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Observer- Bata awards:

St. Peter's and Kegalu Vidyalaya - a bagful : Development of youth will benefit country - Aravinda

Gihan Rupasinghe of Nalanda College Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year All-Island 2006 receives award from Raphael Mollo, Managing Director Bata Shoe Company. He was also the Best All-rounder.

Rohan Saliya Tennekoon of Kegalu Vidyalaya, the winner of the Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2006 receives award from Raphael Mollo, Managing Director, Bata Shoe Company. He was also the Best Bowler.

Lahiru Peiris - the Best Batsman in the All-Island Contest receives award from Mr. Anil Obeysekere, Chairman Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. He was also the runner-up in the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest - All Island.

The champion St. Peter's College team had a field day with a major share of the awards in the All-Island Contest at the Observer-Bata School Cricket Awards show on Wednesday.

The cherished Best Team award for the whole island, Best Batsman's award (Lahiru Peiris), Best Bowler's award (Lakshan Rodrigo) supported by runners-up awards - Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year - Lahiru Peiris and Best Allrounder - D. G. Udugamsooriya.

Gihan Rupasinghe of Nalanda won the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and he also got the Best Allrounder's award.

In the Outstation Contest, Kegalu Vidyalaya had a field day with many awards being won by their schoolboys.

Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year: Saliya Tennekoon (Kegalu Vidyalaya), Best Batsman: J. A. A. S. Jayasinghe (Kegalu Vidyalaya), Best Bowler: Saliya Tennekoon (Kegalu Vidyalaya), Best Bowler (runners-up - S. P. L. Pathirana (Kegalu Vidyalaya), Best Fielder: J. A. A. S. Jayasinghe (Kegalu Vidyalaya), Best Allrounder (runners-up): R. S. Karunaratne Kegalu Vidyalaya).

Sri Lanka's explosive batsman of a few years ago - Aravinda de Silva was a very welcome guest at the 28th Observer-Bata Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards ceremony at the BMICH.

De Silva paid glowing tributes to both the Observer and Bata Shoe Company for keeping the show going for over 25 years.

Sponsors are vital for the progress of sports in a country and especially having contests of this nature and it helps the authorities to look after the youth in this country.

"Development of youth is very important as they are the ones who will take the country forward." said Aravinda de Silva.

He said that a lot of hard work has been put into school cricket in this country.

The masters-in-charge, the coaches, the sponsors, parents and even the groundsmen have all put in solid work to upgrade the standard of the game at school level. He said that when he was a young boy his father encouraged him a lot and this backing has had the desired results.

"My father used to take me to a ground when I was a small boy around 2 p.m. and used to bowl at me and that is the sort of encouragement that I received. My mother used to tell me to concentrate on my studies, which for some reason or other I did not like," he said.

The former Sri Lanka vice-captain to Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva said that his father did not apply pressure on him in the game of cricket.

"This is a lesson for parents - please do not put pressure on your children." he said. Aravinda de Silva said that ups and downs will come one's way in the cricketing career, but one must not get disheartened but keep pegging at the game.

"Targets should be set and the youngsters must work towards the targets" he said and added that he wanted to become the best batsman in the country, not merely in the team. One must learn to work with people and that's the way he did and it proved to be a success.

Team united

Lakshan Rodrigo of St. Peter’s College - the Best Bowler in All-Island Contest receives award from Romesh Kaluvitharana.

J.A.A.S. Jayasinghe of Kegalu Vidyalaya - the Best Batsman Outstation receives award from Kumar Dharmasena. He also was the Best Fielder.

C. U. Herath of Ananda College (Best Fielder All Island) receives award from Romesh Kaluvitharana.

Hans Fernando - Captain of St. Peter’s College, receives award for the Best Team All-Island from Aravinda de Silva

Speaking about his playing days, he said that the year that Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996, the country did not have a very great team, but the team was united and that brought out the best from the players and each one contributed his share so that Sri Lanka did well to win the most cherished title in the game of cricket.

"I got so much out of this game and I like to give something back to the game that I love so much. I like to support a cricketer or club so that the game will go forward." quipped Aravinda de Silva.

Batas Managing Director Mr. R. J. Mollo who made a beeline for the show no sooner he returned to the country from a visit to Wellington, New Zealand, said that he was particularly happy to be present at the show because he was a cricket fan. "I have been in Sri Lanka for eight months now and have seen for myself the high standard that this game has reached in this country.

It has been a please to see the high standard at junior level and also at national level. Sri Lanka is one of the biggest cricket playing nations in the world and the future seems bright for the game.

Mr. Mollo held out a promise.... to help the youth of the country, "I have followed Sri Lanka's cricket for a long time before I came here. It was a great honour for Sri Lanka to win the World Cup in 1996, through the country is small compared to the other countries. He said that his home country - New Zealand too is a small country like Sri Lanka and both can perform well in the game.

Help youngsters

Mr. Anil Obeyesekere - Chairman of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited , said that the Observer-Bata tie-up has been in existence for 28 years and that the competition is a forerunner in helping the schoolboys to perform well. He said that competitions of this nature help the young cricketers to perform well.

With this competition catering to cricketers right round the country the cricketers blossom out from the schools and are ready to accept the challenges from the outside world of cricket.

He signalled out the achievements of the first Observer-Bata Schoolboy Cricketers of the Year (1979) - Ranjan Madugalle, who has gone on to become the Chief Match Referee - of the International Cricket Conference.

He captained the Sri Lanka team too. Then there was Arjuna Ranatunga - who won the main award in 1980 and 1982 and Ranatunga went on to captain the Sri Lanka team that won the World Cup in 1996.

There was Muttiah Muralitharan - the Antonian who won the cherished award in 1990. Now Muralitharan is a world figure in the art of spin bowling and before that there was Roshan Mahanama who won the top award in 1983 and 1984 and the winner in 1990 Marvan Atapattu went on to captain Sri Lanka and though injury held him back recently, Atapattu is back in the Sri Lanka team at the Champions Trophy cricket tournament being held right now in India.

Mr. Obeyesekere also thanked the umpires who officiated at the matches and said they were in charge of the selections in this contest. The umpires are the best judges of the game.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service

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