The 55th edition of the Sri Lanka Army Athletic Championship, which pits track and field athletes of national caliber against each other representing their respective regiments, commenced today with 5 new meet records established on the opening day itself.
Sri Lanka Army is by far the greatest promoter of track and field in the country with a large portion of the national athletes being employed by the force. The athletes go all out producing notable performances at the meet as they are determined to make the regiment that are the main caretakers of their bread and butter proud.
Kalinga Kumarage (SLEME), who is better known as a leading 400m runner in the country having been a finalist in the Men’s 400m at the recently concluded Asian Games, stole the limelight of the opening day as he delivered a terrific run in the Men’s 200m finals. Kumarage clocked a terrific time of 20.71secs to take the win in the event which was a new meet record and regarded as the third best time recorded in the event behind Vinoj Suranjaya and Sugath Thilakarathne.
Sri Lanka’s beacon of hope after Manjula Kumara in the High Jump and one of the latest additions to Sri Lanka Army’s Athletic powers, Ushan Thiwanka who is representing SLASC leapt to a new meet record height of 2.22m which is a terrific performance by the young star. Ushan holds a personal best of 2.24m and is the future of Sri Lankan High Jumping.
In a thrilling Men’s Javelin throw final in which all three Sri Lankan throwers to have breached the 80m mark competed, Olympian Sumedha Ranasinghe got the better of Olympian Sampath Ranasinghe and Waruna Dayarathne. Sumedha threw a new meet record distance of 78.89m while Sampath was in second place with 75.21m. Waruna Dayarathne was off color again and had to be satisfied with a 4th place finish with a best of 68.22m behind PAP Lakmal who secured the third place measuring 71.82m
In the women’s 400m hurdles, Kaushalya Madushani raced to a brilliant time of 59.68secs to create a new meet record time of 59.68secs. it is the third best time recorded in the event behind Christine Merril and Rasika Dulakshi who have both clocked 59.37secs.
Pole Vaulter Sachini Perera, who has been capitalizing on the absence of Anitha Jegathiswaran in the recent athletic competitions, continued her good form to create a new meet record clearing 3.41m in the event.
At the end of the first day’s events, defending champions in the men’s category, Sri Lanka Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME) who possess a terrific squad with a large number of national athletes in the mix, has taken the lead in the competition with 123 points. Sri Lanka Artillery (SLA) is close in pursuit with 118 points while Sri Lanka Light Infantry is in third place with 74 points.
Defending champions in the women’s category 4(V)SLAWC has opened up a massive lead on the opening day itself amassing 107 points with the second placed only managing 50 points. 2(V)SLAWC is a close third with 48 points to their name.