By Susil Premalal
The junior national boys baseball team is expected to participate in the BFA Under-18 Boys Baseball tournament, according to Sri Lanka Baseball (SLB).
Organised by the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA), this tournament is expected to be held from September 6 to 12 in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei.
Eight countries take part in this biennial tournament which is expected to attract Japan, South Korea, China, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Philippines and hosts Taipei in addition to Sri Lanka.
Japan emerged champions when the tournament was last held in 2018 with Sri Lanka finishing in fifth position.
SLB hopes to select a junior national pool once schools re-open and are in discussions with Education Ministry and Sri Lanka Schools Baseball Association officials, according to SLB secretary Rajith Rathnayake.
The winner and runner-up of this year’s BFA Under-18 Boys Baseball tournament will qualify to participate in the BWSC Under-18 World Cup to be held in Florida, USA next year.
Meanwhile, SLB hopes to begin training for the senior national pool before December to prepare for the 2021 West Asia Baseball Cup.
There are two national pools comprising men and women with the men’s pool comprising 25-30 players. The dates or venue for the tournament has yet to be decided because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sri Lanka emerged champions of the West Asia Baseball Cup in 2018 and 2019, with Colombo being hosts on the last occasion. Six countries took part in the tournament last time and is expected to attract countries like Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Iran for the next edition as well.
Sri Lanka Baseball’s plans to hold national development programmes and several tournaments this year was stalled because of the viral outbreak, the SLB secretary said.
They only managed to conduct a tournament early this year in memory of renowned baseball coach Milinda Arumadara who passed away suddenly. Sri Lanka Air Force emerge champions of this tournament which saw 15 teams participating.