BADMINTON coach A. Sankar extended his stay during his recent visit back to Malaysia.
After he rejoined the Sri Lankan national training set-up in Colombo early last year, the 43-year-old Malay-sian was offered the chance to guide his charges for the first time in the Division Three contest of the Sudirman Cup mixed team event in Kuala Lumpur in May.
Sankar said it was a rare trip abroad with the Sri Lankan team due to limited financial resources.
“The players at both junior and senior levels are keen to compete at their own expense.
“Although it has been easy to guide them in training because they want to learn, I am still struggling to push them to scale greater heights,” he said.
Following a brief break after the Sudirman Cup, Sankar decided to stay on to conduct training under the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) programme.
A total of 27 trainees, including 18 from Sri Lanka, were part of the development training programme.
Junior shuttlers from three other countries — Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan — went through the paces during the 12-day camp at Powerful Sports Arena in Kepong.
Sankar was also seen with his charges at the recently-concluded Asian Junior Championships in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
However, the Sri Lankans failed to make an impact.
The Australia junior international boys’ Under-19 doubles champions, Sachin Dias-Buwaneka Goonathilieke, did not get past the second round in both the singles and doubles events.
Kavidi Ishadika, meanwhile, was a first round casualty in the girls’ singles and her partnership with Dayaratne Yasmitha Sankapale only lasted one match.
The mixed doubles combination of Sachin-Kavidi also lost in the first round.
In the past, Sankar had attained noteworthy success with the Kuala Lumpur junior camp on the Malaysian domestic junior scene.
He was also with the Sri Lankan team for a brief period in 2008, before he moved to Iran in 2009.
Sankar, from Perak, accepted a two-year contract and returned to the Sri Lankan side last year.
His immediate aim is to focus on his unfinished task, which is to inspire
Sri Lankan shuttlers to scale greater heights.
The Sri Lankan junior shuttlers are expected to compete at the World Junior Championships in Bangkok, Thailand from Oct 23 to Nov 3.