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DateLine Sunday, 3 June 2007

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Tennis boss confident Sri Lanka entering stage II of Davis Cup

TENNIS: Janaka Bogallagama the president of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association expressed his confidence in Sri Lanka entering the stage II of the Asia Oceania Davis Cup after the group III scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka from July 18-22 at the newly constructed SLTA hard courts. The new courts cost rupees 15 million.

Dimo are the principal sponsors of the tournament.

Sri Lanka will be pitted against Lebanon, Malaysia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

Bogollagama said that Sri Lanka has got the opportunity to host the event after four years and the SLTA has to play the pivotal role. The SLTA are all geared up to mark this historic occasion.

"The SLTA is all geared up to host the event of this magnitude as we have the officials and the administrators to meet the demands of a tournament of this nature" the SLTA chief said. Two players in the squad Harshana Godamanne and Renouk Wijemanne will be trained in Thailand, said Bogollagama.

He also said that these days considering the technicalities of the game are concerned, the need is a sciencetific approach and they are looking at the youngsters where they can harness talent to the utmost.

Vasantha Wijesekera, the Head of the Organising Committee at press briefing held at the Taj Samudra Hotel in connection with the event, said that competitions like Grand Slam and the US Open may be more famous purely because they are played for individual brilliance and for big prize money.

But the Davis Cup is unique in the sense because the players play for their country.

Suresh Subramanium, a former President of the SLTA and presently the general secretary of the Asian Tennis Federation said that the Davis Cup is 107 years old and the first competition was held in the US. There are 131 countries participating and Sri Lanka is ranked 83. In the Asian region, Sri Lanka is ranked 17 out of 33 countries.

Sri Lanka's allround talent and the experience of Harshana Godamanne who has been performing well in Thailand for the past 6 months and has won lot of prize money, can take the team to the next stage of the tournament.

The teams are scheduled to arrive on July 16 and Taj Samudra has been named as the official hotel.

Oman and Lebanon have already announced their teams.

Oman: Muhamed Al-Nabhani, Khalid Al-Nabhani, Sulaiman Al Rawahi, Ahamed Al-Barwani, Siddiq Al-Hashmi (Captain)

Lebanon: Hussain Badreddine,(Captain\Coach), Basan Beibas, Karim Al Ayli, Patrick Chucri, Rami Osman.

Sri Lanka: Harshana Godamanne, Renouk Wijemanne, Sanka Athukorale, Rajive Rajapakse, Dinusha Wijesuriya, Roah de Silva (non-playing captain). Ganendran Subramanium (coach).

 

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