Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa with gold medals
Sri Lankan number one mixed double pair Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa created history when they emerged champions to take gold medal at the Odisha Open Badminton Tournament concluded at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Cuttack, India yesterday.
This tournament named as a Badminton World Federation (BWF) super 100 tournaments and for the first time Sri Lankan shuttlers took part this international championship which is more important to improve the world rankings. More than six foreign countries took part this tournament.
Thilini and Sachin defeated M. Arun and Treesa Jolly the Indian pair at the finals while they made a thrilling two setter game 21/16, 22/20 to win the gold and cash award. Earlier at the semi-finals Thilini and Sachin outclassed Indian pair Mauryan Kahiravan and Kuhan Balashri in two sets 21/8, 21 /17.
Meanwhile at the men’s doubles Sri Lankan pair Buwaneka Gunathileka and Sachin Dias was able to reach the semi-finals and that also is a big achievement. Sachin and Buwaneka lost to Malaysian pair Nur Azriyn and Lim Khim Wah after a hard fought three setter game. Sachin and Buwaneka win the first set 21/15 but Malaysian pair came back strongly to win the final two sets 21/18, 21/17. The Malaysian pair won the gold at the final.
At the men’s double quater-finals Sachin and Buwaneka were able to beat Indian pair Krishna Prasad and Vishnavardhan Panija in a three setter game 21/23, 21/17, 21/15.
Buwaneka Gunathileka the current National champion also played men’s singles event but he couldn’t reach second round.
Buwaneka Gunathileka from Sri Lanka Army speaking to the Daily News after the tournament said, they got good exposure throughout the tournament and this type of tournaments always paved the way to improve their skills as well as rankings and good preparation for the forthcoming Asian Games as well as Commonwealth. “Actually this is very hard period and we really appreciate as players the hard work done by the Sri Lanka Badminton, Sports Ministry and Sri Lanka Army to give good support to take part this type tournaments”. Earlier Sachin, Buwaneka and Thilini got chance to take part at the Syde Modi India International Badminton Tournament which was held in Lucknow, India and then they came straight from Lucknow to Odisha Open Badminton Tournament.
Sri Lankan number one men’s double pair Sachin and Buwaneka won Yonex Sunrise Bangladesh International challenge gold medal in last December and the same tournament Sachin partnered with Kavidi Sirimannage won the mixed double gold.
Thilini Hendahewa the former National champion who did not play last Nationals as well as recent foreign tournaments as she was tested positive for Covid 19.
However this Indian tour Thilini Hendahewa once again back with her usual form to achieve mixed doubles gold with Sachin.
Sri Lankan shuttlers expected to return home today (31) while they have busy schedule with next German Open and Swiss Open both BWF ranking tournaments.