Ladies: No more the push-overs of netball | Sunday Observer

Ladies: No more the push-overs of netball

The Ladies College Under-18 netball squad comprising Sarisha Gunasekara (captain), Nuwangi Gunawardane, Bimanya Ratnayake, Ovidini Daluwatte, Sulani de Silva, Anika Seneviratne, Ganya Senanayake, Aanya Perera, Raisah Noorhamith, Nimna Wickramasinghe, Dilumi Hemasinghe and Subavi Perera pose with their medals
The Ladies College Under-18 netball squad comprising Sarisha Gunasekara (captain), Nuwangi Gunawardane, Bimanya Ratnayake, Ovidini Daluwatte, Sulani de Silva, Anika Seneviratne, Ganya Senanayake, Aanya Perera, Raisah Noorhamith, Nimna Wickramasinghe, Dilumi Hemasinghe and Subavi Perera pose with their medals

Ladies College which had struggled to find their feet on the netball court, reached a milestone in their sports history when they become runner-up in the recently concluded All Island School Games Netball Tournament.

If one woman knows how the girls came this far and the hurdles they faced, none could relate their success story better than Brenda Rajapakse the teacher in charge of the team. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, she held back nothing and is extremely optimistic that the school has made a name for itself in netball to add to the success of several others sports.

Q: So what was behind the success of the team?

As we play against some of the best schools in the netball field at the circuit level itself we had to commit more time towards this game. Also with the limited number of students in our school compared to most of the schools, it was a big challenge.

The Principal of Ladies’ College Eesha Speldewinde, our sports coordinator Kamala Kulatilleke has helped us coordinate everything, encouraging and supporting all of us. The same students participate in many other sports but with the arrival of the coach Deeptha Bandara who joined us in 2015 and with the support by of (additional coach) Pushpa Navaratne, the players showed much more commitment and dedication towards this game. Practice schedules made by Deeptha Bandara and playing many practice matches arranged by him, against other schools, sports clubs and specially practicing with the Air force netball team has helped us immensely, specially in developing the skills and confidence of all the players.

Q: Ladies College has all the facilities than other schools, so why did it take some time to reach this position?

I personally think it was the commitment of the coaches and the players because since Deeptha joined us in 2015 the players have showed great improvement by becoming the champions in the circuit and qualifying through Zonal and Provincial meets. It was a huge challenge for us to get through from the Western Province Tournament. More than the facilities I think it’s the new techniques, training and knowledge put in by the coach and the team being coordinated was the key to our success.

Q: Did the parents of players have to make any contributions?

The parents did their part and supported me in many many ways throughout the years especially during this year during the school holidays they sacrificed all their personal tours and other things towards the success of their children and the school. A special ‘thank you’ goes to them as well.

Of course the contribution put in by the players specially the ones who are in this particular team (Under-18) I have no words to explain. We have players who engage in other activities, such as Anika Seneviratne representing our school in international tennis, Sarisha Gunasekara who took part in the Junior South Asian Games in the Shot Putt event and won the Bronze medal for her country.

There is Sulani de Silva representing school in hockey and water-polo, Ovidini representing the school in basketball, Ganya Senanayake in athletics and Nuwangi Gunawardane in table tennis, Although they had multiple practices to attend to they gave their fullest dedication and commitment and worked so hard. The players put in such an effort while engaging in other activities. All the players were right on the dot at 6 in the morning for their netball practices and fitness.

Q: What are the future plans for Ladies College netball development?

We have already approached many youngsters to come in for practices in different age groups and are hoping to do some coaching camps for the players.

Our main goal is to achieve an overall championship at a tournament. This performance has really helped make netball a popular sport in the school.

Q: How proud is Ladies College when it comes to a sporting tradition?

We have had many students representing the country for over 100 years. Damayanthi Darsha who is an old girl of Ladies’ College performed exceptionally well in track events and many tennis players and swimmers represented the country and have excelled in many events and hold records in the sports field. So we have a history to be proud of. Ladies College continues to support all sports equally and have always given its full backing to the national cause.

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