Sri Lanka’s Matildas rise in world rankings | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka’s Matildas rise in world rankings

Flashback: The Asian champions team comprising Chathurangi Jayasooriya, Darshika Abeywickrama, Dulangi Wannithilake, Tharjini Sivalingam, Elilenthini Sethukavalar, Gayanjali Amarawansa, Hasitha Mendis, Dulanga Dhananji, Darshika Abeywickrama, Thilini Waththegedara, Sureka Kumari Gamage and Gayani Dissanayake
Flashback: The Asian champions team comprising Chathurangi Jayasooriya, Darshika Abeywickrama, Dulangi Wannithilake, Tharjini Sivalingam, Elilenthini Sethukavalar, Gayanjali Amarawansa, Hasitha Mendis, Dulanga Dhananji, Darshika Abeywickrama, Thilini Waththegedara, Sureka Kumari Gamage and Gayani Dissanayake

Sri Lanka has moved up to the 19th position from 27 in the International Netball Federation World Rankings which was updated last week much to the surprise of coach Thilaka Jinadasa.

Sri Lanka faced many obstacles in the international arena for several years but after the appointment of Thilaka Jinadasa as coach the team has regained the Asian crown with only three months of training under her.

After the team’s success the Sports Minister extended the appointment of Jinadasa as coach until the next Asian Championship to be held in 2020.

“I am very happy to see the development of the team and honestly I expected us to reach the 20th place in the ranking but it is a bonus to achieve the 19th place,” said an elated Thilaka Jinadasa told the Sunday Observer.

“In the World Cup we have to face Ireland, Zimbabwe (13) and Australia and if we beat Ireland and Zimbabwe we will be able to grab the 10th place in the rankings. We have the confidence as we had at the Asian Championship. We trained for the Asian championship in a short period of time. During this period I did not even attend my niece’s wedding,” added Jinadasa.

“Our main drawback is that we don’t have a proper sponsor who will support the netball team to play international friendly matches. Ireland has played 36 matches and Australia has played 49 matches compared to just 18 matches by Sri Lanka.

“I used my personnel contacts to travel and play against Malavi who are ranked sixth. Club teams in Europe have helped us mentally to face strong teams like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. But because of our achievements a few veterans continually attack us due to their personnel jealousy,” said Jinadasa.

The Sri Lankan netball team won the Asian title after a lapse of nine years when they defeated Singapore 69-50 in the final and received many accolades for the achievements after Thilaka Jinadasa took over the coaching.

It is by coincidence that Jinadasa happened to be the netball coach when Sri Lanka won the Asian title last in 2009.

She had represented Sri Lanka in athletics and netball and participated in the 110m hurdles at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

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