With less than a week to go until rugby sevens takes centre stage of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, all teams are putting their final preparations into place.
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12 men’s and eight women’s teams will take part in the competition set to be hosted at the GBK Sports Complex from 30 August to 1 September.
Rugby sevens has been part of the Asian Games since 1998 and in the men’s competition Japan have won the last three gold medals on offer, in Incheon in 2014, Guangzhou in 2010 and Doha in 2006.
Korea won gold in 1998 and 2002, while in the women’s competition China won gold in 2014 and Kazakhstan were victories in 2010.
Two sides coming into this tournament have already participated in a rugby sevens competition at a multi-sport event in 2018, with Sri Lanka and Malaysia competing at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Sri Lanka, who line up against Korea, the UAE and Afghanistan in Pool C, name an unchanged side from then and will once again be captained by Surdarshana Muthuthanthri.
“We are very excited to be involved in a tournament like this and can’t wait to start playing,” said Muthuthanthri.
“This is a great experience for the boys and it is a privilege to represent our country in the Games where we are part of a few select sports and teams that get the opportunity to be here.”
Despite not winning a match on the Gold Coast, the Tuskers took the lead in all three of their matches against Fiji, Uganda and Wales.
Danushka Ranjan stole the headlines for Sri Lanka, scoring four tries in three matches – placing him second in the try scoring charts for the day alongside the likes of Amenoni Nasilsila and Rosko Specman.
And that experience has helped Sri Lanka prepare for the upcoming Asian Games where they are targeting gold.
“We know we need to start the games well as we did in Australia, but we also need to finish them strong too,” added Muthuthanthri.
“Winning the gold medal is of course our target here and we have been working on all aspects of our game as we identified areas we needed to improve on from Australia.”
Sri Lanka Squad:
Sudarshana Muthuthanthri, Danushka Ranjan, Jason Dissanayake, Danushka Dyan, Srinath Sooriyabandara, Kavindu Perera, Sudam Sooriyarachchi, Gayan Weeraratne, Tharinda Ratwatte, Buddhima Piyarathane, Reza Raffaideen, Rehan Silva
Head Coach: Peter Woods (New Zealand)