Sri Lanka had a good opening day in Bhubaneswar, India at the Asian Athletic championship which commenced yesterday (06th July 2017).
Dilhani Lekamge, who was the only Sri Lankan athlete competing in a final on the opening day, won a Silver medal in the Women’s Javelin throw. Dilhani threw a personal best distance of 58.11m to secure the silver medal. Lekamge’s previous personal best was 56.92 m but has roared into a surprise package to win the silver medal. Pre event favorite Li Lingwei stormed into gold with a distance of 63.06m while former Asian games bronze medalist, Indian Annu Rani, who was a favorite for the silver due to her seasonal best of 61.86m, had to be satisfied with a bronze medal with a best throw of 57.32m.
Seven other Sri Lankan athletes apart from Lekamge took to the field today and it would have been a perfect day if not for the unfortunate incident of Rumeshika Ratnayake being disqualified due to a false start in the Women’s 100m dash. A definite medal prospect in the 100m, Rumeshika will unfortunately play no further part in the women’s 100m although she still has the 200m in which she will be focused on giving her all to make sure the Lion flag is raised high on the podium.
Earlier in the day Olympian and Sri Lankan skipper for this tour Manjula Kumara made easy work of the qualification mark in the high jump.
The two sprinters Himasha Eshan and Vinoj Suranjaya entered the Semifinal of the Men’s 100m after both of them managed to finish their heat placed 2nd. Himasha Eshan, the current national record holder in the 100m, clocked a time of 10.47sec while Sri Lanka’s newly found speedster Vinoj Suranjaya qualified with a time of 10.44 sec.
Women’s 400m athlete Nirmali Madhushika secured a place in the final after finishing third in the semifinal with a time of 54.38 sec. Young Madhushika will be focused on a hearty performance come the final as she will be vying for a long awaited podium finish by a Sri Lankan female athlete in the women’s 400m in an international competition.
Dilip Ruwan and Ajith Premakumara both qualified for the semifinals as they got through their heats placed first and second respectively. In the first Semifinal which was held in the evening where Ruwan was competing, there was drama that unraveled with two gun shots being heard at the start . Some of the athletes, including Sri Lankan Ruwan almost stopped thinking it was a false start but continued when the race officials did not restart the race. There will be a re-run of the race today (7th ). Ajith Premakumara who competed in the 2nd semifinal was placed fourth.