Lankans leave today for Davis Cup
TENNIS: Sri Lanka takes wing to Tehran today (Sunday) in their tenth
attempt to gain promotion to Group II of the Davis Cup Tennis
(Asia/Oceania Zone). They continue to play in Group III since 1999 and
the tournament this year is from April 9 to 14 in Tehran, Iran.
The four players are Harshana Godamanne, a professional player based
in Bangkok, Thailand, Rajiv Rajapakse, Dinusha Wijesuriya and A.
Hewakottage, who was included in the four-member side at the last
moment. Wasantha Wijesekera (a Vice-President of the SLTA) is the
manager with veteran Davis Cup campaigner and former national champion,
Rohan de Silva, as non-playing captain.
Godamanne comes under Swiss coach Dominiq Utzinger in Bangkok and has
been playing regularly on the Futures Circuit and just returned to
Colombo after competing in three "back to back" tournaments. He joined
in the training sessions in Colombo with the other three players for
about a week before leaving for Tehran. They were in training earlier in
Bangkok under Utzinger the team's coach.
The eight teams vying for the two slots to gain promotion to Group II
are: Sri Lanka, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, United Arab
Emirates (UAE), Vietnam and Syria.
A spokesman for the SLTA told the Sunday Observer that Sri Lanka's
chances "look good" to gain promotion, but will face stiff opposition
from Pakistan and Iran, while Malaysia and Vietnam too pose a threat.