Sri Lanka’s premier 800m runner Indunil Herath did not disappoint, as he managed to qualify for the final of the 800m event with a run of 1:47.54 in the first semifinal heat which was held today (27th August), during the evening session of the Athletic competitions.
The first heat of the semifinal round was the fastest out of the three heats, where the runners got down to business straight away with only the top two guaranteed a spot in the final. Indunil Herath was the race leader in the opening lap and was challenge by Sho Kawamoto of Japan. However closing in on the final 200m Jamal Hairana of Qatar took the lead only to be beaten thereafter by Jinson Johnson of India who ended up as the winner of the heat clocking the best overall time in the heats of 1:47.39. It was an anxious wait for Indunil because he was uncertain whether he could make the final until the rest of the semifinals were over. However, it turned out that Indunil’s frantic push in the 1st heat would place him third in the timings overall from all of the heats, giving him the opportunity to run in the finals.
He endured a 7 month long specialized training program in Kenya targeting the Asian Games, also managing to break the National record with a new personal best time of 1:47.13. Brimming with confidence and aiming at silverware, Indunil is positive of finishing with a medal. The men’s 800m final will be held at 6.10pm Sri Lankan time tomorrow (28th August).
Brave fight by Nilani in the Steeplechase
Steeple chaser Nilani Ratnayake put up a brave performance in the Women’s 3000m final despite ending up in the 6th place clocking 9:54.65. Nilani started the race strong and was one of the front runners in the opening few laps, but was beaten by sheer pace and class showcased by the winner of the event; Winfred Yavi of Qatar who is the IAAF World Junior Champion of the 3000m and Indian Sudha Singh. Yavi, who looks like the next big thing in the 3000m steeplechase showed that she was a class apart of the rest, managing to make easy work of the final few laps racing away from the rest of the bunch to take Gold clocking 9:36.52. Indian Sudha was the only other athlete who tried to keep up with Yavi and ended up with the Silver medal, while Thi Nguyen of Vietnam won the Bronze.
The two Sri Lankan athletes, Indunil Herath (Men’s 800m) & Rumeshika Ratnayake (Women’s 200m), will compete tomorrow (27th August). Visit http://www.thepapare.com/athletics/ to be updated on the progress of Sri Lankan athletes on their quest to end a 12-year medal drought at the Asian Games.