Sri Lankan youth third best at Asian netball championship | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankan youth third best at Asian netball championship

The Sri Lanka youth netball team comprising Tharushi Illangaratne (Captain Melani Wijesinghe, Dilani Perera, Vishmika Ratnayake, Aneesha Perera, Kavindi Randima Perera, Imasha Perera, Dimithri Guniyangoda, Ganya Senanayake, Dewana Randeni, Sajini Ratnayake and Kushalika Aluvihare along with coach Kumari Gamage
The Sri Lanka youth netball team comprising Tharushi Illangaratne (Captain Melani Wijesinghe, Dilani Perera, Vishmika Ratnayake, Aneesha Perera, Kavindi Randima Perera, Imasha Perera, Dimithri Guniyangoda, Ganya Senanayake, Dewana Randeni, Sajini Ratnayake and Kushalika Aluvihare along with coach Kumari Gamage

Sri Lanka’s youth netball team once again finished in third place at the recently concluded 11th Asian Youth Netball championships concluded in Japan.

In the match for the third place, Sri Lanka defeated Hong Kong 75-49 making a good comeback after losing the semi-final against Malaysia 54-72. However with this third place Sri Lanka was lucky to qualify for the World Junior Netball championships which will be held in Fiji in 2021.

The 17-year old shooter Melani Wijesinghe showcased some outstanding performances in the first three matches while skipper and goal keeper Tharushi Illangaratne, Ganya Senanayake, Aneesha Perera and Vishmika Ratnayake did well in the decider against Hong Kong.

The Sri Lankan team started with confidence to beat South Korea in their opening game 95/7 and then outclassed Nepal 136/7. They ensured the semi-final berth with one match left and defeated Thailand 85/29.

However Sri Lanka lost to defending champions Singapore in their last group game 58/66. The Sri Lankans had faced their first tough opponent and from the beginning the Singaporeans took an early lead in the first quarter 20/9 and in the second quarter they dominated with a 40-20 lead to gain an easy victory.

However, Sri Lanka threw in everything and once again had an excellent quarter outscoring their Singaporean counterparts comfortably. Unfortunately, they just could not make up for the lead conceded in the first quarter and ended up losing the game by just goals.

In the semi-finals the Sri Lankans were beaten 72-54 by Malaysia who finally emerged champions defeating Singapore 57/48 to clinch the Asian crown.

Thailand finished fifth defeating Brunei 47-43 and Chinese Taipei crushed Nepal 67-16 to finish in the seventh place. India, Japan and South Korea finished 9th,10th and 11th respectively.

Sri Lanka could have done better with more time for preparations. Their junior coach was also appointed at the last minute which was also very questionable.

In 2015 Sri Lanka emerged champions by defeating Malaysia under the leadership of Gayani Dissanayake and in 2017 Sri Lanka was placed fourth and beaten by Hong Kong in their third place play-off game.

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