SL Sevens Rugby team off to South Korea with Olympic hopes

by Saveen Tharinda

Sri Lanka Sevens Rugby Team left the island for South Korea on Tuesday with the hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The team led by Danush Dayan will compete in the Olympic Regional Qualifier for Asia which is scheduled to take place on November 23 and 24 at the Namdong Asiad Stadium in Incheon.

Rugby sevens was introduced as a sport to Olympics in the 2016 games in Rio and since then, all countries have maintained a strong focus on the Sevens game in a bid for an Olympic medal, which is held every four years.

A total of 12 countries will compete in the next year’s Olympic Games. The top four teams in the World Rugby Sevens rankings gain an automatic qualification, another six slots are for the regional winners from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America.

The hosts, Japan will take one more qualification spot while the 12th and the final spot is for the winner from the Repechage tournament that takes place next year.

With Dialog Rugby League 2019/2020 set to commence at the end of this month, Sri Lanka have named a young, new side in the absence of several key players.

Skipper Dayan will have several seasoned sevens players such as Kevin Dixon, Buddhima Piyaratne, Reeza Raffaideen and Jason Dissanayake while Vimukthi Rahula and Ravindu Anjula, are set to wear the national jersey for the first time.

Both Rahula and Anjula performed well in Singapore earlier this month where the provisional Sri Lanka sevens rugby squad participated in the Singapore Cricket Club sevens tournament.

New Zealander Matt Lee will continue to coach the Tuskers with the assistance of Mushtaq Jeffrey, while Rohan Chintaka will function as the Team Manager.

Sri Lanka will play in Group ‘C’ alongside the hosts, South Korea and Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka squad for the Olympic qualifiers – Danush Dayan (Capt), Kevin Dixon, Reeza Raffaideen, Buddhima Piyarathane, Chathura Seneviratne, Iroshan Silva, Adeesha Weerathunge, Sachith Silva, Jason Dissanayake, Ravindu Anjula, Vimukthi Rahula, Sudaraka Dikkumbura and Chathura Seneviratne.

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