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    Tennis selection lands in Appeal Court

    April 07, 2019

    The Ministry of Sports has been forced to reverse an earlier directive to exclude 15-year-old Nehara Weerawansa from the Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania final qualifying 2019 after her parents took legal action to overturn Nehara’s exclusion from the tournament.

    The Court accordingly terminated the case when Sumathi Dharmawardene, the Senior Deputy Solicitor General appearing for the Ministry of Sports., cited the Sports Minister’s decision to approve the original decision of the national tennis selectors, discarding an earlier directive by the Director General Sports to exclude the player concerned.
    But the matter did not end there with Asanga Seneviratne–a Vice President of the National Olymic Committee (NOC) challenging the “flawed” selection process which denied his daughter Alana a place in the touring squad.Alana, the younger sister of Anika, a leading tennis player in the island, did not compete at the selection trials held on February 19 due to her busy sports schedule. According to the father, she was in the midst of a A grade Clay Court tournament at the SSC and also training with the national U-21 netball team.
    Thus, he had asked for a change of date of the trial which the selectors refused. In the meantime, Seneviratne, a sportsman himself, had made an official complaint to the Minister of Sports challenging the selection process whereby, following an inquiry, the Ministry advised the selectors to exclude Nehara Weerawansa from the squad despite playing the trials and winning them.
    The argument, however, was that Nehara who is pursuing her tennis career in Barcelona in Spain, had not played competitively for two years in Sri Lanka and did not have the national or international rankings to boast of. A promising player, she was out of action in 2018 due to a wrist injury which had required surgery.
    This prompted Nehara’s parents to take the matter to Court and, with the Sports Minister reversing his decision following legal advice, the case was terminated on Friday. However, a decision on the Writ Application (CA 151 of 2019) filed by the Seneviratnes challenging the selections will be delivered on April 10 with April 8 set for written submissions. The three member team is due to depart for the tournament on April 13.
    This is, however, not the first time that tennis selectors were challenged in Courts. Last year, Savini Jayasooriya’s parents went to Court after their daughter didn’t make it to the final squad for the Asian Games despite being initially selected to the squad. The Court of Appeal gave a verdict in favour of Savini. But even though she made the tour, she did not play a single match. This was despite the Court issuing clear instructions to include her in either in women’s doubles or mixed doubles.

     

    The Ministry of Sports has been forced to reverse an earlier directive to exclude 15-year-old Nehara Weerawansa from the Junior Fed Cup Asia Oceania final qualifying 2019 after her parents took legal action to overturn Nehara’s exclusion from the tournament.
    The Court accordingly terminated the case when Sumathi Dharmawardene, the Senior Deputy Solicitor General appearing for the Ministry of Sports., cited the Sports Minister’s decision to approve the original decision of the national tennis selectors, discarding an earlier directive by the Director General Sports to exclude the player concerned.
    But the matter did not end there with Asanga Seneviratne–a Vice President of the National Olymic Committee (NOC) challenging the “flawed” selection process which denied his daughter Alana a place in the touring squad.Alana, the younger sister of Anika, a leading tennis player in the island, did not compete at the selection trials held on February 19 due to her busy sports schedule. According to the father, she was in the midst of a A grade Clay Court tournament at the SSC and also training with the national U-21 netball team.
    Thus, he had asked for a change of date of the trial which the selectors refused. In the meantime, Seneviratne, a sportsman himself, had made an official complaint to the Minister of Sports challenging the selection process whereby, following an inquiry, the Ministry advised the selectors to exclude Nehara Weerawansa from the squad despite playing the trials and winning them.
    The argument, however, was that Nehara who is pursuing her tennis career in Barcelona in Spain, had not played competitively for two years in Sri Lanka and did not have the national or international rankings to boast of. A promising player, she was out of action in 2018 due to a wrist injury which had required surgery.
    This prompted Nehara’s parents to take the matter to Court and, with the Sports Minister reversing his decision following legal advice, the case was terminated on Friday. However, a decision on the Writ Application (CA 151 of 2019) filed by the Seneviratnes challenging the selections will be delivered on April 10 with April 8 set for written submissions. The three member team is due to depart for the tournament on April 13.
    This is, however, not the first time that tennis selectors were challenged in Courts. Last year, Savini Jayasooriya’s parents went to Court after their daughter didn’t make it to the final squad for the Asian Games despite being initially selected to the squad. The Court of Appeal gave a verdict in favour of Savini. But even though she made the tour, she did not play a single match. This was despite the Court issuing clear instructions to include her in either in women’s doubles or mixed doubles.

     

    Last modified on Sunday, 07 April 2019 10:11

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