Sri Lanka has named a strong 12-member squad led by Gayanjali Amarawansa for the upcoming Asian Netball Championship 2022, which will run from 3-11 September in Singapore.
Gayanjali will have the services of experienced campaigner Dulangi Wannithilake as her deputy.
Semini Alwis has also made her way into the senior set up after a long time. Apart from the returning superstar Tharjini Sivalingam, NFSL has also included a fresh face in Malmi Hettiarachchi.
Malmi was discovered back in February at the annual National Netball Championship and was immediately drafted into the pool. The 21-year-old was crowned Netball Queen at this tournament.
Inclusion of Tharjini Sivalingam, renowned to be one of the tallest netballers in the world, will no doubt boost Sri Lanka’s confidence.
Tharjini is currently in Australia fulfilling her club contract and will join the squad in the coming days. The 2.10m (6 ft 10-1⁄2 in) Tharjini ended the World Cup 2019 campaign as the highest scorer with 348 points to her credit, and will look to put up a similar performance to help Sri Lanka grab their sixth Asian title.
Meanwhile, former skipper Chathurangi Jayasooriya, Gayani Dissanayake and Hasitha Mendis are among the few other players to retain their spot which took part in the 2018 edition.
Notable omission from the squad is Thilini Wathegedara.
The Asian Netball Championships 2022 is set to return after 4 years, with the top 11 Asian teams set to compete for the title. The top two finishers will qualify for the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
The tournament will be played on a league basis, and the top two teams from each group will advance to the second round.
Sri Lanka are slotted in group ‘A’ along with India and Philippines. while host Singapore will battle in the Group ‘B’ along with Japan and Maldives.
Group ‘C’ consists of Malaysia, Brunei and Chinese Taipei, while Group ‘D’ consist of Hong Kong and Thailand.
Sri Lanka has been engaging in vigorous training under new head coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe from the beginning of this year to prepare for and win the Asian Championship.
The islanders are within a whisker of being Asia’s best and they will go all out to prove it.
Squad: Gayanjali Amarawansha (Captain), Dulangi Wannithilake (Vice Captain), Tharjini Sivalingam , Chathurangi Jayasooriya, Gayani Dissanayake, Semini Alwis, Hasitha Mendis, Deepika Abeywickrama, Idusha Janani, Rashmi Divyanjali, Bashini de Silva, Malmi Hettiarachchi
By Mustaq Sydeen