Seen the Sri Lankan National Men’s Handball Team?

According to Sri Lankan authorities (and as reported in the German newspaper whose web site could really be better organized), there isn’t one. That didn’t stop 23 men — or maybe 25, accounts vary — from organizing a three-week tour through Bavaria, getting German visas, traveling to Wittislingen (an apparently charming place of about 1000 inhabitants), training for competition against the locals and playing a game in what looked like Sri Lankan uniforms. After Wittislingen, they were supposed to play in Dasing, Landshut, Eggenfelden, Karlsfeld, Schlei?heim and Freising. But at the first game, something didn’t seem right. The team was terrible. According to one account, they even asked the referee no to apply the rules so stringently, or they might never score.

After the game, the team and its coaches went back to their quarters at a local orchestral hall. Then they went … somewhere. At first, the good people of Wittislingen thought the team had gone on one of their regular runs through the woods, part of their athletic regimen. But they didn’t come back. No one has seen any of them for days.

There was, by all accounts, a very polite letter thanking everyone for their hospitality and saying the team had gone to France. But who knows?

So. Anyone seen the Sri Lankan men’s handball team?

Update: According to the most recent press reports, they have likely gone to Italy, where there is apparently a reasonably large Sri Lankan community, most of whom work in the shadow economy.

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About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

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