Gayanjali tipped to lead Sri Lanka netball team for Singapore
Sri Lanka Netball Federation is expected to get approval for the final 12 member team for the forthcoming Asian Netball Championship which is scheduled to be held from September 3-11 at OCBC Arena Singapore .
According to a senior official of the Netball Federation, the names of the 12-member squad have been forwarded to the Sports Minister for approval and it is reliably learnt Tharjini Sivalingam, the 6”11 tall experienced goal shooter has been included in the team. . The National selection committee headed by Dhamayanthi Jayathilleka the former National player selected 15 players to focus on Asian Championship and got approval for this 15 member pool ..
However most of the players of the squad and especially the National coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe requested to get Tharjani for the team .In fact Tharjani the former National skipper was not available for selection trials to pick the final team as she was away in Australia to play league Netball .The Selection Committee pointed out that without playing selection trials they cant include any player in the team .
Differences arose between selectors and some officials of the Federation about Tharjani’ s issue and finally National selection committee headed by Arjun Fernando solved this issue .In addition experienced Thilini Wattegedera also was omitted from the squad due to her performance and selectors were highly criticised by a section close to this this women’s sport .
14 members of the squad are training at Bandaragama Sports Complex and also the Torrighton grounds and the Gymnasium .
Meanwhile National squad are busy with their training and National Netball Federation is looking to get training facilities from the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium and a sponsor for the Asian Netball Championship.
Two senior players Wing attacker Gayanjali Amarawansa and Centre player Dulangi Wannitilleka are likely to captain and vice captain the Sri Lanka’s 12-member squad. Amarawansa the experienced player from HNB having previous experience of Asian and World Netball Championship will captain the National team for the first time at the Asian Championship while Dulangi Wannitilleka also from HNB one of the best players of the centre and occasionally she has ability to play as goal shooter
This will be the first time in three years the Sri Lankan lasses will play a competitive tournament after Global pandemic.They last played in the international arena in 2019 during the World Cup in England under the coaching of Thilak Jinadasa and this time under the guidance of Hyacinth Wijesinghe.
Sri Lankan Netball team will take the field as favourites to win the tournament based on their past record of having won this tournament most number of times (5) in 1989, 1997, 2001, 2009 and 2018. .Last time in 2018 Sri Lanka led by Chaturangi Jayasuriya clinchéd the Asian Championship defeating Singapore in the final at the same venue in Singapore .
The 11 teams will compete to take the Asian crown .The defending champs Sri Lanka, 2018 runner-up Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Japan, India, Philippines and Maldives are set to play this time while top two teams will gain automatic qualification for the 2023 Netball World Cup. Meanwhile Netball Federation is expected to appoint National junior coach to focus on next junior International events like Asian Junior in Korea next year. The Federation already made arrangements to call applications for the Junior National coach and they will conduct interview very soon to appoint junior coach .In the meantime Netball Federation President Victoria Lakshmi is expected to meet National Sports
Council chairman Arjuna Ranatunga and his team to discuss the progress of the Netball Federation activities.