SL should have more professional netball players, says Tharjini | Daily News

SL should have more professional netball players, says Tharjini

We have to play more competitive Netball and have professional players said Sri Lankan Netball Goal Shooter Tharjini Shivalingam in an exclusive interview with the Daily News yesterday.

The 6 feet 11 inches tall Goal shooter who joined Sri Lanka Netball team for the recently concluded Asian Netball championship in Singapore returned to Melbourne to play Victoria league Netball for two clubs in Melbourne Falcon and Geelong with several top players from the World Netball arena.

Actually I am very happy to play for my motherland Sri Lanka and was invited to join the team in Singapore and I was happy to accept that invitation to play for the country.

I think I am the most senior Netball player of the Sri Lanka team having more than 18 years experience. When I was awarded world best shooter in 2019 Australian clubs approached me which paved the way for me to come to Melbourne while my team officials are keen to see my talents during the tournament.

Here in Australia there is Super Star tournament where most of the Australian National players are involved but with my age I couldn’t take part in that tournament.

When I was in National Netball team I used to play for Seylan Bank which gave good support to us. At that time Australia Netball club officials contacted the former National coach Thilaka Jinadasa and invited me to join Victoria league Netball. Thilaka did everything and coordinated with my clubs to get this opportunity in 2015 and Rohana Dissanayske of Melbourne is the man who helped me a lot. I am lucky to stay with Australia Assistant coach Nicole who is very helpful to me.

Tharjini said Victoria league and Asian level Netball is two different levels and we have to adjust to play this game. Actually I am continuing my further studies expecting to get degree (MBA) from Social Community and get back home while I have to do my training and playing matches as well as doing my part time job and a very busy life in Melbourne.

Getting advice from a coach like Nicole Richardson is very important. When we were at the Asian Netball championship in Singapore after the match and before the match Nicole gave her comments and her advice was a big boost to play the matches to take Asian Netball crown once again said Tharjini. She always motivated us.

Sri Lanka team has good talented players and myself Thisala Algama, Hasitha Menids are the main goal shooters. I did my part really well while my team mates gave good support to win this title. SLC gave rupees 20 lakhs each for winning Netball title. After Last Asian Netball championship title in 2018 we received new houses from the Government while this year too we hope to get gifts but we never play for personal benefit. Here in Melbourne every Sunday doing two hour training session while Wednesday to Sunday we have training and matches and have to work hard for fitness.

I knew Sri Lanka team couldn’t play International games during last one and half years but they had to play at the Asian Netball championship. We had a plan and team commitment was very high. The head coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe and her supporting staff and Netball Federation headed by Victoria Lakshmi and the Sports Ministry gave good support to the Sri Lanka team to retain the title said Tharjini.

She mentioned about Sri Lankan community of Melbourne headed by Rohana Dissanayske Rohan Dissanayake, Bandula Dissanayake, Malal Athauda and Asoka de Silva who gave good support. They gave all expenses to go to Singapore and join the team and return to Melbourne. I am a Tamil but Sinhala people helped me During my Melbourne journey and race is not a barrier and we are Sri Lankans said Tharjini.

After the Asian Championship now we have to focus on World Netball championship that will be held in South Africa next year. We have to work hard for this as there is a very big difference between Asian level and World level. We have to continue training under good guidance while in the meantime my club in Melbourne have an idea to get Sri Lanka team to Australia said Tharjini. I am still working at Seylan Bank Kollupitiya Branch and got no pay leave for the Australia club season and want to continue my job again. My first priority is My country and Sri Lanka team and I love my country.We want to reach world level in netball.

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