Wins World Carrom Championship
Sri Lanka creates history
by Roshen Steelman

After a very long wait that ran for four long years, Sri Lanka emerged the overall champions in the menís category of the 5th World Carrom Championship which was worked off in Cannes, France, from February 13 to 17.

The Lankan slicers created a major upset by defeating India, the reigning champions, in the final.

Eleven countries including Pakistan, England, India, Japan, France, Switzerland, USA and Malaysia took part in the tournament while India was the most challenging team.

Sri Lanka menís team comprised Chamil Cooray, Nishantha Fernando, J. Gunawardena and Viraj Fernando, while the womenís team comprised Amitha Wickramasinghe and two upcoming talents from Sumana Balika Vidyalaya, Ratnapura, Yashika Rahubadda and Udeshika Kumari.

The Indian team includes world champion R.M. Shankara, world number two R. Aeokia Raj, M. Nataraj, Sandeep Deorukhkar, Yogesh Pardesi and D. Kubendra

Cooray defeated Yogesh Pradesh of India 2-1 to give the Lankans a 1-0 lead and then Nishantha Fernando beat Sankara 3-0 to bag the overall championship in the menís category at this World Carrom Championship.

K. Nadarajah of India managed to win the last encounter beating J. Gunawardena of SL 3-0, but that win could not stop Sri Lanka creating history by winning their first ever World Carrom Championship.

National top-ranked player Cooray, who defeated the current top ranked player of the world, Yogesh Pradesh, said: "Sri Lanka is the champions now for the next four years. Now the people will know carrom as a sport and it is the most successful thing we could achieve after all, I could assume. We have won the runners-up position during last four years and this is the first time that we have won the title at the World Championship."

The 23-year-old, who is an old boy of St. Johnís College, Nugegoda, continued adding: "Nayana Wickramasinghe, my mother, is the current number three ranked player and Amitha Wicramasinghe, who was in the successful womenís team, is my aunt. So I had a good background for carrom at my home front from the very young ages. Thatís the reason why I picked carrom as a sport."

Nishantha Fernando who beat R.N. Sankara, former well-known carrom player, said: "I was not happy about the way we prepared because we had to leave for the World Championship this time without any sponsors and as a sport, carrom didnít have the right place here in Sri Lanka at the time we left. Now, by winning the world Championship, I hope that the game will get its right place and I hope it should be there for the years to come."

He continued saying: "I must thank ĎFinance and Grantee Group,í for offering me a car, and my coach Ranjan Fernando and all the people who helped me."

"I am happy that we won the world Championship and I knew that one day we will win it and this was the right time to win that prestigious title. We had so many problems when we left the island. We didnít have a sponsor and we had problem with our visas as well but, anyway, after all those challenges, we have now created history by winning the ultimate championship in this sport," said team manager Langeley Mathaez.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka won the runner-up position in the womenís segment while England won the third place in the menís category.



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