The Sri Lankan Masters’ squad which represented Sri Lanka at the first ever Senior Masters International Badminton Tournament held in Sri Lanka, performed remarkably with 10 Gold medal finishes for the nation.
273 veteran pros of the game from 8 top sporting nations competed across 9 age groups during the course of three days. Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Nepal, China, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Macau were the contenders for the tournament. The tournament took place from the 26th – 28thNovember at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.
Sri Lanka Masters’ president, Rohan De Silva impressed the most with 3 Gold Medals in 1 singles and 2 doubles events. He beat Bishnu Lal Shesthra of Nepal in a thrilling three setter to win the Men’s over 55 Singles category.
He also took home Gold in the Men’s over 55 and 65 Doubles categories partnering Ertanto Kuriniawan and Frits Mainaky of Indonesia respectively. De Silva was also the top seed in all three of the events of the tournament.
Amila Kumara Yatapana partnered Muhammed of Indonesia in the Men’s Doubles over 35 event to win gold over Sri Lankan pair Jude John and Hemantha Kodithuwakku in straight sets. Final scores read 15-13, 15-9.
Muhamed was also partner to Lankan Chandrika De Silva in the Over 35 Mixed Doubles category who won Gold. They defeated a combination of Indonesia and India in the final without too much trouble, 15-8, 15-13.
Kaushali Dissanayake teamed up with Marlev Mario Mainaky of Indonesia in the Over 45 mixed doubles and defeated yet another Sri Lankan pair to take home Gold in straight sets.
Wijayalakshmi Punchihewa of Sri Lanka and Arnold Dendeng of Indonesia won the 60 and 65 plus Mixed Doubles category defeating a pairing from Hong Kong and Australia with ease, in the final – 15-12, 15-9. (ST – Don’t change this into categories because both age groups were played as one)
Top seed, Niroshan Wijekoon took home Sri Lanka’s second singles gold medal in the Men’s over 50 Singles category. A stunning victory over India’s Maran Thangavelu in straight sets, 15-8, 15-4, sealed the deal for Wijekoon.
Following that, Sriyani Deepika Peiris won the combined event of the Women’s Over 50 and 55 singles finals over Sangeetha Rajagopal of India. Final scores read an even 15-13, 15-13.
The All-Lankan final of the Men’s Doubles over 45 category was snatched by Clarence Homer and Ajith Jayawardena. They defeated fellow teammates, Suash Janaka De Silva and Duminda Jayakodi with a scoreline of 15-10, 15-10.
Among the rest of the age groups, 7 Gold medals were won by India, 9 by Indonesia and 1 each by Malaysia, China, Australia and New Zealand.
“I think we took the tournament to another level, was very well carried off with close to 300 players. We got great reviews, especially from the Indian players, they loved it here. I think we can expect around 600 participants coming in next year” said Clarence Homer on the successful conclusion of the first ever International Masters Tournament hosted by Sri Lanka.