|Modern chess club on top
by Ravi Nagahawatte
Modern Chess Club of Kandy reigns supreme, in the ongoing Inter-club Zonal Chess Championship, by winning the Kandy Zone at the Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya Hall in Kandy recently.
The winners, who topped the table with 27 points out of a maximum of 30, now qualify to play in the final round, along with St. Sylvesters College and Kandy Chess Club, who ended second and third respectively. Both were tied with 22 points each.
The final round of the tournament is scheduled to be held in February 2001.
The matches for the Colombo Zone will commence this weekend at the Chess Federation headquarters in Reid Avenue.
The matches for the Galle players, which were postponed from the initially set date, have been rescheduled for January 19-21.
Sport Shooting Association (SSA) wins a national titles
Dr. Jayaraj Nanayakkara of the Sport Shooting Association (SSA) emerged as the National Champion - Standard Division, competing against far more experienced Shooters from the Armed Forces and the Police, including the STF at the National Practical Pistol Shooting Championship, which was conducted by the National Rifle Association (NRA) from 23rd to 26 November 2000 at the new Shooting Range Complex of the Commando Regiment of the SL Army at Ganemulla. The Open Division Championship was won by Sgt. Sunil Premathilake of the SL Air Force, who is one of the most experienced International Practical Pistol Shooters in the country. The winner of the Womens Championship was LAC Inoka Weerasinghe, also from the SLAF, who has proved once again that she can compete consistently on equal terms with the Open Division Mens Shooters, by finishing 2 Overall, ahead of all male Shooters except the Mens Open Div. Champion, which is an outstanding performance by her.
Dr. Jayaraj Nanayakkaras achievement in winning the National Championship in the Standard Div. as a civilian is unprecedented, being comparatively new to the Sport and competing with an out of the box Production Pistol made by Glock, against highly sophisticated, modified and expensively customized Pistols used by the Armed Forces and the Police. Dr. Nanayakkara also won the Std Div. Range Officers Championship. As a busy airline pilot he has very limited time for practice and being a civilian he is faced with severe restrictions in regard to the availability of ammunition and range facilities for training. Furthermore, for the first time in the history of Practical Pistol Shooting the civilian category was scrapped and civilians, though severely handicapped, opted to compete for the same trophies as the competitors from the Armed Forces and the Police, who are provided with the most sophisticated firearms, unlimited ammunition for training and free access to well equipped Ranges.
15 year old Jonathan Jilla, Reza Odayar and Shankar Dharmaratne, representing the Sport Shooting Association (SSA) won the Open Division Junior Championship and the Open /Std Div. Novices Cships, respectively. The Open Div. Senior Cship was won by Sarath de Zoysa, who coached the SSA team. Also shooting for the SSA, Simon Lourensz and Monte Holsinger were runners-up in the Novices and Senior categories respectively. Apart from Sarath de Zoysa, who is not only the most experienced International Practical Shooter in the Country, but also the only International Range Officer and former National Coach, it augurs well for the Sport of Practical Shooting to find that talented young civilians are making their mark in a sport that has hitherto been dominated by the Armed Forces and the Police. It has to be pointed out that Dr. Nanayakkara won the Standard Division National Championship with just 3 days of practice and that Major Janaka Ritigahapola who is serving in the North, finished as 2nd Runner-up in the Open Div with only one days practice, which no doubt are praiseworthy performances. However, this situation raises a serious question in regard to the prospects of our Practical shooters at international level, where competitors train and compete almost daily, throughout the year.
Now that it has been decided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to introduce Practical Pistol Shooting at the Athens 2004 Olympics, the National Rifle Association (NRA) should take the initiative to solicit the support of the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) to facilitate and encourage the participation of more talented civilian shooters, particularly at junior level, in order to infuse the much needed new blood into this exciting but highly restricted sport. There is no doubt that talent is available but it has to be identified in the right perspective. Sri Lanka has won International Championships in this sport in the past and there is no reason why it cannot be repeated if the necessary resources, facilities and effective training are made available, to potential world class shooters, with the objective of participating at the next Olympics.
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