Ave Maria, Negombo ends Colombo supremacy in girl-schools’ tennis

Wins Arjan Perera Memorial All Island Tennis Title



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Ave Maria Convent, Negombo U-14 Tennis Team: (from L-R): Mrs. Pushpa Perera, Teacher-in-charge of Tennis, Vishmi Serasinghe, Ashanthi Seneviratne, Anjalika Kurera, Ranara de Silva and Danuli Mendis. (Pic by Kamal Wanniarachchi)


by Revata S. Silva


Ave Maria Convent, Negombo beat leading Colombo schools to win the All Island Under-14 Inter School (Girls) Tennis title for this year’s Arjan Perera Memorial Trophy last Sunday, June 11, at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) courts in Colombo.


Many leading schools, particularly the more affluent, traditionally rich and broad-based girl-schools in the metropolis, took part in this tournament, organised by the SLTA.


Ave Maria, on the contrary, could emerge from an outstation to be a decisive force in the senior age categories (starting from Under-13) by winning this event. The school has been a force to reckon with, in the Under-10 age group earlier.


How Ave Maria fared -


In this year’s Arjan Perera Memorial Tournament, the participating teams were divided into two Groups with the top two in each Group qualifying for the semi-finals. In the semis, the leading team in each Group met the 2nd-place winner of the other Group.


In Group ‘A’, Ave Maria, Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya (HFC) ‘A’, Visakha Vidyalaya ‘B’ and Musaeus College ‘Yellow’ took part in.


In Group ‘B’, Visakha ‘A’, HFC ‘B’, Methodist College and Musaeus ‘Blue’ participated.


Ave Maria qualified to the semis as Group ‘A’ winners while Visakha ‘B’ finished 2nd. In Group ‘B’, Visakha ‘A’ and Methodist became first and second respectively. Thus, in the semi-finals Ave Maria met Methodist College.


Methodist got off to a fine start with Tuvini de Alwis winning the 1st Singles match. Then Anjalika Kurera brought Ave Maria level with the opposition by winning the 2nd Singles. In the deciding match however, Kurera partnered Ashanthi Seneviratne to win in the Doubles to carry them to the finals where they met Visakha ‘A’.


In this much-anticipated finals, Tharani Alexander got Visakha off to a perfect start winning the 1st Singles. Anjalika Kurera again made it one all before partnering Seneviratne to record a hard-fought victory in the deciding Doubles.


The School Officials -


The Principal of Ave Maria Convent, Rev. Sr. Sharmila Jayawardena and its Vice Principal, Sr. Sudarika Fernando were instrumental in driving the tennis programme to greater heights with the help of the long-time Teacher in-charge of tennis in the school, Mrs. Pushpa Perera.


Ave Maria got the services of Dinith Pathiraja as their Head Coach this year. Pathiraja, coach of many National players, has been the force behind Ave Maria’s quest for becoming a leading tennis playing school in the island.


By virtue of this victory, Ave Maria became probably the first outstation school to break the long-time dominance enjoyed by Colombo, particularly in senior age group categories, in Sri Lankan girl-schools tennis.


Former Bangladeshi Davis Cup player Sri Biplob Ram and Pasindu Sampath are the assistant coaches of Mr. Pathiraja.


With the present team, its support staff and their vigorous supervision, Negombo’s Ave Maria is expected to be a strong contender in inter-school tennis in years to come, too.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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