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Sri Lanka face uphill task in securing second round berth

The Asian Beach Volleyball Championship conducted by the Chinese Volleyball Federation under the direct supervision of Asian Volleyball Federation will commence with the participation of 46 teams, today.

Since it is the first ranking tournament conducted by the Asian Federation, all leading teams in the region are in Haikou, China.

Two men’s teams and two women’s teams are representing Sri Lanka in the championship. They will have to face teams who have players with Olympic experience.

Sri Lanka’s opponents were to be decided at a draw scheduled for yesterday.

The tournament will be held under eight groups. Although a solitary victory in the first would be adequate for Sri Lanka to book a berth in the second round, even that seems a difficult task as they have found it difficult to get accustomed to the cold weather (Celsius 14).

"We knew that it would be cold here. We tried to get used to the cold weather by starting practices early morning (6.00 a.m). It was a very simple method. We did not have any other option beyond that because we did not have the ability to train in Nuwara Eliya. Now, we find that the conditions are more severe than expected. This will be advantageous to the countries who are accustomed to this sort of temperature, while it will be disadvantageous to us. But our early arrival is a benefit. Now we have trained for three days at the match venue here. Slowly, but surely the players are getting accustomed to the conditions," Prasanna Udayakumara, the coach of the Sri Lank team told The Island.

The Sri Lanka’s team played friendly matches against Kazakhstan, India and Thailand and held joint training sessions which can only prove to be beneficial.

Sri Lanka number two team member Wasantha Ratnapala, who fell ill two days ago, recovered from his illness and was seen taking part in training sessions yesterday.

Three beach volleyball courts have been built according to Olympic standards along the Holiday Resort beach to stage the matches of the Asian Beach Volleyball Championship.

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