Sri Lanka secured four medals at the 1st leg of the 2019 Asian Grand Prix which was held in Chongqing, China today (4th).
Sri Lanka sent a team of 9 athletes for the Asian Grand Prix, which unlike the earlier years will hold both legs in the same location with the second leg of the Grand Prix scheduled to be held on the 7th at the same location. Athletes for the Asian Grand Prix were chosen by the Asian Athletic Association taking last year’s performance into consideration. Sri Lanka were initially given a quota of ten athletes with injured Vinoj Suranjaya being picked for the 100m. Athletics Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) requested the Asian Association to include Himasha Eshan in place of injured Suranjaya but was turned down with a Chinese athlete with a better time than Himasha being selected for the slot made vacant by Vinoj.
Sri Lanka’s 800m duo Nimali Liyanarachchi and Gayanthika Abeyrathne won two medals in the women’s 800m with Nimali securing silver clocking 2:03.17 while Gayanthika came third to win the Bronze medal clocking 2:03.57. Both Nimali and Gayanthika will be delighted being able to return to the podium as they failed to make their mark at the Asian Athletic Championship.
Olympian Javelin thrower Sumedha Ranasinghe who has been struggling for form in the international competitions despite recording a throw of 79m in the national selection trials secured a bronze medal in the Men’s Javelin event with a throw of 76.92m.
Upcoming and ever improving quarter miler, Nadeesha Ramanayake, who was impressive at the Asian Athletic Championship in Qatar despite not managing to secure a podium finish, had a well deserving medal as she finished second in the Women’s 400m clocking 53.24secs.
Qatermiler Ajith Premakumara missed out on a bronze medal as he was placed fourth in the Men’s 400m clocking 46.69secs. Young Triple jumper Greshan Dhananjaya was placed 6th despite going past 16m recording a 16.02m in his best jump. Rusiru Chathuranga was placed 6th cocking 1:56.27 seconds.
National record holder in the Women’s Shot Put Tharika Fernando was placed 5th with a best throw of 14.28m. High jumper Dulanjali Ranasinghe was placed 7th only managing to clear 1.70m.
Sri Lankan athletes will be determined to do well in the second leg of the Asian Grand prix which will be held on the 7th in the same venue as they will receive more points for performances in international competitions. With the IAAF opting for world rankings instead of a set qualification marks for the global competitions, the local athletes who get the opportunity compete in the international competitions will have to deliver a special performances with the Olympics merely a year away.