SINGAPORE: Singapore maintained its supremacy in Asian netball after beating Sri Lanka 59-41 in the Asian Netball Championships final on Sunday (Sep 14) held at the Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Arena.
It was like a rerun of the 2012 final, with four-time champion Sri Lanka eager to avenge its defeat to Singapore. Led by their towering goalshooter Tharjini Sivalingam, who stands at 2.07m tall, the visitors started strongly and dominated the first quarter.
Goalkeeper Chen Lili trying hard to block a shot from Sri Lanka's towering goalshooter Tharjini Sivalingam.
But the Singapore team fought back as their offensive line started to put pressure on Sri Lanka's defence. The strategy worked, leaving the visitors overwhelmed in the next three quarters.
Ruth Aitken, coach of Singapore team, said: "Sri Lanka started really well, and we just had to regroup a bit at quarter time, remind ourselves that we're a good team and (that) we've got belief in each other, and then just put a bit more pressure in defence. I thought the way the girls left it in that second quarter was inspirational."
The coach also commended the performance of goalkeeper Chen Lili. "You're never going to get everything against some 2.06m tall shooting, but you have to keep trying different things," said Aitken. "I thought she did amazingly well."
Lin Qingyi, captain of Singapore team, said: "I think we played really patiently, and tried to do what we're really good at - fast, quick netball. And as soon as our shooters settled in, I think the game was just home."
The winners pose a picture with Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.
The guest of honour - Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong - also had words of praise for the victors.
He said: "Our girls fought very hard. They fought for every point. And we're very proud of them - that they're able to defend their championship. And we're equally proud of the fact that there are so many Singaporeans coming together to cheer them on."
Moving on, the team will take a breather before hitting the court again in the Nations Cup.