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Key players show lukewarm interest for showpiece of event

The organizers of the Ariyadasa Silva Memorial Trophy Badminton Tournament vouch to have a great tournament despite there being a snag in the form of some top rated players either skipping the sporting event or being too selective about which segments they’ll contest in.

Informed sources told Nation that key players have decided to refrain from contesting the open singles, the showpiece of the five-day tournament. The tournament began yesterday and will continue till June 15 with matches being played at the Sri Lanka Badminton Association and Mercantile Badminton Association courts. The tournament is conducted by the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA).

SLBA Secretary Amal Dias when contacted confirmed key players not sending entries for the open singles. “However, we don’t bother about this too much because a horde of up and coming youth players who represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Junior Championships have sent in their entries,” said Dias.

Upcoming players Sachin Dias has sent in his entries for the doubles event while the promising Buwaneka Gunathilake has decided not to take part.

He said as a response to some of the top players not contesting this key event at the tournament, the SLBA has decided to suspend the national pool training sessions till the tournament concludes.

A source said that players are showing a lukewarm interest in contesting the tournament because no prize money is on offer.

As many as 950 players have sent in entries for the tournament which will feature 1200 matches. The number of entries has been supported by the inclusion of many junior events. According to Dias, events will be open to players whose ages range from age 11-19.

When asked about the availability of umpires, he rubbished speculation that some members of the Umpires’ Committee were planning not to extend support in conducting the tournament.

The Ariyadasa Silva Memorial Trophy is considered only second to the National Championships and is a top ranking tournament in the badminton calendar.
The tournament is being held after a lapse of one year.