By Nalin Jayetileke – reporting from Kathmandu
Sri Lanka is now aiming at a medal in the Team event in Squash at the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu Nepal , not being successful to get to the semifinal stage in the in individual as both men and women had to move out after losing their matches in the Quarter Final stage. It was however good to see our players trying hard against their Indian and Pakistani opponents who were seen giving them a good fight before they got the better of Sri Lanka Players. The standard of Squash displayed by the Sri Lankans were noteworthy where even the spectators seem to like the way Sri Lankans play their Squash and had great support during all matches Sri Lanka played. One may have tend to wonder if the matches were played in Sri Lanka to get such support from the crowd that came to witness the matches here in Kathmandu.
Both Men and Women lack their finishing touches as most of the time Sri Lanka was seen leading but lost the game at the end. It was a lost opportunity for Sri Lanka getting so close to getting their hands on an individual medal at the SAG Squash.
For the ladies Kathum Isserdeen of Sri Lanka Lost to Kuruvilla of India 11/5, 11/7, 11/4. Fathum was seen leading 7/4 at one stage in the 2nd set but could not capitalize and lost the set 11/7. Sri Lanka‘s hopes were shattered further, when Mihiliya Methsarani who was rated high up in the SAG Squash fraternity went down fighting, losing her game to Madena Zafar of Pakistan, a straight setter which Mihiliya was leading in the 1st and the 2nd sets being 6/5 in the 1st Set and 10/8 in the second and was unfortunate and had to disappoint the crowd which supported Sri Lanka, losing the set 13/ 10 at the end.
In the Men’s category The Indian players had the better of Sri Lanka where Sri Lankas’ no 1 seed Ravindu Laksiri, who played a fantastic game of Squash, who led from the front in the second set leading 10/8, had to bow down and settle for 13/11 at the end. Ravindu Displayed some stunning court craft and some power packed Drives and Wally drops much to the liking of the spectators who made him feel like Home. Unfortunate for Sri Lanka that he was not able to win the game, with which he would have had a chance for an individual Medal. Talking to Ravindu, he said ‘ We will put our best foot forward with the Team event and will try and bring Glory to Sri Lanka, now that is our Aim’.
Shamel Wakheel of Sri Lanka too were impressive, but lost to the Indian No one player Harindra Pal Sing , but displayed some power packed play before going down in straight sets. Shamel is however said to be nursing a shin muscle injury which happened during his match this evening. Talking and talking to thesundayreadrr.lk Shamel said ‘ I have an injury but I will be fit to play the Team event as I don’t have any match tomorrow so that I can rest and be fully fit to play’ said Shamel. Some positives For Sri Lanka to see all players fit and ready to fire all guns at the Team event in the hunt for a medal. It will be a big blow for Sri Lanka, if Shamel is not fit to take to the courts for the team Championship.
Sri Lanka are now on the hunt for a medal in the Team even which is seen as an achievable target , given the form the players have shown and the way they have displayed their skills, playing against India and Pakistan who are rated as top teams at the SAG.