17th September 2000
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The Teams - Clifford Cup final

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Go Kandy go but, Army look out 

By Bernie Wijesekera and Jatila Karawita 
With a talented young outfit, defending Clifford Cup champions Kandy SC gave a heart warming performance when they outplayed CR & FC by 33-12 to enter the final. They will meet Army in the final at Nittawela today.

Fittingly there should be a big crowd to support them today. The soldiers gave a sterling performance to defeat 'A' league champions CH & FC on the post 25-24 after trailing 24-13. 

Army led by stand off Ajith Peiris created, one of the finest upsets in local rugby when they knocked out league champions CH & FC by 25-24 in the first semi final on Wednesday. They will go into Clifford Cup final today, as dark horses hell bent on turning tables on their opponents.

The robust and gutsy soldiers, who turned out a terrific display of power-packed rugby in toppling favourites CH, who only recently clinched the league title, spoke much for their die-hard attitude of not giving up, until the last minute of injury time.

They thus gave credence to their motto, 'Jayaniyathai' (certain of victory) as the forces team staged a remarkable come-back from the dead, twice within a week, to deservingly book their place in today's knock out final which promises to be a classic do-or-die encounter for the prestigious Clifford Cup.

Army knocked out the challenge posed by Havelocks, by the barest possible margin of 24-23, in a pulsating quarter-final game and last Wednesday, continuing from where they left off, the never-say-die soldiers vanquished the newly crowned league champions, who had visions of going for a double this year, to create the shock of the season. 

Army's forte this season, has been the ravaging power-play of their forwards, who have by now clearly become the envy of their rivals.

With players of the class of S.K. Udayakumara, Rajapakse, J. Jayasuriya, H. Karunarathne, M. Madurasinghe, Jayathileke, R. S Fernando and granite hard B. M. Dharmapala in the pack, the soldiers will go for an all out onslaught, with a view to taking the upperhand in the game.

The Army 'eight', is reputed to be fiery in their loose play and this will no doubt, test the strength of their opponents this evening.

Their backs are also a determined set of tacklers and speedy runners of their own, and if three quarters as skipper Ajith Peiris, Vajira Jayathileke, Kapila Knowlton, K.W. Vijitha, Nimal Wijesiri and the pint sized full back T A Silva, combines effectively with their champion set of forwards, Army should go all the way to, lay their hands on the coveted Clifford Cup today.

The soldiers coached this season, by former New Zealand 'All Black' international Chris Flannery, and with the necessary backing given to the players, by the energetic rugby committee headed by Chairman former Sri Lanka scrum half diminutive Jupana Jayawardene, the ruggerites from the battle front, will come up by leaps and bounds, to stake a claim, for the glittering and a worthy Clifford Cup final.

KSC look a well-knit side led by dazzling Indrajit Bandaranayake, who is in fine fettle. He scored two dandy tries against CR with sheer speed. KSC fielded a team of youth with experience against CR & FC. It paid dividends. The end result was that they were able to last the pace which proved a decisive factor. 

The new look halves combination Pushapakumara and Sajith Mallikaratchie showed up well in the CR game. The 'eight' look solid with line-out artiste Asoka Jayasena towering high, supported by Hettiarachie and M. Silva. The KSC has a sleek backline with schoolboy C. Withanage, Indrajit Bandaranayake playing as second inside and wingers R. Hettiarachie and Sameera Silva are good runners.

In the last line, Kandy has the edge over their rivals. Playmaker Nalaka Weerakkody is playing at his peak, be it in attack or in defence. 

His booming kicks to touch when under pressure helps the team's cause immensely. His kicking from the last line reminds of former Trinity and Havies star Glen Vanlangenberg. 

Weerakkody's ability to fire the spot kicks will be an asset to KSC's cause to retain the title. Though Kandy has the edge, the soldiers possess a granite hard defence to contain them. Army could upset their plans. Undoubtedly the soldiers are the team of the season. 

The security arrangements was excellent for the CR game. 

Of course there was catcalls and jeering that's part and parcel of the game. 

Kandy S.C. (from) - J. Galgamuwa, M. Buksh, K. Dias, A. Jayasena, Hettiarachie, Kapila Silva, C. Yapa, M. Silva, J. Pushpakumara, S. Mallikaratchie, S. Withanage, I. Bandaranayake(Captain), Sameera Silva, R. Hettiaratchie, Nalaka Weerakkody, A. Lokusuriya, S. Kuthus, S. Bogahawatte, N. Ibrahim, R. Wickremasinghe, L. Wijesuriya, refere- Dilroy Fernando.

Army XV for the final- Jayathileke, Rajapakse, S K Udayakumra, J N Jayasuriya, R S Fernando, Herathge Karunarathne, Colin Rodrigo, B M Dharmapala, P G Wijesinghe, Ajith peiris ( Capt), Mohammed Naushad, K W Vijitha, Vajira Jayathileke, Kapila Knowlton, Nimal Wijesiri, and T A Silva.

Thorpe cracks Olympic 400 freestyle record

SYDNEY, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Ian Thorpe gave Australian fans reason to cheer on Saturday by breaking the Olympic record in the men's 400 metres freestyle heats on the opening day of the eight-day swimming programme at the Sydney Games.

The 17-year-old Australian did not over-exert himself in the morning heats but still produced sufficient pace to swim the eight lengths of the Homewood Bay pool in three minutes 44.65 seconds, inside the 3:45.00 Olympic record set by Russian

Yevgeny Sadovy at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

But Britain's Paul Palmer, silver medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Games, failed to make the final, finishing third in his heat and 10th overall in 3:51.06. And Thorpe's Australian team mate Grant Hackett 1998 world championship silver medallist behind Thorpe cut it fine, taking the eighth and last place for the evening's final in 3:48.91.

Italy's Massimiliano Rosolino posted the second-fastest aggregate time of 3:45.65 in winning his heat pretty quick compared with everyone except Thorpe, who toyed with his race and did not bother to wear the full bodysuit he will use in the final.

"It was pretty good. I was pretty happy with that," Thorpe said. "I tried to be as comfortable as I could just so I can get the best out of myself tonight." Thorpe, who became the youngest men's world champion in 1998 when he won the 400 freestyle at the age of 15, was cheered to the echo by flag-waving Australian fans as he came in for his heat. He was a body-length up on European champion Emiliano Brembilla at the 100-metre mark, then allowed the Italian to draw closer before kicking away at the end of the race. South Africa's Ryk Neethling was third-fastest overall in 3:48.08, with Brembilla fourth on aggregate in 3:48.41. 

McMahon wins triathlon gold 

Switzerland's Brigitte McMahon won a gold in the women's Triathlon in the 51.5 KM.swim,cycle held around the Sydney Harbour and the city centre on the first day of the 27th Olympic Games in Sydney yesterday.

The first gold for Australia was a silver by Michelle Jones who finished a close second with Switzerland's Magali Messmer taking the bronze. 

McMahon clocked 2 hours 4O seconds with Jones following behind just 2 seconds away and Messmer third with a time of 2 hours 1 minute 7 seconds.

USA won their first gold medal in the 1O metre women's rifle shooting event through Nancy Johnson and 17-year-old Cho Hyun Kang of South Korea took the silver and China's Gao Jing bagging the bronze. Incidentally Kang equalled the Olympic record of 397 out of 4OO in the qualifying round and was suprisingly had beaten into second place. 

Hot favourite Sonja Pfeilschifter of Germany finished fifth after a poor start. The Australians pair, Sue McCready and Lindy Imgrund did not qualify for the final missing out by two points. Ian Thrope swimming in his first Olympics erased the Olympic record in the 4OO metres freestyle event touching in at 3 minutes 44.65 seconds and thus improving the record by .O35 seconds. 

Ian's new record bettered the Russian Evgeny Sadovyi's record set up at the Barcelona Games.

ATHLETICS- Marion Jones admits that she is not a superwoman and luck permitting anyone could beat her. 

VOLLEYBALL- Tania Gooley and Pauline Manser of USA came from behind to beat the Australian pair by15points to 13 at the Bondi beach. 

The Aussie duos are themselves to blame going down having led 11/6 at one state.

BASKETBALL- Australia with better co-ordination beat Canada in-group match by 76 points to 46. 

HOCKEY- gold medal contenders Germany were upset by several umpiring decisions being held to a 1 all draw by New Zealand.

FENCING- Australian fencer Gerry Adams beat the highly ranked Carlos Pedroso of Cuba 15/213 to advance to the final 32.

TABLE TENNIS-Australians Judith Herczig and Jia Liu were beaten by the Chinese pair of Miao Miao and Shirley Zhouu 21/13,21/17.


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