Sri Lanka emerged the Asian region champions in the M1 Asian Netball Championships 2018 after triumphing over host Singapore 69-50 in the final played at OCBC arena, Singapore yesterday.This is the fifth occasion Sri Lanka has won the Asian championship the last occasion being 2009. Sri Lanka and runners-up Singapore have qualified for the Netball World Cup that will be held in Liverpool in 2019.
Despite putting on a strong fight, Singapore were unable to stop the Sri Lankans from winning. The first quarter concluded with both teams tying on 16 points. Sri Lanka got into action in the second quarter to secure it 16-10.The third quarter tested the defence of both teams with some good passes and Sri Lanka held the advantage due to Tharjini Sivalingam’s height which helped to shoot all the goals while their opponents struggled.
Sri Lanka took the third quarter 18-12 and continued their domination in the fourth and final quarter which they finished in style winning 19-12.Sri Lanka team coach Thilaka Jinadasa said: “It’s our hard work that has paid off to emerge with the title after nine years. Our girls have done an excellent job throughout the tournament. We had so many obstacles but our girls managed the situations well.
“Our goal attackers and defenders did an immense job and it was well executed by goal shooter Tharjini who helped us to take the leads.”Captain of the Sri Lanka team Chaturangani Jayasuriya remarked: “I am really proud and happy for my coach and my team. In the last eight months, we trained very hard with our coach. We maintained good discipline, as nothing is possible without that. We stuck together and maintained our team bond. I think that is our secret to winning.”
Despite the loss, Singapore head Coach Natalie Milicich was pleased with her team’s performance. “We started the match competitively, but it was always going to be hard after seven days of netball to maintain that intensity but I’m very proud. Our goal was always to make that top two and I think we did our country very proud.”
Malaysia finished the M1 Asian Netball Championships in 3rd position after beating Hong Kong 52-46. Thailand won the Plate finishing 5th beating Brunei 70-34. Japan took seventh place beating India 57-54.Philippines beat Maldives for the second time in the tournament 49-37 to clinch ninth place and take the Bowl. Pakistan beat Chinese-Taipei 82-27 to take 11th place.