By Susil Premalal
North Central Province (NCP) Open Badminton Tournament, one of the prominent competitions in the country's badminton calendar, will be held at two venues in Anuradhapura from August 20 to 25. The matches will be held at the Anuradhapura Urban Council courts and the Mike Cooke Indoor Badminton Stadium as more than one thousand shuttlers will be in action during the six-day event. Entries close on July 31. All applications should be sent to Sri Lanka Badminton, Colombo 7.
North Central Province Badminton Association is organising the event under the supervision of Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB) and the organisers are expecting to host the championships on a majestic scale. The tournament event will see competitions being held nine age groups, namely U-11, 13, 15, 17, 19, over 40,50, 55 and 60.
Parakrama Basnayake, former President and current Vice-President SLB, a press conference took place at the 80 Club where details of the competition were unveiled.
He said that there are ten sports to international level in Sri Lanka where badminton has been included. “We are going ahead with plans to further develop badminton in the island,” he said.
Although located far from the action-packed capital, the region has produced rare talents in the caliber of prominent coach A. M.Wimalarathna, multiple South Asian Games silver and bronze medallist Renu Chandrika de Silva, former and current stars like Palinda Halangoda, Mike Cooke, Udara Nanayajith etc. over the years. Sri Lanka Badminton which is under a new management following the recently held general election hopes to bring back the past glory to the region through hosting such major ranking tournaments and also expects to find and groom talented shuttles and help them reach new heights.
Sri Lanka Badminton association has laid down a few conditions to improve the standards of the tournament in consultation with the North Central Province Badminton Association. Some of them are, using latest tournament software of World Federation to handle the entries and the draw it will also be used to do the match scheduling and notify the players well in advance of the times of their matches. This would almost eliminate players having to wonder around the whole day waiting for their individual games.