By Naushad Amit in Nepal
After their stirring performance to win two silver medals in the Team events, Sri Lanka shuttlers stepped into the Individual events, winning 11 pre-quarter-final games out of 13 in the Badminton Competition of the 13th South Asian Games at the Covered Hall in Pokhara, Nepal on Wednesday.
Men’s skipper Dinuka Karunaratne continued his form to remain unbeaten as a singles player, while Women’s captain Achini Ratnasiri too maintained her standard as a medal-winning prospect for the Lankan badminton team.
Karunaratne beat Bangladesh’s Salman Khan earlier on and went on to defeat Nepal’s Nidup Durji by identical scores in the Men’s Singles Pre-quarter-finals. Dilmi Dias won both her games in the Women’s Single Pre-quarter-finals, beside skipper Ratnasiri’s feat against Nepal’s Rashila Maharjan.
The combination of Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonathilake has always brought success to Sri Lanka in the Men’s Doubles and the duo continued their perfect run, by defeating Bangladesh’s Hamid Luckman and Gourab Singha, and then India’s Arun George Sanyam Shukla, 2-0 in both games.
The first match in both sets, however, were not easily conceded by the gritty Bangladesh opponents, who were eventually dominated by the Lankan duo by 21-15 and 21-18. The second game against India was a battle far beyond what they encountered with the Bangladeshis. The first set for Dias and Goonathilake was a sitter, but George and Shukla nearly took the match to a three-setter before losing it narrowly to the Lankans.
In the Women’s Doubles games Sri Lanka’s two teams of Achini Ratnasiri and Upuli Samanthika and Thilini Hendehewa and Kavidi Sirimannage, won their matches comprehensively. Sirimannage paired up with Ranthushka Sasindu to record a win against Bangladesh in the Mixed Doubles.
The only setback Sri Lanka had was the two losses that came in a Men’s Singles match where Sasindu was defeated, with the other blot coming for the Sri Lanka Men’s Doubles team of skipper Karunaratne and Hasitha Chanaka losing to the Bangladeshi duo in a match that went to the last wire.
The Badminton competition will continue with the quarterfinals and semi-finals, while the five finals are scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Covered Hall in Pokhara.
Men’s Singles Pre-quarter-finals: Dinuka Karunaratne (SL) beat Salman Khan (Ban) 2-0 (21-10, 21-7), Dinuka Karunaratne (SL) beat Nidup Durji (Nep) 2-0 (21-9, 21-7), Ranthushka Sasindu (SL) lost to Aryaman Tandou (Ind) 0-2 (17-21, 17-21)
Women’s Singles Pre-quarter-finals: Achini Ratnasiri (SL) beat Rashila Maharjan (Nep) 2-0 (21-15, 21-19), Dilmi Dias beat (SL) beat Nabiha Abdul Razzaq (Mal) 2-0 (21-6, 21-19), Dilmi Dias (SL) beat Alina Sultana (Ban) 2-0 (21-8, 21-10), Anurangi Masakorale (SL) beat Shalpa Akter (Ban) 2-0 (21-8, 21-10)
Men’s Doubles Pre-quarter-finals: Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonathilake (SL) beat Hamid Luckman and Gourab Singha (Ban) 2-0 (21-15, 21-18), Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonathilake (SL) beat Arun George and Sanyam Shukla (Ind) 2-0 (21-10, 23-21), Dinuka Karunaratne and Hasitha Chanaka (SL) lost to Mohamed Atique and Raja Mohammad (Ban) 1-2 (14-21, 21-13, 19-21)
Women’s Doubles Pre-quarter-finals: Achini Ratnasiri and Upuli Samanthika (SL) beat Palwasha Bashir and Mahoor Shehzad (Pak) 2-0 (21-10, 21-9), Thilini Hendehewa and Kavidi Sirimannage (SL) beat Jessica Gurung and Rashila Maharjan (Nep) 2-0 (21-8, 21-7)
Mixed Doubles Pre-quarter-finals: Ranthushka Sasindu and Kavidi Sirimannage (SL) beat Shuvo Khandaker and Bristi Khitua (Ban) 2-0 (21-11, 21-13).