Sri Lanka’s leading Badminton players are expected to take part in Europe’s top international Badminton competition series which will commence with Yonex Dutch Open Badminton championship tomorrow.
Buwaneka Gunathileka, Sachin Dias the top men’s double pair, Ranthushka Karunathilaka and Kavindi Sirimmannege already left for these tournamants while the two Karunaratne brothers Niluka and Dinuka are expected to join them midway. In fact these tournaments are very important for the local shuttlers to improve their world rankings. Actually former National champion Thilini Hendahewa was also expected to take part on this tour unfortunately she had to pull out of the tour at the last moment after contacting Covid-19.
The shuttlers have a very busy schedule with this European badminton series. The four top European events sanctioned by Badminton World Federation ( BWF) as top ranked events and players ares set to earn points.
Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB) hopes to provide the much needed exposure to their ‘elite’ group of shuttlers, who have been drafted recently. SLB intends to provide the shuttlers the platform to perform and better their current rankings in the world stage and this is a very good move for the local shuttlers.
For the whole tour, which covers four countries, SLB has invested around Rs. 10 million. The Sports Ministry too has pumped in a portion of the expenditure.
Kavindi Sirimmannege will compete in the women’s singles category in the absence of Thilini Hendahewa whose’ absence is a big loss and the combination of Hendahewa and Sirimmannege in the women’s doubles have earned two gold medals from the South Asian Games 2019 and Lagos International in 2017 and two silver medals from Maldives Future series in 2019 and Nepal International in 2018. Hendahewa partnered by Sachin Dias won mixed doubles silver medal at South Asian Games 2019. This time Sirimmannege is likely to pair up with Gunathileka in the mixed doubles event. Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Gunathileka will compete as usual in men’s double event. Niluka and Dinuka will compete in men’s singles event at these series of competition.
The competitions include the Yonex Dutch Open from October 13 to 17 at Topsport Centre, Almere ,They will then move to the LiNing Czech Open, which takes place from October 21 to 24 in Brno, the capital of South Moravia. The Yonex Belgian International takes place from October 27 to 30 at Sportoase in Leuven. The last outing for the Lankans will be the 46th Victor FZ Forza Hungarian International Championship, scheduled from November 3 to 6 in Budaors.
After this series Sri Lankan team will return home while Niluka Karunaratne will directly move to Spain to take part in the BWF World Senior Championships in Huelva taking place from November 24 to December 4.