Professional Netball League to be launched
By Mustaq Sydeen
A professional netball league, which is a much-needed project for the betterment of the sport in the country, will be launched in the coming days according to National Sports Council Chairmen Mahela Jayawardena. He disclosed this during a Media briefing which took place at the Sports Ministry yesterday.
He added, conducting a competitive league will boost and help players get international exposure and compete at the highest level.
“We have already started a soccer league; we have the Lankan Premier League (LPL), which is the cricket version of it. We are now looking at starting a league for Netball, Volleyball and few other sports as well, because without having that competitive edge and getting overseas players to come and compete, our sports will not be taken to the next level. Especially if you take netball, we are the Asian Champions and need to compete at world level. We cannot do that without our girls getting that exposure competing at that highest level, so we will create that platform.We will have competitive leagues set-up in Sri Lanka so that the next generation of athletes will elevate themselves to the next level.”
Ceylon Today learns sports in Sri Lanka ideally needs professional leagues with a proper structured network around the country, where launching these tournaments would feed the second division leagues as well as grassroots level across Sri Lanka.
Also bringing down top class overseas players to compete in the leagues will be a major boost for young local talent, who will train and play alongside these imported players, and their skills are bound to improve by leaps and bounds. These players can then be the nucleus around which the Sri Lankan teams can be built. Sri Lankan fans would love nothing more than to see the Sri Lankan teams in all sports make progress globally.
Mahela also insisted that they are also looking at investing on sports like Rifle Shooting and Archery, which they have recognized as sports the island nation has a good chance of winning medals.
“We feel that Sri Lanka can win more medals in skilled sports.The two sports we have identified so far are Rifle shooting and Archery. These are two sports we are going to invest in grassroots level, in schools and other regional levels, so that we can actually compete at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics in skill-based sports,” said Mahela.
Pic by Udesh Ranasinha