Sri Lanka Hockey team qualifies for Asian Games

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The Sri Lankan hockey team which toured Oman in order to participate in the Asian Games qualifier tournament was placed 3rd beating Thailand in the bronze medal match to book a place in the Asian Games which is scheduled  later this year.

The 18-man squad led by Sandaruwan Sudusinghe left Sri Lanka to Oman in the hope of qualifying for the Asian Games. 38th world ranked Sri Lankan team was placed in pool B along with Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei and hosts Oman. As the top 5 teams set to qualify for the Asian games, Sri Lanka had the pressure of qualifying for semi-finals from pool B.

The island nation faced Kazakhstan in their 1st match where they decimated the opposition with much ease scoring 6 goals to nil. Kazakhastan is placed 86th in the hockey world rankings. Since it was the 1st match, the Sri Lankan players found it a good opportunity to get themselves organized to fight the rest of the tournament.

Sri Lanka faced hosts and 32nd ranked Oman in the second game. The high ranking Oman was too hard for the Lankan stickers. Oman started the scoring in the 2nd minute through Al-Saadi and ended up with 5 goals before the full time whistle. Sri Lanka managed to score one consolation goal in the 4th quarter.

Sri Lanka faced Chinese Taipei in their must win game in order to qualify for the semi-final of the tournament. Oman in pool B had already secured a spot in the semi-final beating all 3 teams in pool B. Despite this pressure, the Sri Lankan stickers dominated Chinese Taipei right from the beginning. 52nd ranked Chinese Taipei found it a little hard to control the Lankan stickers as Sri Lanka went on to score 4 goals at the end of full time. Chinese Taipei managedto score just the one goal. The Sri Lankan S.S.Priyalanka was honored with the Man of the Match award for his amazing stick work in the match.

With the win against Chinese Taipei, the Sri Lankan hockey team qualified for the semi-finalof the Asian games.

Having already qualified for the Asian Games, the  Sri Lanka team aimed for the Gold medal in the qualifiers tournament as the 38th placed Sri Lanka faced 30th placed Bangladesh in the 1st semi-final.

The Sri Lankan players put up a very good performance from the beginning of the match to shock the tournament favourite Bangladesh. Sudusinghe started scoring in the 34th minute giving Sri Lanka the lead they anticipated. However Bangladesh managed to equalize in the 49th minute with the goal of Sarkar. Sri Lanka never gave up and Ranasinghe displayed somebrilliant skills to score a goal in 51st minute through a penalty. Yet again Sarkar equalized the score for Bangladesh in the 52nd minute, shattering all Sri Lankan dreams. Bangladeshi’s Hossain scored an excellent goal in the dying stages of the game to take Bangladesh into the final.

The final score stood as 3-2 in favour of Bangladesh. Sri Lankan goal keeper Tharindu Hendeniya was awarded the Man of the Match for his amazing keeping skills which made things difficult for Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka faced Thailand in the Bronze medal match of the tournament. 47th placed Thailand couldn’t cope with the fighting Sri Lankans who managed to score 4 goals allowing the opponent just one. Anuradha Suresh of Sri Lanka won the Man of match trophy for his excellence with the stick.

The Sri Lankan goal keeper Tharindu Hendieniya was honoured with the Best Goal keeper of the tournament title which is a massive achievement for the 38th ranked islanders.  Sri Lanka is set to face Asian giants India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Japan in the Asian Games which is scheduled later this year.

Results

Group stage

Sri Lanka  6 – 0 Kazakhstan
Sri Lanka  1 – 5 Oman
Sri Lanka  4 – 1 Chinese Taipei

Semi final

Sri Lanka  2- 3 Bangladesh

3rd place

Sri Lanka  4- 1 Thailand

Sri Lankan Team

  • H.M.T.K Hendeniya
  • K. Jayasundara
  • D. De Silva
  • P. Ranasinghe
  • D. Perera
  • M.Wijesinghe
  • I. Gunawardene
  • M. Sapugasgoda
  • S. De Costa
  • P. Bandara
  • B. Bandara
  • U. Fernando
  • D. Kulathunga
  • S.S. Priyanka
  • G. Weerasooriya
  • A. Suresh
  • M. Mulafer
  • R. Fernando