Lankan women’s kabbadi team displayed superb teamwork to register two victories against host Indonesia and Japan at the 18th Asian Games continued in Jakarta yesterday. The Lankan lasses tasted bitter defeat in their first game against Thailand (15-41), but bounced back strongly to put themselves in line for a medal with back to back victories.
Sri Lanka beat host Indonesia 34-17 after leading 17-6 at half time in yesterday’s first match. Sri Lanka scored another 17 points while restricting the opponents to 11 in the second half to tame host Indonesia. The Lankan girls entered the second game against Japan with confidence and fought a hard battle against strong outfit. Lanka trailed by two points midway (8-10) but continued their attacking playing style in the second half adding 14 more points while conceding only seven points to their rivals to seal victory.
It is a great achievement by the Lankan women’s kabbadi team to record two victories without their captain Madushani Chathurika who did not play yesterday due to an injury. The victorious team was led by Nimashi Kokila in the two games.
An elated Nimashi said that it is a remarkable achievement by the Lankan team to grab these wins in their first appearance at an Asian Games. “It was due to our good teamwork we were able to win the two games. We did the hardest thing by winning back to back games in a single day and hope we will perform much better in the rest of the games to win a medal and make our country proud,” she said.
Today the Lankan girls will take on strong India and if Sri Lanka beat India, they will easily qualify for the semi-finals.
Lankan men’s kabbadi team also delivered good results by beating Thailand 46-29 after leading 26-10 midway. The Lankans maintained the lead and scored 20 points while conceding 19 points to the opponents in the second half. They will meet Bangladesh today.
Lankan men’s beach volleyball team savoured mixed fortunes. They grabbed their first victory beating Korea 2-0 (21-15, 20-19). Asanka Medagedara and Malintha Yapa played for the Lankan team. Their second match against Thailand turned out to be a tough battle. Lankans had the early lead by scoring 25-13 in the first round, but were unable to keep the momentum as Thailand made inroads to win the second round scoring 25-21. The fiercely contested third round saw Thailand bagging victory with a score of 27-25. But Lankan head coach Tejan Dooli displayed displeasure on some of the referees’ decisions. Sri Lanka’s second game of the preliminary round is on August 23 against Vietnam.
Lankan contestants did not produce fruitful results in other sports worked off yesterday - Tennis, Weightlifting and Taekwondo events. Anika Seneviratne was downed by her Chinese opponent Zhang Shuai 1/6, 2/6, while Mariyan Angel was defeated by Kato Miyu (Japan) 0/6, 1/6 in the women’s singles tennis event.
Sharmal Dissanayaka went down to Japan’s Uchiyama Yasutaka 0-2 in the men’s tennis singles event. The doubles tennis matches against Korea (women’s) and Kazakastan (men’s) were also lost by Lankans 2-0.
Commonwealth Games bronze medalist weightlifter Hansani Gomes did not live up to expectations and was edged out from the competition as all her three attempts in the 48kg weight category event were unsuccessful. Thisara Dharmapriya competing among the final 32 in the 58kg weight category men’s taekwondo event had no luck as his Vietnam rival beat him 11-40. The Lankan men’s hockey team too was defeated by Japan 11-0.
Swimmer Akalanka Peris competing in the third race of the 50m Backstroke preliminary round clocked 26.57secs to become fourth. Even though he has recorded a much better timing previously (26.52secs) he was rushed to the Sri Lankan embassy in Indonesia soon after the event to sit for the GCE A/L English paper. Two other Sri Lankans, the Abeysinghe brothers will also compete in the 50m Backstroke event today.