Deepika, only champion retained for Asian qualifiers-by Reemus Fernando
Deepika Bandara and Dinesha Prasadini were the winners of the Central Asian Volleyball Championship held in Negombo in February.
Asian Beach Volleyball qualifiers for Commonwealth Games from Friday
Ashen Rashmika, Malintha Yapa, Chathurika Madushani, and Deepika Bandara will vie for Sri Lanka to secure slots in the Commonwealth Games Beach Volleyball competition when the Asian qualifiers of the sport are held here in Sri Lanka from Friday.
The two pairs will compete for a slot each in the men’s and women’s categories during the two-day tournament where Malaysia, Singapore, and Maldives are the other participating countries vying to grab the opportunity to take part in the quadrennial games.
However, of the four players selected for the crucial event, Deepika Bandara is the only gold medal winner retained from the Central Asian Beach Volleyball tournament held in Negombo recently.
While Deepika Bandara and Dinesha Prasadini won the women’s championship at the Central Asian Beach Volleyball championship held in February, Anjana Sandeepana and Sandun Madusanka were the runners-up to Iran in the men’s championship.
“The selections were done on players’ current form. Some of the players who won podium places at the recently held Central Asian Beach Volleyball tournament are nursing injuries. They have been replaced with players who are in form,” said A.S. Nalaka the secretary of the Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation in reply to The Island queries yesterday.
Asked whether a similar procedure will be followed in the case of the country’s teams winning the Asian qualifier for the Commonwealth Games, Nalaka said that the slot will be for the country and the selectors of the Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation will pick players who will be in their best form.
Beach volleyball will be competed at the Commonwealth Games for the second time following its debut at the 2018 edition. Both men’s and women’s competitions will see 12 teams competing for medals from July 30 to August 7.
While five teams are selected according to FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings, a team each will be selected from the regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas/ Caribbean and Oceania through qualifiers. A slot is also allocated to hosts and a Bipartite Invitation. While Cyprus has secured a place each in the men’s and women’s categories from the European region other regions are set to conduct their qualifiers this month.
The tournament staring on Friday is sponsored by the National Olympic Committee and C.W. Mackie. Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation is organizing the tournament under the supervision of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the NOC.
The finals of the men’s and women’s categories will be held on Saturday.