Saturday, January 02, 2010

President to felicitate Sanath, Murali and Susanthika

Three sports stars who have brought honour and fame to the country with their stupendous performances on the sports field-sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe and cricketing legends Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan will be felicitated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a ceremony at the Sports Development Department, Torrington Square at 9 a.m. today.

President Rajapaksa will present Gold Mementos each worth nearly Rs. One million to the three sporting legends for their achievements on the sporting field.

The President who was the head of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka in 1997 and 1998 gave all the support and encouragement to the Sri Lankan athletes and in August 1997 Susanthika bagged a Silver Medal in the IAAF World Championships in the 200 metres event in Athens, Greece.

Three years later Susanthika did Sri Lanka proud by winning a bronze medal in the 200 metres event at the Sydney Olympics - only the second Sri Lankan to do so after Duncan White won a Silver Medal in the 110 metres hurdles event at the 1948 London Olympics.

Last month the International Amateur Athletic Federation decided to award Susanthika the Silver Medal after Marion Jones’ Gold Medal was withdrawn after she was found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs.

Cricketing legend Sanath Jayasuriya revolutionised one-day cricket along with his partner Romesh Kaluwitharana with their pinch hitting (hitting the ball over the close in fielders in the first 15 overs when there were field restrictions) in the 1996 World Cup.

He was adjudged the most valuable player in the World Cup and played a key role in helping Sri Lanka to win the biggest trophy in world cricket. In the following year he scored an epic 340 for Sri Lanka in a Test against India at the Premadasa stadium putting on 576 runs for the second wicket with Roshan Mahanama (225) - a world record stand.

Last week he completed 20 years in International cricket having made his debut against Australia in a One-day International at Melbourne on December 26, 1989. He has the distinction of registering Sri Lanka’s highest individual score in One-day Internationals with 189 against India at Sharjah in the year 2000.

Off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan the finest bowler in the history of Test cricket surpassed Shane Warne’s world record of 708 Test wickets last year.

He bagged 16 wickets against England in August 1998 at the London Oval test which gave Sri Lanka a historic win over England in which game Sanath Jayasuriya scored a superb 213.

The President will also lay the foundation stone for the renovation of the Sports Ministry grounds at Torrington Square which includes a new synthetic track at a cost of nearly Rs. 300 million for the benefit of Sri Lankan athletes who are training at the venue.


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