Matthew bags three more gold to equal SAG record

13th South Asian Games

Tuesday, 10 December 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Matthew Abeysinghe, competing in the Men's 100m Butterfly final, bagged a total of three gold medals on Day one 

By Naushad Amit

Swimming sensation Matthew Abeysinghe added three more Gold medals to his tally on the penultimate day of the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu, Nepal yesterday, though two further potential Sri Lankan Gold medals were squandered in the team events. 

Matthew Abeysinghe

Abeysinghe bagged Gold in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley, Men’s 50m Butterfly and Men’s 100m Freestyle, to claim a total of seven gold medals. He equals his own record set in 2016, and surpasses the previous Sri Lankan record of six gold medals at a South Asian Games. 

Elsewhere, the Sri Lanka Men’s basketball team defeated Bangladesh 72-53 in the semi-final and will feature in the Gold medal match at 1.00pm today. In two other Gold medal finals the Sri Lanka Under-23 men’s cricket team and the women’s 3x3 basketball team fell agonisingly short.

Meanwhile in Kabaddi, for the first time in its history Sri Lanka were able to win medals at a South Asian Game. The Men’s team claimed a Silver medal after losing to India in the final, while the Women’s team claimed the Bronze medal.

The Women’s 3x3 Basketball gold medal final, held at the Covered Hall of the Dasarath Stadium in Kathmandu, India beat Sri Lanka 15-12 to snatch the ultimate prize, as Sri Lanka had to settle for Silver. India led the first phase 8-4 and the second phase 12-10, but the Sri Lanka lasses held the dominance of the game, while missing out potential shots that could have turned into points. 

But the tiring Lankans were cleverly countered by India, who mostly conceded chances to their opponents through fouls – though Sri Lanka failed to capitalise on many of them. Sri Lanka however did beat Bangladesh 18-11 to win the Men’s 3x3 Basketball Bronze medal, in the third place playoff played prior to the women’s final.

U23s come unstuck in Cricket final

In the cricket, the Sri Lanka Under-23 Men’s team followed the footsteps of their women’s side coming short at the final hurdle, despite reaching the final unbeaten. On Sunday, Sri Lanka Under-23s had comprehensively beat Bangladesh Under-23s by 9 wickets, but yesterday’s game saw contrasting fortunes. 

In the crucial Gold medal game, Bangladesh recorded a comfortable 7-wicket win with 11 deliveries to spare. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 122 as Bangladesh comfortably managed to score 125 losing just three wickets.

Bangladesh came into the final with many changes to the side that had lost to Sri Lanka a day earlier. On a wicket that was expected to flatten out as the game progressed, Bangladesh won the toss and decided to put Sri Lanka into bat when there was expected to be more in it for the bowlers.

Sri Lanka were sailing smooth until they lost opener Nishan Madushka at 36, after which a parade of wickets followed as Lasith Croospulle, Kamindu Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Ashen Bandara and Jehan Daniel were all dismissed cheaply. Sri Lanka were seven down for 87 when Sammu Ashan came into the middle to display his usual spark, with 20-ball 25, inclusive of three boundaries. But his contribution came to an end when he was out caught behind by Mahidul Islam off Hasan Mahmud, to a delivery that replays later showed had missed the edge.

Mahmud, who went on to strike with three scalps, was named the player of the final, while Tanvir Islam also picked two wickets.

In their chase, Bangladesh too made a steady start before losing their opener Soumya Sarkar at 44, but they made sure to stick by their plan and ensure a comfortable win. Sri Lanka managed to claim just three Bangladeshi wickets as the wicket became progressively easier for batting. The only highlights in the field for the Lankans were when allrounder Ashen Bandara put an end to Sarkar’s knock of 27 with a brilliant catch at mid-off off Kamindu Mendis, and later brilliantly ran out opener Saif Hassan just as he was looking dangerous. 

Bangladesh in the end ensured there would be no further hiccups, as they batted cautiously and sensibly to see the game through and secure Gold. Sri Lanka’s Kamindu Mendis won the award for the player of the series, for his brilliance with the bat and the ball, which included a knock of 134 not out and a five wicket haul, throughout the series. The 13th South Asian Games will end today with a colourful closing ceremony.


Sri Lanka U-23 122 all out in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 22, Nishan Madushka 16, Charith Asalanka 12, Sammu Ashan 25, Hasan Mahmud 3/20, Tanvir Islam 2/28)

Bangladesh U-23 125 for 3 in 18.1 overs (Saif Hassan 33, Soumya Sarkar 27, Najmul Hossain 35, Yasir Ali 19)