Matale Zahira College bags junior hockey title
Matale Zahira College junior stickers, once again brought glory and honour to their 'alma mater' when they beat Isipatana College - Colombo by 4-0 and won the junior hockey title in the all-island schools boys under 15 - hockey finals played recently in Kandy.

Sri Lanka Schools Hockey Federation organised and conducted this tournament. Matale Zahira were the joint champions last year - 2001. In the final M. Fahade, M.H.M. Azam, J.M. Ramzan and K. Razmi scored a goal each for the champions.

. Wijesinghe and A.H. Bandara umpired. Matale Zahirians, coached by former National Player Indrawansa Herath remained unbeaten on their way to the finals and showed that they are tactically superior to all their opponents.

Led by Mohamed Azam, they excelled in every department of the game not only to score the highest number of goals (34) in the tournament but also to beat all the teams except one giving them no chance to score above zero.

Thuhashini in US Amateur golf finals
By Nilika de Silva
Sri Lanka's Thuhashini Selvaratnam, did well in qualifying for match play at the US Golf Amateur Championships 2002. "Tui" as she is better known in the US golf scene, Selvaratnam was placed 35th among the first 64.

She entered the Finals of the US Golf Amateur Championships having been placed second in the State of Arizona during the qualifying rounds played last month.

The 102nd US Women's Golf Amateur Championships 2002 was played in Scarborough, New York from August 12 to 17, and was contested at the 6,190-yard, par-71 Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Open to female amateur golfers who have USGA handicap indexes not exceeding 5.4, the U.S. Women's Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Giving exposure to young talent
Third annual Western Rugby Football Union's under 21, 15-a-side league tournament has given that much-needed exposure to talented players to indulge in competitive rugby.

Mohan Balasuriya, President of the WPRFU, told The Sunday Times the game has spread its wings even to the districts. But where are the playing opportunities for the youngsters to continue. The motive behind the WPRFU, to organise this tournament for the creation of more Clubs at grassroots level and for the schoolboys in the district to take to the sport rather than sit on the bench after they leave school.

Some of the talented players are lost to the game even at national level. They have no opportunities of indulging in competitive rugby, (A' div. rugby). Mass participation is a must if the game is to be developed, put aside winning trophies.

Today even the 'A' league has failed to add that much-needed spark and fire other than Kandy S.C. who have retained the title without much sweat. The much look forward to CR-Havies match (second-leg) at the 'Park' put the game to shame with a handful of spectators, barring the two teams and officials. The fans have lost interest.

It's open to the Private Sector teams, too. Those wishing to participate should contact the WPRFU Secretary on or before Aug. 31 at 7A, Reid Avenue, Col. 7. The tournament will be held from Sept. 24 to Oct. 12.

The WPRFU should be commended for organising this tournament - even for clubs to be formed temporarily to be in surface and play. The Rugby Union must help the new clubs to be formed with men and material.

But the crying need is a playing field for the less affluent clubs to practise. The youthful Minister of Sports, Johnston Fernando, has promised to fulfil this need for both football and rugby at Race Course. It is a crying need but still has to become a reality.

The Minister is an ardent supporter of rugby. He must act quickly. What the poor players need is a playing field - not air-conditioned rooms for them to change. The future of the sport is with them who put their heart out, rather than indulging in social rugby.

A good example is the Services players, who hail from the rural districts. They learnt the basics after joining the Services. This is what the WPRFU is striving to do with this tournament (under-21) to uplift their image. - BW

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