By Pathum Sri Wijeyratne reporting from Singapore
Sri Lanka regained the Asian Netball Championship after a lapse of eight years when they defeated Singapore 69-50 in the final encounter worked off at the OCBC Arena in Singapore yesterday (09).
Sri Lanka who came in as one of the strong favourites to lift the title lived upto expectations and delivered the final blow in the most spectacular manner.
This was also the fifth occasion that Sri Lanka had emerged Asian champions with their last success coming in the 2009 tournament.
However, the exchanges were even at the completion of the first quarter with the scores level 16-16 following a hard fought battle between the two teams.
But Sri Lanka showed early promise and built up a crucial 6-0 lead into the second quarter which proved to be the turning point in this high profile encounter.
Sri Lanka never looked back from there onwards and further consolidated their position which helped them to take a commanding 32-26 lead going into half time.
Sri Lanka continued to pile up the goals during the fourth and deciding quarter as they collected a total of 19 goals while conceding only 12 goals to their opponents.
Tharjini Sivalingam produced another clinical performance with the backup support coming from Skipper Chaturangi Jayasooriya, Hasitha Mendis, Dulangi Wannithalaka and Gayani Dissanayake.
Overall, this was a highly successful campaign for Sri Lanka as they ended up with an unbeaten record in this 12-Nation tournament.
In the preliminary round, they recorded two massive wins over Chinese Taipei (137-5) and India (101-29).
In the Cup Segment, Sri Lanka defeated Singapore 58-37, Malaysia 62-59 and Hong Kong 71-48.
Champions Sri Lanka along with the runners-up Singapore qualified to compete in next year’s World Cup which would be held in Liverpool, England.
Meanwhile, Malaysia secured the third-place in the tournament with a 52-46 victory over Hong Kong.