Edit: An earlier version of this article stated that Sri Lanka had won 25 medals on the opening day of the South Asian Games. It has since been corrected to 26 medals -- 3 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze. Also edited are the medal tallies of India and Nepal.
The karatekas took the honour of giving the first set of medals for Sri Lanka – a silver and three bronze – on the second day of the 13th South Asian Games here in Kathmandu, Nepal on Monday (2), but much honour was brought by two youngsters – Ranuka Prabath and his team mate Isuri Mendis who won two gold medals in taekwondo.
Sri Lanka's men's Volleyball team won bronze beating Bangladesh on Monday
At the end of the first day of competition Sri Lanka had 25 medals -- 3 gold, 8 silver and 14 bronze -- with hosts Nepal winning 15 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze and leading the table. India, despite having won 16 medals sat in second with f5 gold medals, 8 silver and 3 bronze.
Young Prabath won the first gold medal for Sri Lanka in the Male Individual Poomsae 17 Above years to Under 23 category with 8.250 points, as Nepal’s Krishna Tamang secured the silver medal with 8.20 points.
Kamrul Islam of Bangladesh and Ngawang Yonten of Bhutan secured bronze medals with 8.060 points.
Prabath then paired up with Isuri Mendis to win the gold medal in the Pairs Poomsae of Above 17 years to Under 23 category with 8.230 points. Shilpa Tapa and Kunnal Kumar of India secured the silver medal with 8.210 points while Nepal’s Ashmin Raut and Sina Limbu and Bangladesh’s Nooruddin Hussin and Ruma Khatan won the bronze medals.
A third gold followed in the Men’s Team Poomsae 23 years above event.
Karatekas, the first to give Lanka medals
Heshani Hettiarachchi gave Sri Lanka’s first medal, a bronze in the Women’s Singles, where Pakistan athlete Shaida won the gold medal with 42 points. Nepal’s Chanchala Danuwar, who lost to her Pakistani opponent, secured 35 points and the silver medal. Bangladesh’s Humaira Akther Khan shared the bronze medal with Hettiarachchi.
Balu Sountharasa secured Sri Lanka’s second bronze medal in the Men’s Single Kata event, which gave Nepal the gold medal and Pakistan the silver medal. Nepal’s Kaji Shrestha earned 25.72 points, to defeat Pakistan’s Niamatulla, who settled in for the silver medal with 24.92 points.
Bangladesh’s Hassan Khan shared the bronze medal with Sountharasa.
Sri Lanka secured their third bronze medal in the Women’s team Kata event, as Nepal defeated Pakistan to win the gold medal. But the Sri Lanka Men’s team gave a commanding performance against hosts Nepal, before falling short by a thin margin and settling for the silver medal.
Nepal secured 25.4 points while Sri Lanka almost won the top position, before ending the team event with 25.16 points, 0.34 points behind.
Shuttlers dominate team events
Sri Lanka shuttlers meanwhile are in a position to secure gold medals in the Badminton team events, after their impressive performances at the Covered Hall in Pokhara.
Women’s team skipper Achini Ratnasiri, Dilmi Dias and Thilini Hendahewa easily won their semi-final matches against Nepali opponents, while the Men’s combination of Sachin Dias and Buwaneka Goonathilake and skipper
Dinuka Karunaratne, gave the country wins, to advance to the next stage. Dias recorded his second win in the Men’s semi-final while Ranthushka Sasindu recorded the only defeat the Sri Lanka team experienced.
Sachin Dias took the courts as the first shuttler to appear for Sri Lanka, and faced an early blow when his opponent from Nepal Dipesh Dhami recorded a stunning 24-22 return to claim the first set. But Dias gathered all his experience to prove the early loss was just a fluke, by securing the second and third sets comprehensively 21-18 and 21-16.
Ranthushka Sasindu too experienced a similar set back in the Men’s semi-final of the Team Event as Nepal’s Prince Dahal cannily managed to secure the first set 21-18. But Sasindu was more optimistic than he looked in the first set, and bounced back immediately to hand Dahal defeat in the second set, claiming it by 21-19. This opened the game out wide as both shuttlers fought out to secure the crucial win, which was eventually claimed by Dahal by 21-19 after a great battle. From there onwards, it was all about wins for the Lankan shuttlers, as soon after skipper Karunaratne took the courts in the semifinal Team game against Nepal’s Ratnajeet Tamang, who was given a straight thrashing.
Karunaratne took the game in straight sets 22-20 and 21-09 to reach the final.
Karunaratne’s impressive win bolstered the remaining shuttlers in action with motivation as Dias and Goonathilake combined to secure a straight win in the Men’s team semi-final against Nepal’s Dhami and Ratnajeet Tamang.
The Lankan duo had very little trouble in securing the game with set scores of 21-11 and 21-15.
Hendahewa motivated the Lankan women’s team by recording another 2-0 straight win against Nepal’s Nagashal Tamang, with set scores of 21-08 and 21-16 in the semi-final.
Dias’ approach in the other semi-final was a straightforward affair against Nepal’s Anumaya Rai, as she took very time to seal the win with scores of 21-08 and 21-08.
The day ended for the Lankan shuttlers with another comprehensive win recorded by women’s skipper Ratnasiri, who comfortably defeated Nepal’s Sima Rajbansi in straight sets of 21-12 and 21-8.
However, both the men's and women's teams had to settle for Silver medals in the team events
Spikers secure bronze medals
Sri Lanka secured the bronze medal when the men’s volleyball team scripted an unlikely win, defeating Bangladesh 3-1 at the Covered Hall in Tripureshwor. The Lankan spikers already looked demoralized after Bangladesh took the upper hand and won the first set by 25-23, with a strong crowd backing.
Even during the initial part of the second set the Sri Lankans were not up to their potential, but a sudden halt of the game for almost 30 minutes after the court lights failed, and the arrival of the women’s volleyball team who acted as the cheering squad, changed their pattern of play drastically.
They made the Bangladesh spikers, who looked stronger than the Lankans, look for answers with shrewd tactics and won the second set 25-20. Sri Lanka took the whole control of the game, even cleverly countering the mind games of the Bangladeshis from the third set and took the bronze medal after securing the third and fourth sets by 25-16 and 25-21. Sri Lanka women added another bronze medal to the tally, following the trend
set up by their men’s side.
The women spikers recorded a straightforward win by claiming the sets by 25-13, 25-18 and 25-08 to finish off in style.
Sri Lanka held Maldives to a nil-all draw after a hard-fought battle in the Men’s Football Competition, which was a treat to those who came to witness the game at the Dasarath Stadium.