Sri Lanka beat Singapore to win the Asian Netball Championship and also qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
Sri Lanka defeated Singapore 63 – 53 at the finals on Sunday (11) to become six-time Asian Netball Champions.
Singapore were forced to settle for second at the Asian Netball Championship for a second straight edition after falling to Sri Lanka.
In a rematch of the 2018 final, three-time winners Singapore looked set to end their eight-year trophy drought as they came out firing from the start.
But defending champions Sri Lanka rallied in the next period to outscore Singapore 14-11 but the hosts held on for the 30-27 win at the half-time buzzer.
The third quarter was the turning point as the visitors tightened their defence, forcing errors from Singapore and limiting their attackers to just eight goals.
With Sri Lanka’s 2.06m veteran Tharjini Sivalingam lighting up in the circle with a game-high 19 goals, they levelled matters before stealing the lead and the 46-38 win.
In a tense final quarter, both teams brought their A game with Sri Lanka’s shooters putting in scoring 17 goals to Singapore’s 15. But the gap proved far too big for Singapore as Sri Lanka prevailed 63-53 to win their sixth Asian Championship trophy.
Both teams have qualified for the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
Malaysia finished third out of 11 teams after beating Hong Kong 54-42 in the play-off. The Philippines won the Plate division while India won the lowest-tier Bowl title.
The biennial event returned for the first time since 2018 after the 2020 edition in South Korea was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Sri Lanka had beaten Hong Kong 67-43 in the semi-final yesterday to reach their sixth straight ANC final.
Sri Lanka coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe said the win gave the players and country something to celebrate amid the nation’s economic crisis.
She noted that the team has not had a smooth build-up to the ANC as they were unable to go on an exposure tour before a major tournament for the first time and sometimes had to train in the dark when the power supply at their facility was disrupted.
She said: “Whatever the disturbance, I was trying my best to keep on going. I must salute the girls, they really did their best and I think the country will be very happy.”
Meanwhile President Ranil Wickremesinghe has congratulated the unbeaten Sri Lankan Netball team who were crowned Asian Netball Champions after having defeating Singapore.