Four Sri Lankan Under 18 athletes earned qualification to take part in the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in Argentina in October, at the Asian Qualifier which was held in Bangkok, Thailand on the 4th & 5th of July.
Steeple Chaser Parami Wasanthi (Gold), Quarter miler Dilan Bogoda (Gold), High Jumper Seniru Amarasinghe (Silver) and 200m sprinter Shelinda Jansen (4th Place) earned qualification for the youth event which will be held in Argentina.
Sri Lanka sent a team of 7 Under 18 athletes for the two-day Asian qualifier held in Bangkok. The Asian quota of 57 Male and 32 Female athletes for the 3rd Youth Olympic Games (YOG) was selected at the competition.
The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) has selected a squad of 8 junior athletes for the Asian qualification round of the Youth Olympics which will be held in Thailand from 3rd to 5th of July 2018
Top of the World performance by Parami
Parami Wasanthi, the steeplechaser from Kuliyapitiya Central College who won Gold in the 3000m SteepleChase (SC) at the recently concluded Asian Junior Athletic Championship, was again in top form at the qualifier as she stormed to victory in the Girl’s 2000m SC. Parami clocked an impressive personal best time of 6:35.20 reducing over 23 seconds from her previous personal best of 6:59.63 which she achieved at the Junior National Championship. This performance is currently the best time by an Under 18 Girl’s 2000m athlete this year surpassing the previous best of 6:35.80 by Claire Palou of France. Parami’s schoolmate Asmika Herath who also participated in this event could not make the cut despite winning the Bronze medal as Asia has only received a quota of 02 for the Youth Olympics. Parami’s performance lines her as the favorite for Gold at the YOG 2018. The youngster will be returning to the Island ahead of the rest of the team as she will prepare to take the flight to Finland for the IAAF World Youth Championship which will be held from the 10th to 15th of July 2018 where she will be competing in the 3000m SC event.
Dilan Bogoda, Asia’s best U18 quarter miler
Not to be outdone by Parami, Dilan Bogoda of Sir John Kothalawala College Kurunegala lived up to the expectations as he made easy work of the Boy’s 400m final winning Gold in the event clocking 48.58secs. Bogoda entered the competition as the favorite with his personal best of 48.55secs at the Junior Nationals and strolled into the finals of the qualification with the best time of 48.66 before securing the top spot in the all-important final.
Seniru’s PB takes him to Buenos Aires
Royalist High jumper Seniru Amarasinghe stepped up to the occasion as he came out with a thrilling personal best jump of 2.14m to secure a Silver medal at the event and with it the right to compete at the Youth Olympics games. Seniru’s previous personal best was 2.03 meters at the Junior national championship and this was a magnificent achievement by the young high jumper. This jump places him in the 4th best jump in the age group worldwide on par with Oscar Miers of Australia and Arttu Mattila of Finland. Long Chen of China won the Gold medal in the competition clearing a terrific height of 2.17m and is the best-recorded performance by an under 18 athlete in 2018. Seniru is now in medal contention at YOG 2018 and will be aiming at a podium finish in Argentina.
Junior Sprint queen grabs the final spot on offer
Shelinda Jansen, the upcoming junior sprint queen from Gateway College, Colombo booked a ticket to the Youth Olympics finishing fourth in the Girl’s 200m. Shelinda clocked 25.50secs in the final to earn herself the last of the 04 spots on offer for Asian athletes. Shelinda claimed the best timing in the heats clocking 24.99secs but did not look the same in the final as she seemed to be slow off the blocks. Despite the setback at the beginning of the race, she managed to fight her way back in the home straight earning herself a trip to Buenos Aires later this year.
Samudika Herath of Walala A Ratnayake College who competed in the Girl’s 1500m came in 5th with a time of 4:41.92 and missed out with only the top 3 athletes from the event qualifying to take part at the YOG. Peterite Deneth Senanayake qualified to the Final of the Boy’s 200m final but was placed last clocking a time of 23.48secs.
They were a bunch of juveniles, they did the unthinkable; a whopping medal tally of 9 consisting 3 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze, from a contingent that numbered 13. The Sri Lankan Junior athletes who participated the 18th Asian Junior Athletic Championship (AJAC) made the fellow countrymen proud and the rest of the world sit up and take note.