The annual National Sports Festival which is organized by the Sri Lanka Sports Ministry started off successfully for the 43rd time at the Colombo Astro turf yesterday.
In this year’s competition there are nine Men’s teams seven Women’s teams participating representing different provinces. In 2016 both Men’s and Women’s championships was won by Central Province and Western province was awarded the 1st runners-up in both Men’s and Women’s categories.
Here’s a look at what happened
The first match in the Men’s category was between Eastern and Southern Provinces. As the match began both teams were unsettled and it seems that the weather conditions also had a negative impact on the first few matches. Both teams played a man to man defence game from the start but since they were mainly focusing on the middle section of the court they were unable to take long passes and overcome the opponents. After few minutes, Southern players started playing a full court offensive game using long passes. Eastern players could not control the pressure that was coming from the opponents therefore, towards the final few minutes victory was assured for Southern as they built a substantial lead from the start of the match. The final score was 6-0.
In the Women’s category matches Central Province and Western Province was able to take an easy win against Eastern Province and Uva Province. As usual both Central and Western Province teams played a very speed offensive game where opponent’s defensive strategies were not enough to stop the Central and Western Province players. Both Western and Central Province team contained young and experienced players who have represented the National team. The score between Western and Uva was 9-0 which made Western Province the winners and Central Province was able to win against Eastern Province by obtaining the highest score in the tournament which is 23-0.
In the Men’s category, again Central and Western Province obtained an easy win against North and North Central Provinces respectively. From the start of the match, both Central and Western Province played very energetically with good coordination. It seems that both teams were well prepared to play for the semi-finals match in the next round. The techniques used by both Western and Central Provinces were excellent. Therefore both opposing teams could not settle and take the pressure that was dealt by Western and Central Province. The match between Western and North province ended as 12-0 while the game between Central and Uva Province ended as 5-0.
As the day ended, Western, Central, Southern and North Province teams were able to qualify for the second round in the Women’s category. In the Men’s category, Western, Central, Sourthern and North Western province teams qualified for the next round.