Buwaneka Goonethilleka and Thilini Hendahewa were honoured with the Men’s and Women’s open titles at the inaugural Defenders Open Badminton Championship held at the Panagoda Indoor Stadium.
Buwaneka Goonethillake started his journey to the final with three straight set victories over Viran Anushanga, Savinka Weerasekara and Madhuka Dulanjana. He overcame a tough three-setter against Dinuka Karunaratne in the semi final, 21-19,16-21,21-19 to book his spot in the final.
Joining him in the final was Hasitha Chanaka who started his run from the bottom half.. Hasitha Chanaka played his quarter-final game against chamika Jayasekera and semi final against Duminda Warnaka to book his final with Buwaneka Goonethillake.
In a cracker of a final, Buwaneka overcame Hasitha Chanaka in straight sets 21-14, 21-13 to win the first Defenders Open title.
Speaking to ThePapare.com Buwaneka Goonethillake had this to say
In the semifinals I beat 2018 National champion Dinuka Karunaratne for the first time in domestic tournament. In nationals last year I lost to him in 3 games. In this tournament I won with him in 3 sets. So I’m happy about my performance. And tournament also well organized by Panagoda Army camp. First time in Sri Lanka they got 9 courts for a tournament. I appreciate their organizing.
Over in the women’s category, former national champ Thilini Hendahewa went a hunting for her first Defenders Open Badminton Championship title by defeating fellow team mate Dilmi Dias. Thilini was also a representative of the Sri Lanka Badminton team at the recently held Asian Games and Commonwealth Games 2018.
Having received a bye in the first round Thilini made easy work of her opponents on her way to the final. She defeated Jananuwani de Alwis in the pre quarterfinals. Anurangi Masakorala in the quarterfinals and Hasara C. Wijayarathna in the semifinals all in comfortable straight wins.
Challenging her was Dilmi Dias the first seed of the tournament who made her way to the final. Dilmi Dias had easy wins in the second round and quarterfinal. She won against Nadeesha Gayanthi to make it to the final.
In the big final Dilmi fought well to take the first set narrowly 22 points to 20. The national champion dug deep to bounce back stronger in the second and the third wining 24-26 and 9-21 respectively to grab her Defenders Open title.
Speaking to ThePapare.com Thilini Hendahewa had this to say
This is an amazing tournament that which includes international standards throughout the tournament. I am the current number 1 women’s champion in Sri Lanka. So I like to defend all of the title in this year
However senior national doubles runnersup Achini Ratnasiri and upali Weerasinghe a thrilling two sets battle with a score line of 21-18 and 21-12
Speaking to ThePapere.com women’s doubles winners Achini Ratnasiri and upali Weerasinghe had this to say
We have waited a long time for this. This is the second title for the year so long and we lost same opponents several times but this time we have got a chance to win our Gold medal and we are currently number 1 women’s doubles in Sri Lanka and we are happy to say that we are giving our best for the up coming tournaments and specially Thilini and Kavindi both are really good players
Two Commonwealth bronze medalists Buwaneka Goonethillake and Sachin Dias took home the men’s doubles title defeating Omal Dharmawardena and Ravindran Ranatunge in a comfortable straight set victory. Final scores read 21,18 and 21-9
In the mixed double Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa reached the final through the top half to face off against Buwaneka Goonethillake and Kavindi Sirimannage who made it to the top from the bottom half.
In a epic dual it was Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa who prevailed with a score of 21-12,21-8 to be crowned the Defenders Open mixed doubles champs.
Speaking to ThePapare.com mix doubles winners Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa had this to say
We did long training sessions in the mix doubles. Two weeks ago we participated in the Asian mix team championship. It’s gives experience and exposure to win this title
Buwaneka Goonethillake became the most outstanding player of the inaugural Defenders Open Badminton Championship