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November 24, 2008

Sri Lanka's Hemantha wins seventh stage of Tour de Pakistan


November 24, 2008

KARACHI: Janaka Hemantha from Sri Lanka emerged as leader of the seventh stage of the Tour de Pakistan International Cycle Race which was also marred by a mishap that left Fazal-e-Khuda Rehmani of Afghanistan with a fractured arm on Sunday.

'The News' learnt that when the cyclists were making a turn, 30 km from the finishing point in Sahiwal, a group of around 12 cyclists fell due to oily surface of the road. As a result Fazal-e-Khuda Rehmani from Afghanistan developed a fracture in his arm while the rest of the cyclists received minor injuries. Fazal-e-Khuda was then shifted to the local hospital. However, the official said that the injuries to the other cyclists were not very serious as first aid was provided on the spot as they completed the stage from Multan to Sahiwal.

As per details, in the 160 km seventh stage from Multan to Sahiwal, earlier wrongly calculated by the officials at 154 km, witnessed a very tough contest and the top three finishers touched the finishing line within touching distance from one another.

Keeping his head cool Sri Lanka's Janaka Hemantha, who had finished sixth in the first and third stage and grabbed fifth position in the second stage, crossed the finish line in four hours, seven minutes and 30 seconds

He was followed by South Asian Games bronze medallist Dilsher Ali of WAPDA, who met the target just ten seconds short of the leader by clocking four hours, seven minutes and 40 seconds. Dilsher also grabbed second position in the second stage from Hyderabad to Moro, besides finishing third in the fourth and sixth stages and fifth in the first.

Promising Niamat Ali from Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), who was overall just nine seconds short of Meemanaga Perera from Sri Lanka after the completion of the sixth stage on Saturday, put in great effort to finish third by clocking four hours, seven minutes and 50 seconds.

Niamat, a hopeful for the title, has been overall quite impressive as he not

only won the fourth stage but also grabbed second positions in the initial two stages besides recording third position in the sixth stage. Then followed the group finishers including the leader of the second stage from Hyderabad to Moro, Hashmatullah Barakzai from Afghanistan, Haroon Rasheed and Malik Bashir, both from WAPDA, all clocking the same timing of four hours and eight minutes.

Forty-three cyclists took part in the seventh stage and 42 completed the race after the withdrawal of the Fazal-e-Khuda Rehmani. On reaching Sahiwal former Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Nouraiz Shakoor, who is also the President of Sahiwal District Cycling Association, received the riders at the finishing point.

Now, today (Monday) the riders will take another step forward towards their destination in Peshawar when they leave for Lahore to cover the 160 km distance in the eighth stage.

Top six finishers of the seventh stage (Multan to Sahiwal): Janaka Hemantha (Sri Lanka) 4 hours, 7 minutes, 30 seconds, Dilsher Ali (WAPDA) 4:07:40, Niamat Ali (SSGC) 4:07:50, Hashmatullah Barakzai (Afghanistan) 4:08:00, Haroon Rasheed (WAPDA) 4:08:00, Malik Bashir (WAPDA) 4:08:00.

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