Sri Lanka tennis spread far and wide during lock-down | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka tennis spread far and wide during lock-down

Iqbal Bin Isaack
Iqbal Bin Isaack

While tennis came to a halt the world over during the Covid-19 pandemic, nothing got in the way to stop the sport in Sri Lanka as the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) continued working in other areas to spread the game.

They did plenty of development work and conducted educational programs in places like Matale and Kandy where kids came in large numbers to learn the fundamentals of the game while new courts were set up in the north and east of the island.

President of the SLTA Iqbal Bin Isaack said that three new hard courts were built in Batticaloa and over 150 boys and girls have taken to the sport while land was allocated in Trincomalee and Jaffna to build tennis courts to encourage parents to persuade their children learn the art of the elite sport.

“All you need is a good racquet, shoes and balls and with regular practice a child can reach high

levels in the game through proper coaching. We have gone a long way during this corona virus period to take the game out of Colombo,” said Isaack. They have also opened 12 centres in Trincomalee for training and playing and were given two blocks of land to build the centres.

There are five clubs in Trincomalee while children in Jaffna are already playing the game and many schools too have introduced the game to their children.

“We got permission from the relevant authorities to conduct tournaments. The clay court Nationals were just completed. There will be ten ranking tournaments to be played in the next few months.

“Tournaments will be conducted on October 17 in Batticaloa and the next day in Trincomalee.

“ There will be a tournament in Kandy as well and many young players are expected to turn up,” said Isaack.

He said beach tennis has also caught up among many enthusiastic players.

“It has come a long way and we are planning to conduct ten tournaments in the near future,” said Isaack.

Sri Lanka played its first Davis Cup tie against Paraguay before the coronavirus broke out and there will be another tie to be played later on.

The tie against Paraguay was lost and according to Isaack the absence of Harshana Godamanna, who is their main player, was the reason.

“Godamanna had an issue with his passport and had he been available he would have won his match while Sharmal Dissanayake also would have won the other Singles match and Sri Lanka would have finished on the winning side,” said Isaack.

SLTA also held their AGM last week and as it is a four year term the same team of office bearers will continue working.

“After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic many private companies are facing financial difficulties and are reluctant to come forward to sponsor the game. The government is also not supporting the sport very much, but development work in the game has not stopped,” declared Isaack.

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