Milo schools netball finals on July 30 at Polonnaruwa
The stage is set for the Milo All Island Schools Netball finals scheduled to be held on July 30 (Monday) at the Kaduruwela Stadium in Polonnaruwa. The tournament will be the 21st in the series which began in 1992 with the backing of Nestle Lanka Ltd who has been the sponsors from the inception.
Soma Munasinghe the President of the Sri Lanka Schools Netball Association stated that the tournament is becoming popular every year as it can be seen from the amount of entries that keeps on increasing for every tournament.
In addition the tournament has been the turning point for most of the girls who have gone on to represent the national team. Speaking further she said that the main objective of the association is to improve the standard of the game and encourage outstations schools to participate which we have achieved to some extent.
Last year we conducted the tournament in Matara where over 900 teams participated with teams from outstations dominating the tournament.
This year the tournament saw an improvement with 1035 teams participating in the Under 12, 14, 16 and 18 categories. The preliminary round was held in 14 venues around the island with over 12000 players taking part. The completion of the preliminary round games saw over 300 teams qualify to compete in the All Island category which will get underway on July 28 with the finals scheduled to be held on July 30.
The final which is scheduled to be played on Monday will be preceded by the quarterfinals and semi finals to be held on July 28 and 20 at the same venue. This year too the outstation schools have dominated with teams from Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anuradapura, Ratnapura and Ampara qualifying. Over 4000 girls are expected to participate in the three day event.
Bandula Egodage, External Affairs and Activiations Manager of Nestle Lanka Ltd stated that Nestle have been supporting the schools associations of all sports, “We think of a long term plan which has been successful to both parties. Apart from netball we have had a long term agreement with the schools rugby association,” emphasized Bandula Egodage.
Egodage said: “We don’t interfere with the organizers concerned and we have given the freedom to decide the venue whether its Colombo or outstations but I am glad that they are focusing the outstations which gives the outstation children who are craving to participate and take opportunity to show their prowess.”
The chief guest at the opening ceremony on July 28 will be Siripala Gamlath, Deputy Minister of Land and Land Development while Maithripala Herath, Minsiter of Health will be the chief guest at the closing ceremonies on July 30.
By M Shamil Amith