Coronavirus spikes national team’s preparations for Asian tournaments

The Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation (SLVB) is making plans to resume administration of the sport once the curfew as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is lifted.

Five national level events and five international competitions at the Asian level were scheduled for 2020, according to the national development programme of the federation. However, the Asian tournaments have been postponed indefinitely, according to the Secretary of SLVB A.S. Nalaka.

“I believe we will know by September whether we can conduct local tournaments scheduled before December 31. But it all depends on the decisions made by the Sports Ministry and our sponsors,” Nalaka told the Daily Mirror today.

The Dialog President Gold Cup, the Munchee National Championships, the DSI Supersports Schools Championship, the Sunquick National Beach Volleyball tournament and the newly introduced Under 22 Prime Minister’s Trophy competition are some of the scheduled events which have been put on hold.

In addition among the international competitions Sri Lanka were scheduled to take part in this year was the 2nd Asian Men’s Challenge Trophy (Kyrgyzstan), 20th Asian Men’s Under 22 Championship (Iran), 20th Asian Women’s Under 19 Championship (China), Asian Men’s Championship (Myanmar) and the 2nd Asian Women’s Challenge Trophy (China).

Two national volleyball pools comprising men and women had been preparing earnestly with the aim of participating in these events till February but with the coronavirus epidemic intensifying, they had to disbanded, according to the Federation Secretary. The men’s and women’s national pool comprised 30 players each.

The federation hired the services of two foreign coaches last year with the South Asian Games in Kathmandu and upcoming competitions in mind but their contracts were discontinued in December because they could not produce the desired results.

The SLVB had made a decision not to hire any foreign coach this year, giving pride of place to locals when appointing a national coach, assistant coach and physical trainer.

At the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal held in December, the Sri Lanka men and women volleyball teams failed to win gold or silver but had to settle for bronze medals. Although the Sri Lanka volleyball teams took part in several Asian tournaments last year, they failed to achieve any success.

Volleyball in Sri Lanka boasts of a history spanning over 100 years but their only success at international level has been when the women’s national team beat India to win gold medal at the South Asian Games held in Colombo in 1991 while the men’s national team have yet to rise and shine at international events.

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