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The Sports Express – October

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Cricket

  • The Indian Premier League group stages concluded on the 3rd of November, with Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils taking up the top 2 spots on the table with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad taking up the remaining playoff spots. The past month saw a lot of unforgettable moments including Shikhar Dhawan becoming the very first batsman to score back-to-back IPL centuries, a wonderful century by Ben Stokes and a Chris Gayle 99. However, the most memorable day of the group stage came on the 18th of October when Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkatta Knight Riders went to a super over with KKR emerging victorious. This was tipped by the next match which saw not one but two super overs with Kings XI Punjab finally emerging victorious over the Mumbai Indians helped by an acrobatic Mayank Agarwal effort on the boundary.
  • The draft for the inaugural Lankan Premier League took place online with several local and foreign players up for grabs. Although the draft had its fair share of hiccups the squads were finalized with some notable picks being Chris Gayle for the Kandy Tuskers, Shahid Afridi for the Galle Gladiators, David Miller to the Dambulla Hawks. Unfortunately, the announcement of the England tour of South Africa caused Faf Du Plessis and David Malan to pull out of the tournament. However, the franchises are optimistic about finding quality replacements. The tournament is scheduled to start on the 21st of November
  • The Women’s Big Bash League and the Sheffield Shield signalled the beginning of domestic cricket in Australia, with all the Sheffield Shield matches being played in a hub in Adelaide and the WBBL being played entirely in Sydney. During the second round of the Sheffield Shield Marcus Harris and Will Pucovski broke the record for the highest partnership in the history of the competition putting on 486 runs for Victoria against South Australia, breaking the 30 year old record of the Waugh Twins for New South Wales against Western Australia.

Football

  • The English Premier League ended the month with defending champions Liverpool returning to the top of the table following consecutive defeats to Everton and Aston Villa, both of whom had won their first 4 games. Leicester City and a Tottenham Hotspur buoyed by  rampant Harry Kane and Heung Ming Son follow closely with Manchester City yet to discover their best form
  • Real Sociedad took a surprise  early lead in La Liga with Real Madrid close behind. Barcelona are struggling in 12th place, following no wins in their previous 4 matches.
  • Inter Milan with a brilliant Zlatan Ibrahimovic got off to a strong start in Serie A, with defending champions Juventus still finding their groove under new manager Andrea Pirlo.
  • Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund share top spot in the Bundesliga table with RB Leipzig following close behind
  • The Champions League returned with Bayern Munich getting off their title defence with 2 consecutive wins. Other notable results included Real Madrid getting shocked by Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona beating Juventus missing Cristiano Ronaldo due to his Covid-19 diagnosis.
  • Deeply unpopular Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his entire board resigned from their positions with an interim board being appointed to run the club until elections to select a new president can be held.

Tennis

  • Rafael Nadal continued his dominance at the French Open, winning the title for the 13th time out of 15, demolishing world number 1 Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the finals. This title took Nadal to the top of the ladder of most Grand Slam victories in Men’s Tennis, equalling Roger Federer on 20 titles.
  • Iga Swiatek became the first Polish player and the youngest woman since Monica Seles in 1992, to win a grand slam title with her victory at the French Open following a victory in the final against Sofia Kenin. 

Cycling

  • Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia, one of the 3 grand tours following a thrilling time-trial final stage which he entered tied at the top alongside Jai Hindley. This was his first grand tour title 

F1

  • It was all returns this month with F1 returning to some old locations
  • F1 returned to Germany, and it returned back to the iconic track of the country in the greens, the iconic track of Nurburgring. It’s been 9 years since the last time F1 raced on the track.
  • The Eifel GP was the first time we saw a Mercedes retire the car in the entire season. Even if Bottas didn’t have his luck on the track Lewis Hamilton equalled the all-time record for the most race wins in F1. Which was held on by the all-time great Michael Schumacher. He was Followed by Max Verstappen and in a very long time the Smiling man Daniel Riccardo 
  • The Australian had a bet going on with his Team Principal, That if he gets a podium this season his boss will get a tattoo and we were assured the tattoo will be coming.  
  • With Lewis Hamilton equalling the record, He was presented with a race helmet of Michael by his son Mick Schumacher which is now considered an iconic moment in F1. 
  • F1 also returned to Portuguese 1996 and the first time at Portimão Circuit. Lewis Hamilton now holds the record for the most wins in a season. He was accompanied by his teammate and the Redbull driver of Max Verstappen on the podium.
  • With the Portuguese GP, Mercedes were set to win their 7th consecutive Constructors Championship where just one car had to finish the race in 4th.
  • The next race was held in the historic circuit of Imola. This was the circuit that claimed the lives of  Aryton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in the 1994 San Marino GP.
  • The Emilia Romagna GP had a special weekend format of just 3 days rather than the usual two. Where Friday was media day, Saturday was practice (1.30 hrs) and qualifying and Sunday as race day.
  • This weekend format was an experiment to see if it could be done in the future where the FIA is planning to do 25 races a year.
  • While Valtteri Bottas was successful in grabbing pole from his teammate and got to lead the first stint of the race, with Hamilton switching strategies and being lucky with a VSC Lewis Hamilton collected his 93rd win in his F1 career.  While Valtteri Bottas could make it a 1-2 finish for Mercedes, Daniel Riccardo got his second podium of the season 2nd Podium in 2 races and he did not forget to do his iconic ritual the Shoey where Lewis Hamilton joined in which was a surprise.
  • Even though the Australian got lucky with Max Verstappen retiring from the race after a tyre failure he had to work hard to keep his place as Danil Kyvat was Hot on his tail at the closing stages. With many happy scenes in the paddock, one moment left all the fans heartbroken as George Russell was on set to get his first points in F1 but he went off to a wall behind the safety car trying to warm up his tyres. 
  • With Mercedes getting a 1-2 finish they are now mathematically  Double World Champions. Winning their 7th consecutive Double World Championships and Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas the only drivers able to win the Drivers Championship.  
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FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – September

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Cricket

  • The Indian Premier League started on the 19th of September with all matches being played in 3 stadiums in the UAE; Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in front of no crowds. Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Mumbai Indians got off to strong starts with the early matches having notable performances including KL Rahul’s 132 runs off just 69 deliveries for Kings XI Punjab against RCB, Rahul Tewatia’s unforgettable cameo including 5 sixes off one Sheldon Cottrell over propelling Rajasthan Royals to a record-breaking run chase against Kings XI Punjab as well as the emergence of young players such as Devdut Padikkal, Priyam Garg, Shubman Gill and Sam Curran.
  • The Sri Lanka- Bangladesh 3 test match series that was scheduled to be played in October has been indefinitely postponed after the Sri Lanka Cricket Board and the Bangladesh Cricket Board disagreed on quarantine requirements.
  • The Lankan Premier League which was originally scheduled for the 14th of November was pushed back one week to the 21st of November as the original dates did not allow for the Covid-19 quarantine period
  • England and Australia played a T20I and ODI series with the T20I series finishing 2-1 in favour of England while the ODI series was won by Australia by the same margin. The series was memorable for England snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the 2nd ODI, after strong lower-order performances propelled them to a reasonable total before Australia collapsed from a strong position and a mammoth partnership between Alex Carey and Glenn Maxwell taking Australia to a series victory in the deciding ODI.
  • Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy, the First Class Tournament that replaced the County Championship for this year. Essex drew with Somerset in the 5-day final at Lord’s, winning the championship on account of scoring more runs in the first innings on the back of an Alistair Cook century. This loss means that Somerset’s wait for a domestic First Class trophy continues, with the club not having won the county championship since acquiring first class status in 1895, despite coming close on numerous occasions
  • England Women and West Indies women took part in a 5-match T20I series with England Women running out 5-0 winners with strong performances from Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Sarah Glenn

Football

  • The Premier League got underway on the 12th of October, with Liverpool emerging 4-3 victors in the opening match against newly-promoted Leeds. After the first 3 weeks, Everton has emerged as a surprisingly strong team buoyed by new signings, especially that of 2014 world cup star, James Rodriguez. Other notable signings included Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon arriving at Tottenham Hotspur, Donny Van Der Beek to Manchester United and Thiago Alacantara to Liverpool
  • The 2020/21 La Liga season also got underway. Barcelona were able to keep star player Lionel Messi even after he had expressed a desire to leave the club but was unwilling to enter into a legal battle with the club regarding his contract. Atletico Madrid strengthened their team by the arrival of Luis Suarez. After the month of September, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have all got off to reasonable starts.
  • The 2020/21 Serie A season started with Juventus under new manager, Andrea Pirlo aiming to win their 10th consecutive title. Inter Milan under Antonio Conte will hope to be title challengers along with Napoli.
  • The Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-German and Olympique Marseille, dubbed ‘Le Classique’ for the rivalry between the teams ended in a surprise 1-0 victory to Marseille. The result was marred by an on-field brawl which saw 5 red cards shown, including one for PSG star player, Neymar
  • The 2020/21 UEFA Nations League got underway with defending Champions Portugal getting their title defence underway with a 4-1 victory over Croatia

Cycling

Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia became the youngest winner of the Tour de France since 1904, and the first winner to be on debut since 1983. He achieved this feat by overhauling pre-race favourite and countryman, Primoz Roglic on the time trial on the penultimate day of the race in an incredible performance.

F1

  • The FIA imposed a rule on teams that they can use only one engine mode from the start of qualifying till the end of the race which will be from the Italian GP. 
  • This was done in order to slow the Mercedes team down and close up the Pack.
  • Gasly wins the Italian GP for Alpha Tauri with Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll finishing as 2nd and 3rd respectively.
2020 Italian Grand Prix Top Three Press Conference | GRAND PRIX 247
  • The Tuscan GP was next and it was the 1000th Grand Prix race for Ferrari with Ferrari running a special livery for the race and the iconic safety car also getting a colour change from Silver to Red.
  • It was announced that Sergio Perez will not be racing with Racing Point (Aston Martin from next season) and Sebastian Vettel will be taking his seat.
  • Lewis Hamilton won the Tuscan Gp with Valterri Bottas 2nd and Alex Albon getting 3rd and his first F1 career podium with it.
  • The Tuscan GP was also a race we saw having multiple red flags, with a safety car restart going wrong for the drivers behind the pack and creating a massive crash involving 4 cars. Luckily no one was injured.
  • The last race of the month was the Russian GP. Lewis Hamilton was given 2×5 second penalties for doing practice starts outside the designated area. Which made the race of his teammate a bit easier and since his win on the season opener, Valtteri Bottas collected his 2nd win of the season
  • With the Russian GP, standings were as follows. Lewis Hamilton has a 44 point lead over his teammate and Valtteri Bottas has a 33 Point lead on Max Verstappen. As for the constructor’s standings, Mercedes is very clear of any potential threat from a rival team getting their place on top with a 174 point lead to their closest rival Redbull Racing.
Mick Schumacher to debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 at the Eifel GP - TV6  News
  • As for the rumours Mick Schumacher son of the 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher might be in for a seat at a Ferrari powered car next season, probably in Alfa Romeo.
  • On F1 records, Lewis Hamilton is just 1 race win short of matching the all-time win record of 91 wins currently held by Michael Schumacher.

Tennis

Dominic Them became the first male player born after 1990 to win a grand slam, beating Alexander Zverev in the US Open final. Pre-tournament favourite Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the quarter-finals after hitting a line judge. In the women’s tournament, Naomi Osaka won her 3rd grand slam and 2nd US open title after defeating former world number 1, Victoria Azarenka.

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FeaturedISKnow Your Culture

Know your culture – Sri Lanka

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The Pearl of the Indian Ocean, the Paradise Island, the Teardrop of India. Whatever you like to
call this beautiful island, Sri Lanka holds pride in a very diverse culture. From its written history
dating back to three thousand years ago with the colonization of the Western World, to Sri
Lanka being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, it’s no surprise to see some of the world’s
most unique combinations of culture on this island.

Sri Lanka has got most of its culture from its neighbouring country India, with Sri Lanka’s written
history starting with King Vijaya embarking from India. This was the beginning of the influence of
North Indian cultures. With the introduction of Buddhism during the reign of King Dutugemunu,
the base of Sri Lankan culture was built. 

Sri Lanka is not a country with just one ethnicity and has been influenced by various parts of
the world. The country has similar yet different cultures practised around the island. A few to
name would be, the Kandyan culture, Sabaragamuwa culture, Southern culture, Northern
culture and Western Culture. While these cultures have their similarities, they also have their
unique differences. 

Sri Lanka is also a trilingual country with Sinhala, Tamil and English being the main languages.
Sinhala is a language unique to Sri Lanka. Yet, the present-day Sinhala has many words which
were influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and English.
Sri Lanka has many cultural holidays. The “Sinhala and Tamil New Year” is the most popular
one of them and falls around the 14th of April. Also referred to as the festival of the Sun-God, it
celebrates the Sun travelling a full cycle around the star constellations, bringing a dawn of a
new year. This is the time of the year where Sri Lankans visit their hometowns, buy new clothes,
and shower each other with gifts. Spending time together with everyone in the family while
playing games and making “Avurudu treats” is something people of all ages enjoy doing during
the Avurudu holidays. It’s a very festive season and one of the longest and relaxing holidays in
Sri Lanka.

Next up is Vesak. The festival falls in the month of May and commemorates the birth,
enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha. By this time of the year, the streets are lit up
with spectacular decorations. Colourful pandols, lanterns and candle-lit buckets take up the
cities. Sri Lankans also give Dansal during this time, which is offering free food and drinks to
anyone who passes by.

Speaking of food, it is a must mention that Sri Lankans always give a good spin to food. A plate
of food in Sri Lanka is always colourful. Since the staple food of the country is rice, the country’s
main go-to food is rice and curry, where rice is served with vegetable curries, greens and fish or
meat, prepared with spices to add even more flavour to the dish.

The street food of Sri Lanka is
also famous. The youth’s favourite food known as Kottu, is made with a type of roti cut into
small pieces and mixed with eggs, vegetables, cheese and curry. This is a must-try for anyone
of all ages!

If you’re into a light meal Sri Lankans have got you covered there as well. Hoppers and string
hoppers made with rice flour, would make you a light yet satisfying breakfast or dinner in Sri
Lanka. Although the name suggests they might be the same, the techniques of making them
are different and so are they in taste. 

For the sweet tooth’s out there, Sri Lankans also offers many teats to please you. Starting off
with a popular dessert, the Curd and Treacle combo is sweet and milky. Watalappan is another
dessert made with treacle, and loved by everyone.

Entertainment also holds a massive place in the culture. With the influence of the Dutch, Baila
was formed where the songs are very upbeat and energetic while the dancing could be anything
your body feels right. It always has a special place at any party or event and is always
mesmerizing to watch and dance.

We also hold pride in our traditional dancing. The most
famous is the Kandyan dance, where dancers dress up in red and white robes with traditional
drums being played in the background. It’s mostly seen at every perahera that takes place in the
country, but is most common in the months of July.

Sri Lanka also has dances influenced from
India called Bharatha Natyam dancing which is also a colourful dance, which tells a story
thorough the performance.
That is the culture of Sri Lanka. Hope you get a good understanding on Sri Lanka and the
people who make it a very rich and beautiful country.

Rtr. Theekshana Gunasekara

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FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – August

Sports express august cover

Cricket

  • The England vs Pakistan test series took place during the month of August. In the first test match, Pakistan batted first and achieved a first-innings lead of 107, courtesy of a Shan Masood century before collapsing in the second innings and leaving England a chase of 277, which they achieved with 3 wickets left, mainly due to a crucial partnership between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes. Both the next two matches were rain-affected draws with the 3rd test match notable for Zak Crawley’s epic 267, as well as James Anderson, becoming the 4th bowler overall and the 1st pacer to reach the milestone of 600 test match wickets. England won the series 1-0. Jos Buttler and Mohammed Rizwan were named man of the series
  • The T20I series between the two countries ended in a 1-1 draw as the first match was washed out, the second was won by England before Pakistan won the 3rd match. Mohammed Hafeez was named man of the series.
  • The Lankan Premier League was postponed after Sri Lanka Cricket was unable to get government permission to hold the tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket expects to hold the tournament later in the year.
  • The Caribbean Premier League got underway with all matches being played in Trinidad in only 2 stadiums; The Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium and Queen’s Park Oval. All matches would take place behind closed doors. At the end of August, Trinibago Knight Riders remain top of the table, winning all their matches.
  • Thabang Moroe, CEO of Cricket South Africa was fired with immediate effect after being suspended nine months earlier. The South African Cricket administration is facing scrutiny after financial mismanagement as well as recent accounts of black and coloured players recalling unfavourable experiences while playing for the national team
  • Dinesh Chandimal posted the highest score in Sri Lankan domestic cricket history with 354* for Army Sports Club against Saracens Sports Club, breaking the previous record held by Kithruwan Vithanage. Colombo Cricket Club had secured the championship of the Premier League Tier A Tournament at this point. Lahiru Udara of NCC finished as the highest overall run-scorer while Duvindu Tilakaratne of BRC was the highest wicket-taker. Moors Sports Club secured the Plate League
  • India which was scheduled to host the 2021 ICC World Twenty20 tournament retained hosting rights while the 2020 tournament, scheduled to be held in Australia but which was postponed due to the pandemic was pushed to 2022. The ICC Women’s ODI World Cup scheduled to be held in New Zealand in 2021 was also postponed to 2022

Football

  • The UEFA Champions League resumed in the month of August with all matches ( except the round of 16 ties not yet completed ) to be played at neutral venues in Lisbon, Portugal. Atlanta advanced into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history and RB Leipzig made it into the semis for the very first time, both teams eventually getting knocked out by PSG. Bayern Munich became the first time to score 8 goals in a Champions League knockout game, defeating Barcelona 8-2 before beating Lyon in the semi-finals to set up a final against PSG. The final at the Estadio Da Luz was decided by a Kingsley Coman goal as Bayern Munich won the title for the 7th time in their history, winning all their games in the process. Robert Lewandowski finished as the top scorer
  • The defeat to Bayern Munich caused huge consequences at Barcelona, with the coach, Quique Setien as well as the Sporting Director, Eric Abidal being sacked by the club before star player Lionel Messi also expressed his desire to leave the club.
  • The UEFA Europa League also came to an end with all knockout matches from the quarter-finals onwards being played at neutral venues in Germany. Sevilla and Inter Milan defeated Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively in the semi-finals. The final was held at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne and Sevilla won 3-2, following a Romelu Lukaku own goal in the 75th minute. Sevilla won the Europa League title for a record 6th time with Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United finishing as the top scorer ( he also scored for Sporting CP in the tournament )
  • Arsenal won the FA Cup for the 14th time, defeating Manchester City 2-1 in the final thanks to a double from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.  
  • Manchester City had their 2-year ban on playing European Football due to breaching Financial Fair Play(FFP) regulations overturned by the Court of Arbitration of Sport after they found that UEFA had insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the conclusions that resulted in the ban.
  • Ligue 1 became one of the first European football leagues to resume for the 2020/21 season, starting on the 21st of August.
  • Manchester United captain and England international Harry Maguire was arrested while on holiday in Greece after reportedly assaulting police. He was found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest and given a suspended prison sentence of 21 months which he is appealing against stating that he is innocent of all charges.

Athletics

  • Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda broke the 16 year world record of Kenenisa Bekele in the 5000m, a record which was previously thought to be near unbreakable, He achieved this at the Monaco Diamond League posting a time of 12:35:36, beating the previous record by almost 2 seconds.
  • Karsten Warholm ran the second-fastest 400m hurdles of all time in Stockholm with a time of 46.87 seconds, only behind Kevin Young’s world record of 46.78 set at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

F1

  • The British GP was held in Silverstone where we saw a lot of tyre failures occur at the end of the race with Lewis Hamilton winning the race with just 3 wheels, Max Verstappen 2nd and a very lucky Charles Leclerc in 3rd after Bottas had a tyre failure.  
  • During the British GP, Sergio Perez was tested positive with Covid-19 and had to sit out of 2 races which made the German driver Nico Hulkenburg to race for the Racing point team.
  • The following week the 70th anniversary GP was held at Silverstone again where F1 had their 1st F1 race back in 1950.
  • The tyre supplier Pirelli made the choice to go with softer tyres in spite of the failures in the last GP and it made a very interesting race with people doing 2 and 3 stops to make it to the end.
  • Max Verstappen won the race ahead of the two Mercedes, becoming the first winner of the season who was not in a Mercedes car.
  • Next up was the Spanish GP held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where F1 pre-season testing happens in the month of February.
  • Max Verstappen managed to split the two Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton collecting another win.
  • After a week’s rest for F1 after a Tripleheader, F1 came to Belgium on the stunning track of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. 
  • Lewis Hamilton took another win with his teammate finishing 2nd and Max Verstappen in 3rd.
  • In off-track news, Bottas to stay at Mercedes till 2021 while Lewis Hamilton says it’s not a good time to negotiate such a huge deal.
  • Vettel and Ferrari are not having the greatest time as there seem to be flames between the two parties. 
  • All the teams signed the concord agreement to have equal budgets in developing the car.
  • Williams team was sold to a private investment company but the contract agrees to race with the legendary name
  • FIA put out a new rule banning engine modes and from the Italian GP onwards only one single engine mode should be used from Qualification to the end of the race.
  • F1 announces the final calendar for 2020 with races in Portugal, Turkey and two races in Baharin with the second being on the outer circuit of the track (We will see sub 1 minute laps) with Abu Dhabi being the season finisher for 2020 on December 13th.
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FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – July

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Cricket

  • Live cricket returns with the England vs West Indies series.
  • Ben Stokes becomes England’s 81st test match captain after Joe Root is unavailable for the game due to the birth of his son.
  • West Indies win the first test match to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
  • In the second test match, England fights back through a Ben Stokes century to level the series 1-1.
  • In the series decider, Kemar Roach becomes the first West Indies bowler in 26 years to reach the milestone of 200 test match wickets.
  • Stuart Broad becomes just the 7th bowler in history to reach the milestone of 500 test match wickets after dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite in the second innings.
  • England wins the deciding test match to regain the Wisden trophy with a 2-1 scoreline.
  • The ICC ODI Super League is launched, 1 12-team competition with the top 7 teams gaining direct qualification to the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup. The first series in the league between England and Ireland is starting on the 30th of July.
  • The ICC decides to postpone the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup to 2021.
  • The IPL will be starting on the 19th of September and will be hosted by the UAE.
  • Sri Lanka Cricket announces the launch of the Lankan Premier League, starting on the 28th of August.

Football

  • Real Madrid wins La Liga for the 34th time after defeating Villarreal 2-1.
  • La Liga ends for the season with Real Madrid as the champions. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla qualify for the Champions League. Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Granada qualify for the Europa League while Leganes, Mallorca and Espanyol are relegated.
  • Liverpool wins the league title for the first time since 1990, and for the very first time in the Premier League era.
  • The Premier League ends with Liverpool as the champions, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea earning Champions League qualification. Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for the Europa League while Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth are relegated.
  • PSG win the Coupe de France, defeating St.Etienne 1-0 in the final. However, Kylian Mbappe is injured ruling him out for 3 weeks.
  • Juventus win the Serie A title for the 9th year in a row, defeating Sampdoria 2-0.
  • The Ballon D’Or is cancelled for the year 2020 with no player being awarded the title for the year.
  • Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 2004 with West Bromwich Albion joining them in the top flight.

F1

  • July 5 – 2020 Formula 1 season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix.
  • July 5 – The Austrian GP was held at the Redbull Ring, Valtteri Bottas won from pole position with Charles Leclerc 2nd and the first time podium sitter Lando Norris 3rd.
  • July 13 – The Styrian GP was held at the Redbull Ring. It was the first time ever in F1 history that a Grand Prix was held at the same track twice on the same season. Lewis Hamilton collected his first win of the season in pole position with his teammate and possible main championship rival Valtteri Bottas finishing 2nd with Max Verstappen finishing 3rd.
  • July 19 – The Hungarian GP was held in the Hungaroring in Budapest. The race started with a damp track with Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz getting great off the line starts and the Haas team making a good gamble changing from wet tyres to mediums before the start of the race. The podium positions were, Hamilton 1st, Verstappen 2nd and Bottas 3rd.
  • The US, Mexican and Brazillian GPs have been cancelled.
  • F1 announces 3 races in Italy, F1 returns to the Nurburgring.
  • Fernando Alonso comes back from retirement.

Olympics

  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics which were scheduled to be held in this month has been postponed to 2021.
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FeaturedISJoint ProjectsOur Projects

Must Visit Destinations in Mohali

places in mohali

The time, I’m writing this blog, is usually when the intensity of the IPL reaches its pinnacle, but unfortunately not this year. The first thing I know in Mohali is the Kings XI Punjab team and its glorious home stadium, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. But our collaboration with the Rotaract club of Mohali gave me the opportunity to explore more about this splendid city of Punjab.

Mohali is majorly inhabited by the Punjabi and Sikh community, so the gurudwaras here are worth paying a visit. A Gurdwara or Gurudwara, which has the meaning “door to the Guru”, is a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs. One of the best religious places to visit in Mohali is the Amb Sahib Gurudwara. The white coloured Sikh Shrine is a fine example of the Sikh architecture and a peaceful place to visit. 

Gurudwara Amb Sahib | Attractions in Chandigarh Mohali and Panchkula

Amb means mangoes in Punjabi, which is very similar to amba in Sinhala and ambiram in Tamil, and the religious place is named after the sacred mango tree which bears sweet fruits throughout the year which are served as prasad to the devotees. Legend has it that Guru Har Rai Ji, who was the 7th of the ten gurus of Sikhism, blessed the place. It was the guru’s wish and command that the tree bears fruits all through the year; a wish that has continued to this day and is nothing short of a miracle given that mango is a seasonal fruit. 

A recommended destination for nature lovers is the Sukhna Lake. It is actually located in the town of Chandigarh which is lying North-East of Mohali. Moreover, this is a manmade lake which was created by damming the Sukhna Choe stream that flows down from the Shivalik Hills. The splendour of nature attracts hikers, photographers and painters towards the scenic beauty of this lake. The spot is also favourable for water sport activities like skiing, surfing and sculling. Especially during winter, exotic migratory birds settle around the lake making it a delight for birdwatchers.

Sukhna Lake | Attractions in Chandigarh Mohali and Panchkula
beautiful experience with family - Review of Sukhna Lake ...

Situated alongside the Sukhna Lake is the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. This is a massive 40-acre exhibition of art pieces and sculptures. Also known as Nek Chand’s Rock Garden; this masterpiece is an outcome of creative imagination and fifty years of single-handed labour by a government official Nek Chand in his spare time. Having a total of about 5000 statues within its bounds, this sculptural project is a true example of ‘Best From Waste’ as these pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals are made from urban and industrial wastes such as discarded pieces of broken pottery, bottles, auto parts, plumbing materials, street lights, electrical fittings, broken sanitary ware and so on. This has now become a long-standing symbol of the city.

Rock Garden | Attractions in Chandigarh Mohali and Panchkula
Rock Garden Chandigarh Images, Photos of Rock Garden Chandigarh ...

Another serene destination of the city is the Dr. Zakir Hussain Rose Garden. This was named after India’s former president, Zakir Hussain and it is surmised as one of Asia’s largest rose gardens. The garden is said to be home to various beautiful plants including several hundred species of roses and medicinal plants. Walking through it is a true delight as the rose plants have been planted in neatly laid out flower beds. It’s appealing to watch the well-planned garden with paths for walking and jogging, an open-air gym, play area for kids and a small library. The most popular event at this garden is the Rose Festival that is held in February each year. Competitive events of varying nature like flower cutting and flower arrangement, landscaping, photography and Rose prince and princess take place.

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Another must-go-to place is the tallest victory tower of India, the Fateh Burj. This memorial acknowledges the spirit and courage of the Sikhs. It was here that Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, one of the most respected Sikh warriors, won a decisive battle against Wazir Khan, commander of the Mughal army. Along with the tall stature, the memorial includes six mounds with the statues of Banda Singh Bahadur and his five generals, delivers a picturesque view which mesmerizes everyone who sees it.

Fateh Burj Chappar Chiri | Attractions in Chandigarh Mohali and ...

Rtr. Jegatheesan Gowthaman 

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Must Visit Destinations in Sri Lanka

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Anuradhapura currently serves as the capital city of the North Central Province and is considered the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura was established around a cutting from the ‘tree of enlightenment’, the Buddha’s fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is a haven for Buddhist worshipers in Sri Lanka. 

sri-maha-bodhiya-Anuradhapura – JK Travels
Sacred City of Anuradhapura – Sri Lankan Tour Guides

Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, thought to be once the epicentre of the short-lived kingdom of Kassapa, and there are spellbinding vistas across mist-laden forests in the early morning.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress - 【Lakpura LLC】

Situated in the Southern Sri Lankan Coast in the Bay of Galle just 132 KM from Colombo, the Galle Fort is one of the most extraordinary historical and archeological sites of the world. The fort was first constructed by Portuguese in the late sixteenth century and fortified expansively by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century. It is a stunning blend of archeology, architecture, and history in the backdrop of the tropical atmosphere. Its appeal lies in that it is not just a historical monument. 

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Legend states that after Lord Buddha was cremated following his death, his remains were distributed among the different realms for worship. Apparently of all these remains, his four canines were the holiest of all.

Of the four canines; the right canine was supposedly taken for worship by the King of Gods, another canine was taken by the king of the land Gandhara (an area which now is Pakistan), while the third was taken by the Nagas (snake people) who worshipped it in a golden shrine room, and the final left canine was given to the King of Kalinga in East India. The golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. During Puja, the heavily guarded room housing the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. However, one can’t actually see the tooth. It’s kept in a gold casket shaped like a Dagoba (stupa), which contains a series of six Dagoba caskets of diminishing size.

Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy - 【Lakpura LLC】
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Yala National Park is located in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka and extends over two provinces of Hambantota district of southern province and Monaragala district in Uva province. The entrance to the park is at Palatupana, 12km from Kirinda. The distance from Colombo to the entry point of Palatupana is 305 km. The rocky outcrops scattered over the park provide vantage points to enjoy the sprawling areas with Sri Lanka’s dry zone landscape: low scrub and woods. Still more, the southern border of the park being the south-eastern coast, the brackish lagoons and dunes enhance the distinctive charm of the Yala National Park.

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-Rtr. Amiteshwar Pratap Singh (Rotaract Club of Mohali)

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3131, 3220 Inter District Youth Exchange Program

IDYEP – Website (1)

It was nearly after three weeks of waiting that our delegates from Pune, India were to arrive in Sri Lanka on the 16th of October, for the Inter-District Youth Exchange Program (IDYEP). This was a joint project organized by the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School and 13 other Rotaract Clubs.

The responsibilities to entertain the guests throughout their five-day stay were divided among all host clubs. Arrangements were made to pick them up from the airport and welcome them to the country. However, the members of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School were to meet our guests for the first time on the 17th, for a joint meeting followed by dinner.

It was a Thursday evening, a usual meeting day for the Rotaractors at Achievers, although the crowd and the excitement were much bigger. Over a hundred members from the host clubs, as well as a few members from the district, were present for the meeting. The Rotaract Club of the University of Peradeniya, although not being present physically, did not forget to join us through Skype.

Our five guests from Pune arrived soon after, and the Rotaract District Representative Rtr. Krishan Balaji warmly welcomed them on behalf of the clubs. A formal meeting was conducted followed by the usual proceedings. The audience was briefed on the upcoming projects of the host clubs, by their respective presidents. Rtr. Krishan Balaji also addressed the gathering and appreciated the presence of our guests. He emphasized on the importance and value of such projects, in building better friendships and cultural understanding across borders, and thanked the host clubs. One of the guests also spoke on behalf of the others and thanked the clubs for having them. She mentioned that they had a lovely stay in Sri Lanka so far and that it was a beautiful country with very hospitable people. The meeting was adjourned with that at about 7.30 PM, for fellowship.

However that was not the end of the evening, or rather, it was just the beginning. There were quite a few ice breakers planned before the crowed could set out to dinner. The Rotaract Club of Colombo Mid Town was ready with a quiz for the audience, which boosted the spirit in everybody. The members of all clubs and the guests were divided into teams so that they could mix with new people, and the quiz was conducted. The members participated enthusiastically (and maybe a little competitively) and it was made to be a very fun-filled evening.

This was followed by an open mic session organized by the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School. This was unsurprisingly featured by Rtr. Thisura, our very own Secretary. Due to time constraints, we had to keep it short to a few minutes. Nevertheless, Thisura never fails to entertain a crowd when a mic is given to his hand!

The night was getting darker and the crowd was getting hungrier, but everyone was still busy. The Presidents were exchanging Letter Heads with the foreign clubs, and the members were busy grabbing photographs and having their last-minute catch up with our guests who were to leave for Kandy the next morning. Finally, after a long session of mingling, the crowd made up their minds to set out to dinner.

The dinner was organized by the Rotaract clubs of Achievers Lanka Business School and Colombo Uptown and was held at Dutch Burgher Union, which was within walking distance from Achievers. Members from the two organizing clubs and few others joined, and everybody enjoyed a delicious Sri Lankan cuisine together. After another hour or so of more chatting and photographs, we had to put an end to the night.

We had to say our good-byes to our friends, as they were not returning back to Colombo. It was indeed a difficult good-bye, as they had touched our hearts deeply during their short stay. However, we could not be more grateful for their visit, the little things learned, memories created, and friendships enhanced!

Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

 

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Sinhala and Tamil New Year

sinhala and tamil new year -Website (1)

The Sinhala and Tamil New Year (Aluth Avurudu in Sinhala) is a very important occasion for both Sinhala Buddhists and the Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka. The uniqueness of this occasion is the celebration of the beginning of the New Year as well as the ending of the old year at the auspicious times stated by astrologers.

There is also a time period in between, which is called the ‘Nonagathaya’ (neutral period). During this transition time, the Sri Lankans are encouraged to refrain from routine actions and engage solely in religious activities. People stop all their day-to-day activities and visit the temple to accrue merit and get blessings from almighty.

Rituals begin with a bath on the last day of the old year and viewing the moon on the same night. People apply ‘nanu’ on their head and body before bathing. This is believed to have a purifying effect on the body and the soul.

The New Year is celebrated with boiling milk in a new clay pot, symbolizing prosperity as the milk spills over from all sides of the pot. After that, milk rice is cooked. A number of traditional Sinhala sweetmeats such as ‘Kokis‘, ‘Aasmee‘, ‘Kewum‘, ‘Aluwa‘ and ‘Weli Thalapa‘ are also prepared to serve near and dear ones.

The family table on the New year Day

At the temple, the villages gather to have anointed oil on their heads by the head priest. This ritual is also performed at their own homes, where the oldest family member anoints the herbal oil on the heads of other family members.

Applying oil on the forehead during the auspicious time.

When departing for work people wait for the auspicious time to leave and begin their chores in the New Year with zeal and vigor.

   Rtr. Amiteshwar Pratap Singh

 

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