Three Sri Lankan athletes took the field today (28th) at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta Indonesia, but failed to make a mark in their respective events.
In the 200m heats, sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake finished third in the first-round heat clocking 23.79secs, thereby qualifying for the semifinal of the Women’s 200m event. Rumeshika was not happy though with the time she clocked in the heat, as her Personal Best (PB) being 23.40secs.
Rumeshika was handed lane number 7 in the semifinal which also featured Indian Dutee Chand the front runner for the Gold. Chand made easy work of the heat managing to run an incredible race to finish ahead of the rest clocking 23 secs flat. Rumeshika, despite a promising start faded off during the final few meters of the competition finishing 6th in the race clocking an unimpressive time of 24.05secs. Rumeshika claimed the 10th overall spot in the standings, but did not find a spot in the final as only the top 8 athletes take the track for the final. Should she have managed to run below 23.7secs, Rumeshika would have found a spot in the final.
Gayanthika Abeyrathne who qualified for the Women’s 800m final at the expense of Nimali Liaynarachchi of Sri Lanka did not have the greatest race managing to clock a time of 2:05.50. While it was better than the 2:06.31 she clocked in the first round, it was far behind Gayanthika’s PB of 02:02.55 which is also the national record for the event in the Island. Despite trying to take charge in the opening few meters of the race, she seemed to have been involved in a clash with the other athletes in the bunch, which may have thrown her off rhythm. Coming into the second lap Gayanthika could not make her mark as she was left behind by the lead pack, and was not able to keep up with the eventual race winners.
Similar to Gayanthika, Indunil Herath who competed in the men’s 800m final had a horror race finishing 8th clocking an unimpressive 1:51.36 in the final. Sri Lanka’s premier men’s 800m runner Indunil, who endured a 7-month long training program in Kenya targeting the Asian Games, uplifted Sri Lankan hopes of a medal finish when he managed to break the Sri Lankan national record time in the Men’s 800m at the Kenyan President’s championship clocking an impressive 1:47.13. In the qualification round at the Asian games, he showcased a glimpse of the improved performance clocking 1:47.54 and was ranked overall third best after the qualification round.
Sri Lanka’s final medal hope in athletics will be at the Men’s 4X400m relay. The team will compete in the qualification round tomorrow (29th) at 6.45pm, and if they qualify will compete in the Final on the 30th at 7.10pm.