First National record at the 43rd National Sports Festival


Anitha Jegathiswaran, the sensational pole vaulter who has single handedly awakened the women’s pole vault event in the Island, renewed her own national record at the 43rd National Sports Festival which commenced today (22nd), in Kotawila, Matara.

In last year’s opening day of the National Sports Festival, Jaffna’s very own vaulting queen Anitha managed to lay claim to the first national record of the meet in her home turf. This time she’s repeated the feat on the other end of the Island in Matara as she managed to better her existing record by a centimeter to soar to a national record height of 3.48cm and clinch Gold in the pole vault representing the Northern Province. Anitha-Jegathiswaran-1

The weather in and around the Kotavila stadium has been freakish with dark clouds and heavy showers arriving out of nowhere to interrupt the events and then sunshine glaring down in the next minutes. Anitha was a victim of this freakish weather as soon after she crossed the existing meet record mark with a jump of 3.45m, the skies opened with heavy showers. This hampered Anitha’s momentum as she was in superb rhythm clearing the cross bar with plenty of distance to spare. With the rain easing off in a few minutes the sensational vaulter attempted the 3.48 mark and failed in her first attempt but managed to clear the height and establish a new national record with her second attempt. Anitha-Jegathiswaran-2

Having established the national record, she straight away went for the Asian qualifying mark of 3.50cm but failed to clear the mark in her three attempts. It should however be noted that the underfoot conditions in the running lane were very soggy while the takeoff area was muddy after the sudden downpour.  

Speaking to soon after her triumph, Anitha shared her thoughts on the victory “I am very happy to have been able to renew the national record but a little disappointed since I couldn’t achieve my target of 3.50m but I will try my best in the next meet.”

When queried about the impact the sudden rain had on her progress, the young vaulting queen had this to say, “It’s a little bad these days because of the rain. Since it started raining during the meet the body warmed down and it was a little difficult to warm up again and I think that’s why my performance was not up to my expectation. The meets for this year are done now, but in the new year I will come out with a big target which is to clear the 3.50m mark which is the qualification standard for the Asian games.”

Jaffna’s Pole Vaulting queen has yet again proved that she can take the Sri Lankan flag to the international stage, smashing the national record time and time again. In the current calendar year this aspiring athlete has renewed the Women’s Pole Vault national record 4 times; at the 1st & 2nd National trials, National Athletic Championship and now at the 43rd National Sports Festival. Now it’s up to the responsible authorities to provide this rare talent with much needed international exposure.