The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) has selected a squad of 8 junior athletes for the Asian qualification round of the Youth Olympics which will be held in Thailand from 3rd to 5th of July 2018 and will determine the Asian representation at the Youth Olympics to be held from the 6th to 14th October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Sri Lankan Juniors impressed at the recently concluded South Asian Junior Athletic Championship(SAJAC) and showed improvement from the Junior National Championship(JNC). The team of 8 will consist of 4 Male and 4 Female athletes who will be looking to earn qualification for the showpiece event in Argentina.
Royalist High jumper, Seniru Amarasinghe is the only field athlete to have been included in the contingent and is currently ranked 3rd in Asia for his performance of 2.00m at the SAJAC. He will be looking to seal the deal in Thailand as 4 High jumpers from Asia will have the opportunity to take part in the Youth Olympics.
Benedictine Dilan Bogoda is currently the top ranked quarter miler in Asia in the Under 18 age category and will be looking to better his personal best time of 48.55secs which was a new JNC record. Bogoda was also a member of the Sri Lankan contingent at the SAJAC though he didn’t feature in the competition as he was the reserve of the Men’s 4X400m relay team which consisted of 4 runners who have qualified for the IAAF World Youth Championships.
Sprinter Shalika Santhush is one of the leading young prospects of the country having managed to qualify for the IAAF World Youth 200m semifinals. However, Santhush has not featured in any competition this year owing to a hamstring niggle he has been nursing and will be looking to come back to form in Thailand and surpass his best of 21.71 from last year for which he is ranked second overall in Asia. Peterite Deneth Senanayake who will also be competing in the 200m for a spot will have to work hard with his best of 22.09secs placing him in the 20th position in the Asian pecking order.
Shelinda Jansen the young sprinter from Gateway College who made heads turn at the JNC where she managed to claim a 32-year-old meet record in the 200m has received the nod for the Asian qualification event in Thailand. Shelinda’s record breaking time of 24.98 is the 4th best time recorded in the event in Asia this year and she is in contention for a spot with Asia receiving a quota of 4 athletes for the Youth Olympics. She will also be the only Sri Lankan female sprinter with the rest competing in the long-distance events.
Samudika Herath of Walala A Ratnayake College will be competing for a spot in the 1500m in the Asian qualifier in Thailand. Despite running an excellent time of 4:36.71 at the SAJAC she is currently ranked 5th in Asia and will have to improve her time to be able to clinch one of the three spots available for Asian athletes.
The two 2000m steeple chasers from Kuliyapitiya Central College, Asmika Herath and Parami Wasanthi have also received the nod to take part in the Asian qualifier in hope of a place in the Youth Olympics. Parami has been the new kid on the block having managed to renew the meet record held by Asmika at the JNC which warranted a call up to the SAJAC squad where she took part in 3000m on the other hand Asmika, who is the more experienced campaigner having represented the country at the youth Asian championship last year will be determined to pull one back against her school mate and training partner which may present an opportunity for both athletes to qualify for the Youth Olympics.