Sri Lanka youth netballers pack a big punch | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka youth netballers pack a big punch

The unbeaten champion Sri Lanka under-16 netball team comprising Nethmi Wijenayake (Captain, Musaeus College), Hiruni Heshani (Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala), Hiruni Jinali (Maliyadeva Balika Vidyalaya, Kurunegala), Maheesha Bandara (Girls High School, Kandy), Rishini Sewwandi (Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala), Randuli Rubasinghe (Musaeus College), Rashmi Anjalika (Presbyterian Girls School, Dehiwala), Ramdhi Gamage (Holy Family Convent, Kalutara), Krishmi Dinethya (Holy Family Convent, Kalutara), Senuthi Dilakna (Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya), Dishari Adeesha (Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya), Natasha Dias (Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala) with Amalka Gunatilleka the coach

Sri Lanka’s under-16 netball team performed well to gain good exposure at the South Asian inaugural tournament in Nepal according to its coach Amalka Gunatilleka.

“We defeated India twice including the final and the Indians have the potential to become a real threat in the future.

“The way the girls played in the League stage and the final showed the level of confidence and their team spirit which was very high throughout the tournament,” said Gunatilleke.

At the final the Sri Lankan girls won the first three quarters and lost the final quarter as there was a need to introduce new players with the result already secured.

It was the first time that a South Asian under-16 tournament was conducted with India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan contesting.

“We must thank our netball president Lakshmi Victoria who suggested a tournament of this nature for the benefit of under 16 players,” said Gunatilleke.

The champion team had three players from Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala as well as two each from Museaus College and Kalutara Balika.

There were also players from Holy Family Convent, Kalutara and one each from Girls High School Kandy and Presbyterian Girls School Dehiwela.

“In my view most of the champion team members can go forward with their skills but most importantly we have to protect them at this early stage. That is the responsibility of the Netball Federation and the Schools Association,” said Gunatilleke.

She said that it was important to have a feeder for the senior team and the present set of under-16 players have shown they have the potential to make good replacements for the future with the right grooming.

“Our aim is to go beyond the Asian level and from school level we need to have good exposure looking at the future,” she said.