SAG: National shuttlers train in Bandarawela ahead of departure to Nepal

Friday, 22 November 2019 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The national badminton team players are gearing up for the upcoming 2019 South Asian Games and are currently taking part in a residential training camp in Bandarawela.

Sri Lanka will field a 20-member team at the 1-10 December event which will take place in the Nepali capital and suburbs. The team includes eight men and as many women shuttlers as they look to pose a challenge to the strong Indian team.

The 13th South Asian Games features 27 sports disciplines, and 17 of them will be held in and around Kathmandu while badminton events will take place in Pokhara. 

Pokhara is located in central Nepal, about 200 kilometres away from the capital Katmandu and is known as a gateway to the Annapurna Circuit, a popular trail in the Himalayas. Therefore, Sri Lanka Badminton decided that the cold weather in Bandarawela will help the touring shuttlers acclimatise to the temperature as well as the high altitude to a certain extent.

The team, coached by Indonesian Tony Wahyudi and Duminda Jayakodi, will be led by national champion Dinuka Karunaratne and former champion Achini Rathnasiri.

The team will miss the services of Olympian and Sri Lanka’s top-ranked player Niluka Karunaratne, elder brother of Dinuka, due to an injury. 

Niluka’s absence will surely have an impact on the team’s hopes, but Dinuka, who defeated his elder brother to win the national championship, will go all out to cover his brother absence.

The strong doubles combination of Buwaneka Goonethilake and Sachin Peiris are expected to repeat their performance at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, where they finished fourth.

Ranthushka Sasindu, Sri Lanka’s current standing second seed is also on the team, along with Lochana De Silva, Maduka Dulanjana, Krishan Danushka, Thusith Palliyaguru, Chamath Dias and Hasitha Chanaka.

Joining Rathnasiri in the Women’s team will be national champion Thilini Hendahewa, Kavidi Sirimannage, Nadeesha Gayanthi, Upuli Weerasinghe, Kavindika de Silva, Hasara Wijeratne, Dilmi Dias, Anurangi Masakorala, and Hasini Ambalangodage. Tilak Jayasiri will be the manager of the team.