Sri Lanka face Afghanistan in their Asian Cham­pi­onships Net­ball opener

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - BY SUSIL PRE­MALAL

Sri Lanka will con­front Afghanistan in their first game in the 10th Asian Se­nior Net­ball Cham­pi­onships at the Na­tional Sta­dium, Bangkok,thai­land to­day.the tour­na­ment com­menced on July 31 with the open­ing cer­e­mony.the con­test will end with the fi­nals on Au­gust 7.

Malaysia recorded a win over Ja­pan in the open­ing game of the con­test. There were four games on the open­ing day.ten Asian teams are con­test­ing in the tour­na­ment.

Last edi­tion’s run­ners-up Sri Lanka are in Group B.the other teams in this group are Malaysia, Brunei, Ja­pan and Afghanistan.

In Group A are de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong, Chi­nese Taipei, the host na­tion Thai­land and Mal­dives Is­lands. Sri Lanka skip­per Gayani Dis­sanayake said that Afghanistan is a new comer to Asian net­ball be­fore the team de­parted to Thai­land.“we are un­able to gauge their strengths and weak­nesses. I think be­cause they have no in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, Sri Lanka should have no dif­fi­culty in over­com­ing them,” stated Gayani.

On Au­gust 2 Sri Lanka will face Ja­pan and on Au­gust 3 will be the against Malaysia. On Au­gust 4 Sri Lanka will play the last game in Group Four against Brunei.

Con­tin­u­ing Gayani said that the strong­est team in their group is Malaysia, who oc­cu­pied third place in the last edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion held in Sin­ga­pore.

Sri Lanka’s Bud­dhika Suriya­ban­dara is the only male net­ball um­pire to of­fi­ci­ate from Sri Lanka at the com­pe­ti­tion. He is an A Grade um­pire. Ear­lier he of­fi­ci­ated at the Asian Youth Net­ball Cham­pi­onships in De­cem­ber last year. This was the first time he of­fi­ci­ated at an in­ter­na­tional net­ball tour­na­ment.

The Sri Lanka Net­ball Fed­er­a­tion nom­i­nated eight net­ball um­pires con­sist­ing of six women and two men. The Asian Net­ball Fed­er­a­tion se­lected only Bud­dhika Suriya­ban­dara from this lot.

Bud­dhika has of­fi­ci­ated over 100 matches in Sri Lanka. By pro­fes­sion he is a net­ball coach.

Bud­dhika Suriya­ban­dara

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