Sri Lanka badminton coach Tony Wahyudi, an Indonesian national, has expressed optimism that the team could do well at the forthcoming South Asian Games in Nepal. He made the remarks in an interview with the Sunday Observer. “I am very satisfied with the training of the Sri Lankan badminton pool and all the shuttlers are making good progress. They are hard at practices ahead of the South Asian Games,” said Wahyudi. He is being backed a hundred percent by the Sri Lanka Badminton Management Committee president Nishantha Jayasinghe who himself is a former National player. Sri Lanka will have a very busy schedule this year while contesting the Thomas Cup tournament, Sudirman and Uber Cup tournaments. In addition there will be the World Badminton Championships in June, the World Junior Championship in October and the Asian Junior Championships in July. Sri Lanka did well last year especially at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia where the doubles pair of Buwaneka Gunatilleka and Sachin Dias reached the semi finals marking the first time in Sri Lankan history that a men’s doubles pair went that far. “During the Asian Games both Sachin and Buwaneka really performed well to enter the quarter finals. I think if we give more international exposure to this pair we can get more results. The Karunaratne brothers Niluka and Dinuka had their exposure and we must make sure every player gets a fair deal,” said Wahyudi. “Our target is a gold medal at the South Asian Games and our main challenge will come from India. But with Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa our main mixed doubles pair at this stage we can look forward to the challenge,” said Wahyudi. He said Sri Lanka depended too much of Niluka and Dinuka Karunaratne and it was time that young players like Dumidu Abeywickrama, Kasun Amarasena, Ranthushka Sasindu, Dilmi Dias and Hashini Ambalangodage be given all the encouragement and taken care of well. Wahyudi also said it was important for Sri Lankan players to improve on their fitness levels to compliment their talents while emphasizing that the services of a physical fitness trainer and physiotherapist were vital.