Ramudi Samarakoon of Sri Lanka won the first gold medal that was on offer in the 1st ever South Asian Aquatic Championships, winning the Under 15 Girls’ 200m Breaststroke event as the Sri Lankan swimmers went on to bag a total of 7 golds, 16 silvers and 24 bronze medals at the conclusion of the first day at the Sugathadasa Indoor Swimming Pool Complex.
Subcontinent swimming giants India dominated the Sri Lankan waters winning a massive total of 32 gold medals during the day while securing 23 silvers and 5 bronze to make it 60 medals in total.
Sri Lanka’s Olympians Kimiko Raheem and Matthew Abeysinghe maintained their standard as they secured gold in the events they swam on the first day. 17-year-old Raheem swam her first race which was the Girls Under 18 200 m Freestyle and finished the event with a timing of 2:07.83. Coming in second and third were Damini Krishnappa Gowda and Shraddha Sudhir of India.
Olympian Matthew Abeysinghe had to toil for his gold medal that he won in the 100m Butterfly event where he faced stiff competition from Aman Ghai of India. However, Abyesinghe’s final 25 meters proved to be the difference as he finished the race with a timing of 55.39 seconds. Aman Ghai who was placed second finished the event in 56.15 seconds.
However, the highlight of the day was the younger Abeysinghe sibling; Kyle Abeysinghe. The South Asian Games medallist, Kyle went on to secure two gold medals for Sri Lanka winning the under 18 200m freestyle as well as 200m Individual Medley. The sixteen-year-old had the likes of experienced swimmers from India in the 200m Individual Medley event and it was impressive to see him defying all odds to finish the race first.
Sri Lanka’s Asian School Games silver medallist and champion swimmer Akalanka Pieris got himself a top podium finish by winning the Boys’ Under 18 50 m Butterfly event while the other gold medal for the country came in the diving discipline.
Yashoda De Silva secured the top honour in the Open 3m Spring Board competition in the diving category to bring the final gold medal for the country. India dominated 7 out of the 8 diving events that were held, giving them 8 gold medals and 6 silver medals.
The Indian relay teams were too powerful for the Sri Lankans to catch up to as they won all of the eight medley relay events that were held today. The Indians won the Under 15 400m Medley relays, under 18 400m Medley relays, over 18 400m Medley relays, Mixed under 15 400m Medley relay, Mixed under 18 Medley Relay and the Mixed over 18 Medley relay.
India lead the medal table with their massive tally of 32 gold medals followed by Sri Lanka with 7 gold medals while Bangladesh and Pakistan have won one gold medal each. Maldives are yet to win a gold medal.
The second day of the championship will resume today with the diving events.