mathews

Sri Lanka’s sacked skipper Angelo Mathews accused the country’s cricket board on Monday of blaming him solely for the island’s humiliating exit from the Asia Cup.

The 31-year-old all-rounder has threatened to retire from the two shorter formats of the game after being dumped on Sunday as captain of Sri Lanka’s One-day International and Twenty20 teams.

“I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performance against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup,” Mathews said in a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket.

The board said it asked Mathews to step down and allow Dinesh Chandimal to lead Sri Lanka during England’s tour which begins next month.

“The national selectors ... have requested Mathews to relinquish his duties as captain with immediate effect,” the board said in a statement. It did not elaborate on why Mathews was sacked.

“I’m willing to take part of the blame but, at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me,” Mathews wrote.

“If the selectors and coach are of the view that I am unfit to play ODI and T20 cricket and thus not entitled for my place in the team, I would also consider retiring from the ODI and T20 formats as I never want to be a burden to the team.” Sri Lanka have been grappling with a leadership crisis over the last 18 months, during which Upul Tharanga, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedera and Thisara Perera have also been tried as ODI captains.

But it follows Sri Lanka’s drubbing in the Asia Cup, with losses to lower-ranked Afghanistan and Bangladesh ensuring the island nation’s quick exit from the competition.

Sri Lanka were thumped by 137 runs against Bangladesh in their opening match of the tournament, and have now lost 30 of their 40 matches since January 2017.

Chandimal, who was already captain of Sri Lanka’s Test side, now takes the reins in all three formats of the game.

Sri Lanka will face England in five One-day Internationals, one twenty20 and three Test matches from October 10.

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Sri Lanka hope for a sweeter ODI display in Kandy on Sunday

Sri Lanka will hope that the shambolic displays produced in the first and second One-Day Internationals against South Africa won’t be repeated as they attempt to stay in the series when the two teams clash at the Pallekelle International Stadium in Kandy on Sunday. 
However, judging by their recent record in ODIs, it may be a hope in vain for the Sri Lankans, whose awful play stretches back further than the opening two matches of this current series. 

Since the start of 2017, Sri Lanka has won just eight out of  36 ODIs - six of those victories coming against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - while losing 27 times. 

Watching the batting display in the first match and then the fielding performance in the second it’s easy to see why they’ve done so poorly in the last 20 months. The top order in both games have seemed incapable of dealing with the new ball, while the fielding performance on Wednesday left stand-in skipper Angelo Mathews comparing them to a bunch of school kids.

The Sri Lankans have not been helped by the bans dished out to their long-term captain Dinesh Chandimal and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, which have sidelined them for this series. Add to that  the suspension handed done to Danushka Gunathilaka by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, for breaching the body’s code of conduct during the second Test against South Africa. '

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Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews compared his team's fielding so far to a bunch of school kids. Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

However the absence of Chandimal and Hathurusingha didn’t stop the hosts from handing out a pair of crushing defeats to the South Africans in the Tests, so can’t really be used as an excuse for how poorly they’ve played in the ODIs. 

Normally, the horrible fielding would be indicative of a side with low morale, but that really shouldn’t be the case with the Sri Lankans following the success in the Test matches. No one in their camp seems sure what the cause is for the most recent performances and given that is not something new, you’d have to say something is horribly amiss with their entire ODI strategy. This is very strange for a side with such a wonderful history in the 50-over format.

It’s not as if there aren’t a few fragile areas in the Proteas line-up that they can’t target either. They have managed to keep Aiden Markram quiet, but through their calamitous fielding on Wednesday, they may just have helped rebuild Hashim Amla’s confidence. 
South Africa’s middle and lower order batting has still not been properly put under pressure bu that will only happen if Sri Lanka can somehow right themselves.

They need look no further than their opponents for how to do that. The Proteas were understandably down in the dumps after being pounded in the Tests, but have utilised conditions that have been slightly more balanced than was the case in the Test matches, to restore their self-belief.

The new ball has been used very well by Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi, while Tabraiz Shamsi has been outstanding in both matches so far. The two seam-bowling all-rounders; Andile Phehlukwayo and Wiaan Mulder, righted their wrongs from the first match in the second to help the Proteas produce a more rounded performance with the ball. 

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Kagiso Rabada (centre) celebrates with captain Faf du Plessis (18) , David Miller (10), Tabraiz Shamsi (left) and Aiden Markram (3rd right) after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Shehan Jayasuriya (right). Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

The momentum is certainly with the South Africans and they are as Phehlukwayo mentioned Friday, very keen to wrap up the series in Kandy, where history suggests chasing is the better option, with the team batting second having won 13 of the 20 matches played there. 
However Sunday’s match is only the second time the venue will host a day game, with the previous one in 2014, ending in victory for the side which batted first. Sunday’s match starts at 6.30am SA time. 

The squads for Sunday are:

South Africa: 

Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis (capt), Aiden Markram, JP Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Reeza Hendricks, Junior Dala
Sri Lanka: 

Niroshan Dickwella, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dhananjaya  de Silva, Angelo Mathews (capt), Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Prabath Jayasuriya, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Kusan Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan, Dusan Shanaka, Upul Tharanga.

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Sri Lanka look to stay alive after opening-day loss

After falling to a crushing 137-run defeat in the Asia Cup 2018 opener against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka will be keen to get a win under their belt in their final group-stage game against Afghanistan.


Sri Lanka v Afghanistan

Dubai International Cricket Stadium,

DubaiAsia Cup, Group BMonday,

17 September, 3.30pm local, 11.30am GMT

Angelo Mathews and his men will take on Afghanistan in a must-win fixture for them in Dubai – the five-time champions have not had the best start, and need their batting to step up against Ashgar Afghan's team, who have a number of quality spin-bowling options. 
Afghanistan, meanwhile, will look to start their campaign in the six-nation tournament with a victory. They have not defeated Sri Lanka in a one-day international yet, losing both their previous encounters, and will want to change that statistic. They enter the tournament on the back of series wins against Zimbabwe and Ireland, and will be bustling with self-confidence. 

While Sri Lanka bowled well to bowl Bangladesh out for 261 on Saturday, their batting could not rise to the occasion. Dilruwan Perera top-scored with a 44-ball 29 and the highest partnership (29) was put up by him and Suranga Lakmal for the eighth wicket. Mathews will expect his batsmen, himself included, to get it right.

Afghanistan, too, will be careful with the bat against Sri Lanka. The only loss they incurred in the ODI series against Ireland came because of a batting failure, when they capitulated for 182. The responsibility will fall on the likes of Rahmat Shah, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Shahzad and Najibullah Zadran, who have exhibited fine form in limited-overs cricket this season. In the other half, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman should make for a riveting spin-bowling trio, but they will need the cushion of runs on the board. 

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan will be the key to Afghanistan's success in the tournament 

For Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga made a great comeback to the national team with a four-wicket haul against Bangladesh. The pacer looked fit and hungry, and dismissed Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun, and Mosaddek Hossain in his 10-over spell. Dhananjaya de Silva, who picked up a brace with his off-spin, will also be an integral crux of the Sri Lankan bowling attack, as must Akila Dananjaya. 

Key players

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan): Khan, who is at No. 2 in the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Rankings for bowlers, will be the key to Afghanistan's success in the tournament. The 19-year-old bagged the Player of the Series award against Ireland last month and is expected to get assistance from the slow and dry pitches in the United Arab Emirates. How his spell against Sri Lanka goes will be a major factor in determining the result of the encounter.

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka): The 35-year-old showed why he was once one of the most feared bowlers in world cricket in Sri Lanka's opener against Bangladesh. Malinga will be the key against Afghanistan's top-order and he might have to do it again at the death too. The four wickets he picked up against Bangladesh will give him self-assurance ahead of the Afghanistan clash.

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Navy rules the waves to secure a number of wins at Dunlop Bell Sailing Regatta

The Dunlop Bell Sailing Regatta organized by the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka was successfully conducted in the alluring waters of Bolgoda Lake on 22nd July 2018.
The event was contested by 52 sailors along with 40 yachts, representing a number of sailing clubs including the Navy Sailing Club, Colombo Motor Yacht Club, Royal Colombo Yacht Club and fledgling sailors from Royal College in Colombo and St. Thomas’ College in Mt. Lavinia. During a range of events held as part of the competition, the following yachtsmen of the Navy took major honours securing 1st, 2nd, 3rd places and several other positions.
Laser Standard
Chief Petty Officer               WAR Nishanta                      1st
Leading Seaman                   KGCUS Bandara                  2nd
Leading Seaman                   SWMJ Weerasekara            3rd
Laser Redial
Leading Seaman                   PDDS Rajapaksha                1st
Petty Officer                         JMPL Jayasooriya                3rd
Able Seaman                         PNPK Dissanayake             4th
Leading Seaman                   WAS Weerathunga             7th
Petty Officer                         KVN Dimal                           1st
Able Seaman                         DTS Perera
Petty Officer                         WPUS Kumara                      2nd
Leading Seaman                   AMJP Aththanayake
Leading Seaman                   KWGE Danushka                 3rd
Able Seaman                         KSK De Silva
Petty Officer                         DTSK Silva                           4th
Leading Seaman                   KAN Kithsiri
Leading Seaman                   WADR Kumara                    5th
Ordinary Seaman                 LACM Gunathilaka
Women Able Seaman          PLD Malkanthi                     6th
Women Ordinary Seaman   WPTL Karunarathna
GP 14
Petty Officer                         NGMU Ganawardana          1st
Able Seaman                         AC De Soyza
Leading Seaman                   WMC Marambe                    2nd
Able Seaman                         APSK Soyza
Leading Seaman                   DMRPH Dissanayake          4th
Petty Officer                         RMSL Rathnayake
Petty Officer                         NGMU Ganawardana          1st
Able Seaman                         AC De Soyza

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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Navy wins Defense Services Women's Hockey Championship 2018

Sri Lanka Navy won the Defense Services Women's Hockey Championship 2018, beating its Army counterparts during the final match held at the Torrington hockey turf, Colombo yesterday (14th September). The Navy women took the full control of the game to come away with a 2-0 win.

Meanwhile, Woman Able Seaman WMPV Wijesuriya of the Navy was adjudged the best player of the final and Woman Able Seaman GGG Damayanthi won the award for the player of the series.

Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka Army, Major General Dampath Fernando presided over the prize awarding ceremony as the Chief Guest. The Chief of Staff of the Navy, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva, President of Sri Lanka Navy Hockey, Captain Aruna Tennakoon and a host of senior officers from the tri-services were also present on this occasion.

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World Cup 2022: Qatar bid team accused of secret campaign to sabotage rivals

The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team ran a secret campaign in 2010 to sabotage competing host bids, according to a report published by the Sunday Times.

The paper claims to have seen leaked documents that show the Qatari bid team employed a US PR firm and ex-CIA agents to smear its rivals - mainly the United States and Australia. The alleged aim was to create propaganda to give the impression that a World Cup would not be supported domestically. The Qatar tournament organisers deny the allegations.

Such a campaign alleged by the Sunday Times would have broken Fifa's bidding rules.

Qatar beat rival bids from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan to the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

Fifa's rules say World Cup bidders should not make "any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association".

The Qatar bid team has been previously accused of corruption, but was cleared following a two-year Fifa inquiry.

Some of the alleged aspects of the smear campaign:A respected academic was paid $9,000 to write a negative report on the huge economic cost of an American World Cup, which was then distributed to news media around the world.

Journalists, bloggers and high-profile figures were recruited in each country to hype up negative aspects of their respective bids.
A group of American physical education teachers were recruited to ask their US Congressmen to oppose a US World Cup on the grounds that the money would be better used on high school sports.

Grassroots protests were organised at rugby games in Australia opposing the country's bid.

Intelligence reports were compiled on individuals involved in rival bids.

The documents seen by the Sunday Times - which the paper says were leaked by a whistleblower who worked on the 2022 bid team - were apparently unavailable during the Fifa inquiry.

The Qatar bid team is alleged to have employed the New York office of communications company Brown Lloyd Jones, which is now BLJ Worldwide, along with a team of former intelligence officers to run a campaign aimed at undermining one of Fifa's key criteria in the bidding process - that each bid should have strong backing at home.

In a statement Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it "rejects each and every allegation put forward by the Sunday Times".

"We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by US attorney Michael Garcia," it said.

"We have strictly adhered to all FIFA's rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process."

A Fifa statement said "a thorough investigation was conducted by Michael Garcia and his conclusions are available in the report", referring to the completed two-year inquiry.

BLJ Worldwide did not respond to a request for comment from The Sunday Times.

Qatar won the right to stage the tournament in December 2010. Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup at the same time, beating three other bids including England.

Source : BBC

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Sri Lanka prove too strong for Singapore as they triumph 69-50 in Asian Championship final

A rampant Sri Lanka outplayed Singapore 69-50 on Sunday in the final of the M1 Asian Netball Championship held at the OCBC Arena to win their first Asian title since 2009.

The young Sri Lankan side showed that they had the depth to complement their 2.08m goal-shooter Tharjini Sivalingam with three other players in the starting XI standing over 1.8m.

"I'm so proud of my team now and I'm very happy," said a jubilant Sri Lankan captain Chaturangi Jayasooriya after the game as her team-mates waved back joyously and blew air kisses.

"Without all of you, I would not be able to achieve this goal (as captain). I would like to thank our coaches as well, and of course the Sri Lankan fans here today."

The two teams were tied at 16-16 after the first quarter with goal-attack Charmaine Soh and goal-shooter Sivalingam in fine fettle for Singapore and Sri Lanka respectively.

But, with the game finely balanced, it was Singapore who blinked first.

Netball 1Singapore's GK Chen Lili (2nd left) and GD Melody Teo (4th left) attempt to intercept a pass to Sri Lanka's GS Tharjini Sivalingam. Sivalingam. ST PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI 

Momentum appeared to have swung the way of the hosts at 20-18 with 12 minutes left in the first half when goal-shooter Lee Pei Shan had the opportunity from point-blank range to put Singapore up by three after Sri Lanka had botched a pass to Sivalingam at the other end.

But Lee, 18, missed to let the opponents off the hook as Sri Lanka regrouped to score seven unanswered goals and take a 26-21 half-time lead. It was a lead they never relinquished as Singapore struggled against Sivalingam on one end, and 1.83m Jayasooriya and 1.86m Gayani Dissanayake (the goal-defence and goal- keeper) at the other.

In an earlier match, Malaysia had beaten Hong Kong 52-46 to claim third place.

As the top two teams, Singapore and Sri Lanka have automatically qualified for the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.

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Dimuth K. carries bat to leave Sri Lanka, South Africa Test evenly poised

Sri Lanka opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne struck a defiant unbeaten hundred on his return to the side to give the hosts a fighting first innings total in the opening Test against South Africa.The 30-year-old carried his bat through the Sri Lankan innings to remain unbeaten on 158 as the hosts finished on 287 after stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal won the toss and chose to bat in the first of the two-Test series.

dimuth k
Sri Lankan opening bastman Dimuth Karunaratne, right, celebrates scoring a century. Photo: AP 

South Africa lost opener Aiden Markram to veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to reach four for one at stumps. Dean Elgar and nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj were at the crease.

The hosts' regular captain Dinesh Chandimal has pleaded guilty to a disciplinary breach during the side's second Test against West Indies last month and has opted to sit out of the series against South Africa.

The International Cricket Council, the world governing body of the sport, is due to announce a verdict in the case soon.

On a turning surface at Galle, it was fast bowler Kagiso Rabada who did the maximum damage for the touring side with four wickets for 50.
Left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi, playing only his second Test, returned figures of 3-91.

Former pace spearhead Dale Steyn, returning to the South African team from injury having last played a Test in January, picked up the wicket of Kusal Mendis for 24 to trigger a mini collapse.

Rabada removed former captain Angelo Mathews and Roshen Silva in the same over as the hosts lost three wickets for four runs to be left reeling at 119-5.

Experienced Karunaratne, back to open the batting for the hosts after missing the West Indies tour due to injury, stitched together meaningful stands with Niroshan Dickwella, who made 18, and Lakshan Sandakan, the duo adding 63 for the last wicket.

The left-handed batsman hit 13 fours and one six during his 222-ball unbeaten knock.

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