23 squash teams to contest at Asian Junior Championship
The Sri Lanka Squash Federation (SLSF) adds another feather to their cap when they were given the green light to conduct the 15th Asian Junior Team Squash Championship at the Squash Complex of the Air Force base in Ratmalana from January 25 to 29. Only six months ago they conducted the Asian Junior Squash Championships in Sri Lanka.
A total of 23 teams from 14 countries are billed to take part. The countries are Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, China, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and host country Sri Lanka.
There are eight girls' teams while there are fourteen teams in the boys' event. Each team will field three playing members while one will be a reserve. Each tie will be decided in a three singles matches.
The opening ceremony will be held in the night of January 25 while the matches proper will begin in the morning the next day.
Sri Lanka boys' team will comprise of Gihan Suwaris, Binura Jayasuriya, Ravindu Laksiri and D.S. Gunawardena. Suwaris is with the Air Force while the others are students.
The girls' team comprise of Nadindi Udangawe, Sharya Guruge, K. Methsarani and Naduni Gunawardena. They are all students.
The girls' team is drawn with India, Malaysia and China who are all known to be very strong in group B. This will make the Sri Lankan team under heavy pressure to earn a win.
The boys' team is drawn to group A with Pakistan and China, another tough group and Sri Lanka will once again be under pressure. There will be three other groups. Pakistan are the defending champions after winning the event two years ago.
The event will also bring in the top delegates from the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) and from the World Squash Federation (WSF). The ASF has decided to conduct their 31st Annual General Meeting at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, the official Hotel of the Championship, on January 28 and 29.
The WSF will conduct their Management Committee Meeting (Man COM) at the same hotel on January 26 and 27. President of the WSF N. Ramachandran will also be in Sri Lanka to attend the meeting and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere enjoyed in the country.
Oliver Guruge, president of the SLSF said that the ASF accepted Sri Lanka's bid without hesitation on grounds of the six courts built in Ratmalana.
"With the 30 year war behind us Sri Lanka is now moving forward in their position as the world's leading tourism spot. The government is also taking the opportunity to promote the country as a sports destination by conducting many world sporting events such as the upcoming cricket world cup," added Guruge.
This international event is sponsored by Ceylon Biscuits Limited under the brand name of Ritzbury. They have been supporting squash events for the past three years now. The co-sponsors are TNT, SriLankan Airlines and Mt. Lavinia Hotel.
By T.B. Rahaman