Sri Lankan badminton camp hit by injuries ahead of SAG | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankan badminton camp hit by injuries ahead of SAG

24 November, 2019
Buwaneka Gunatilleka and Sachin Dias
Buwaneka Gunatilleka and Sachin Dias

Sri Lanka’s leading badminton player Niluka Karunaratne and the next best Buwaneka Gunatilleka are already on the injured list even before the team can depart for the South Asian Games to be held in Nepal next week.

Already the coach Tony Wahyud from Indonesian has said that injuries to key players would hinder Sri Lanka’s progress at the Games. He has also said that India is expected to pose the biggest challenge for Sri Lanka as they will be the strongest outfit in the South Asian Region.

Questions have also been raised on whether the Sri Lanka players a fully prepared and trained to face the stiff challenges they will meet in Nepal.

Wahyud has been in Sri Lanka for quite some time now and has been able to lift the standard of the Sri Lankan players. But at the same time the present rankings of Sri Lankan players are so low that they just cannot beat some of the lowly ranked players in the Asian region according to some past players.

It is a well known fact that players in the Asian region are some of the best in the world and Sri Lankan players participate in less recognized tournaments organized in other countries where less recognized players contest.

According to an analysis by the Sunday Observer, the last time the Sri Lanka senior players participated in an international meet was in the Sudirman Cup and the team was placed in group six which was the last group in this team event. Even in this group Sri Lanka could not win a medal.

Sri Lanka also played in the World Juniors tournament held in Russia and faced some of the lowly ranked in the world. They lost their matches in the first round in the individual event. Somehow they played in the team event and brought home a bronze medal. But according to the analysis the opponents were very lowly ranked players.

But now coach Wahyud is banking on Sri Lanka’s leading players in Dinuka Karunaratne, Thilini Hendahewa, Kavidi Sirimannage, Achini Ratnasiri and Sachin Dias to keep the flag flying.

Wahyud has also stated that Sri Lankans normally play in too many local tournaments thus a few of them carry injuries that need time to recover thereby making the coach[‘s job doubly challenging to deliver.

Wahyud has also said that Sri Lanka best men’s doubles pair of Sachin and Buwaneka will have to recover fast to get back to their usual form.

Currently, none of the Sri Lankan players have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics so far. This is because they are participating in obscure tournaments where ranking points are of less importance according to analysts.

But the big question being asked is that given the present situation can Sri Lankan shuttlers be expected to win any medals in Nepal?