Badminton players from overseas to contest calendar opener | Sunday Observer

Badminton players from overseas to contest calendar opener

Rajpal Salgado
Rajpal Salgado

The first Level One ranking badminton tournament will begin the new calendar year and be played from February 24 to March 1 at S. Thomas’ College Indoor Courts Mount Lavinia.

This is also the first class One and level One tournament to be conducted by the Western Province Badminton Association (WPBA) that will attract players from overseas as well.

The tournament according to the organisers will carry cash prizes for the winners in the senior category while the junior winners will be presented with sports goods.

This was revealed to the media by Rajpal Salgado the Secretary of the Western Province Badminton Association.

The level One tournament will carry ranking points which is considered as next best to the points system awarded at the Nationals and the local players can enhance their rankings status for future tournaments.

Foreign players have only verbally given their consent to participate so far and players who have shown interest to contest are from Bangalore in India, Nepal and Maldives. Accommodation to these foreign players will be provided by the WPBA but they will have to find their own board and airfares. With foreign participation expected there can be nearly a thousand entries.

Entries will close on February 15 and must be sent to the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) in Colombo 7 and the draw will be held on February 20 at 10 am.

The tournament will cost about Rs. 3 million and the SLBA have already donated one million and though there is no official sponsor the WPBA has received enough funds to conduct a successful tournament.

With the expectation of a large number of entries the tournament will also be conducted at the Mercantile Badminton Association complex in Colombo 7 besides S. Thomas’ College. There will be a total of 32 events to be worked out in all categories.

President of the SLBA Rohan de Silva said that they are doing everything within their means to uplift the standard of badminton in Sri Lanka.

“We have a program for the next three years to take the game to Asian standards so that our players can qualify for future Olympic Games,” said de Silva.

He also said that Niluka Karunaratne is vying to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and has to participate in four more foreign tournaments in the next four months. If he fails to qualify it is only hoped that he will receive an entry by means of a wild card, as he had received in previous times as well.