Sri Lanka stun Singapore to retain Title

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Sri Lanka came from behind to retain the Asian Netball Championship title when they outplayed Singapore 63-53 in the final at the OCBC arena, Singapore yesterday (11).

Sri Lanka were crowned Asian Queens for the 6th occasion and booked there slot for the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

In a rematch of the 2018 final, three-time winners Singapore looked set to end their eight-year trophy drought as they came out firing from the start, making several key interceptions and capitalising on errors from a nervy Sri Lankan side to power to a 19-13 lead in the first quarter.

With the 2,500-strong sell-out crowd threatening to bring the roof down, defending champions Sri Lanka rallied in the next period to outscore Singapore 14-11, but the hosts held on to a 30-27 lead at the half-time whistle.

The third quarter was the turning point as the visitors tightened their defence, forcing errors from Singapore and limiting their attackers to just eight goals. With Sri Lanka’s 2.06m veteran Tharjini Sivalingam lighting up the circle with a game-high 19 goals, they levelled matters before stealing the lead 46-38.

In a tense final quarter, both teams brought their A game with Sri Lanka’s shooters scoring 17 goals to Singapore’s 15. But the gap proved far too big for Singapore as Sri Lanka prevailed 63-53 to clinch their sixth Asian Championship trophy.

Malaysia finished third out of 11 teams beating Hong Kong 54-42 in the play-off. Philippines won the Plate while India won the Bowl.

The biennial event returned for the first time since 2018 after the 2020 edition in South Korea was cancelled because of the pandemic.