Photos courtesy of Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC – Cat Devil Facebook
Bangkok, Thailand, August 21, 2020 – Import player Janitha Surath, the backbone of the Sri Lanka men’s national volleyball team, flew back to his home country on Friday after he was instrumental in lifting Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC to victory at the recent 2019-2020 Thailand Volleyball League.
It was not his debut effort in the top-level professional men’s Volleyball League in Thailand as the 32-year-old joined Thailand Air Force VC in 2018, steering the team to a second-place finish in the Thailand League, but played a key role in helping the team clinch the Thai-Denmark Super League trophy on the same year. He was awarded the Best Server in the top-flight competition.
In 2019, Janitha returned to Thailand once again to compete for Air Force VC in the Thailand League and assisted the team to reign supreme. However, Air Force could not maintain their form to drop from their best for a second-place finish in the Thai-Denmark Super League, the competitive tournament held after the Thailand League.
It was the recent edition of the Thailand League that Janitha performed exceptionally well in the tournament. He was the only import player competing for Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC in the Final Series (the round of the Final 4) which saw Air Force, Diamond Food VC, RMUTL Phitsanulok and Nakhon Ratchasima join the fray in the Men’s Thailand League.
Other import players had left Thailand earlier after completion of the regular season of the tournament. The Final Series (Final 4) had to be suspended for nearly four months following the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the lockdown restrictions in Thailand and closure of several places and areas including shopping malls, gymnasiums and competition venues.
The 2019-2020 season resumed with the round of the Final 4 in early July. Teams had to play twice against one another and the team with the most matches won or, if two teams have the similar matches won, the highest points earned in this round for each team would decide the eventual winners. Nakhon Ratchasima made a perfect run in this round to make a clean sweep of six victories including a stunning 3-2 comeback win against star-studded Diamond Food in the last match of the tournament on July 30.
In the Final 4, played behind closed door at MCC Hall inside The Mall Bangkapi Department Store in Bangkok, Janitha came up with a brilliant all-round performance and always was a constant threat from spike range, while his powerful serving and blocking ability proved a thorn in the rivals’ attacks.
Nakhon Ratchasima, the only unbeaten team in the Final 4, underlined their supremacy over the 2019-2020 Men’s Thailand League for the sixth time in history, while Janitha was no stranger to the Best Outside Spiker Award.
After a long stay in Thailand following the suspension and the resumption of the Thailand League, Janitha on Friday left for Sri Lanka, with team-mates seeing him off at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Samut Prakan. On the previous day, Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC, fresh from winning the 2019-2020 Thailand League, held a thank you-farewell party for the Sri Lankan player, who received a jasmine garland and souvenir.
In fact, Janitha competed not only for Air Force VC and Nakhon Ratchasima The Mall’s VC, but also for Sri Lanka clubs. The 190cm-tall Janitha has served Sri Lanka men’s national volleyball team for several times including the Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship. He also played for Lanka Lions at the 2018 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka Ports Authority in the 2019 edition in Taipei.
At the 2019 Asian Men’s Club Championship, Janitha also played his best to steer Sri Lanka Ports Authority, representing Sri Lanka national team, to a surprise fifth place following their great efforts for stunning wins over Galkan of Turkmenistan, Indonesia’s Polri Samator, Vietnam’s TP HCM, Queensland Pirates of Australia and hosts Taichung Bank.
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