Dhanuska Ranjan will be one of the important players in the Sri Lankan Sevens camp
By Shamseer Jaleel
The Sri Lanka Sevens outfit will kick-off the Asian Qualifiers for the Rio Olympics in Hong Kong on 7 November when they lock horns with Iran in a group encounter at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Sri Lanka playing in Pool B will meet Malaysia (10:14 SL time), hosts Hong Kong (3:52 p.m. SL time) and Philippines (9:12 a.m. SL time). The last pool game against Philippines will be worked off on the second day.
Sri Lanka who ended at number 4 at the recently-concluded Asian Sevens Series will need to overcome Asian giants Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea in this tournament. The winner will find the berth for the Rio Olympics with the runner-up team securing a playoff (home and away) against the African region runner-up.
The Sri Lankan Sevens team is currently under training in Colombo under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Matt Turner. The National camp will hope that the lanky second rower Shehan Pathirane will recover in time for the Hong Kong tour.
The good news for the national side is that the former Sevens player and double international Shenal Dias is available for selection returning to the country after his studies in USA. Former Skipper Fazil Marija will be relived from his duty as skipper, which will allow him to concentrate and perform to the best of his ability.
Former Thomian and Havies player Sudharshan Muthuthanthri is tipped to lead the outfit to Hong Kong. Sri Lanka will also participate at the Singapore Cricket Club rugby sevens which will take place during the last weekend of this month and is likely to send a development squad for this outing.