The second national trial targeting the Asian Games, which was only open for invited athletes, was held yesterday (12th) at the Sugathadasa Stadium. The trial allowed the athletes to push for the precipitously set Asian qualification mark by the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL).
Young High Jumper Ushan Thiwanka bettered his personal best of 2.20m, a junior national record, which he established just weeks ago at the Junior National Championship (JNC). Continuing his good form to the senior trials the young Maristonian, who is making his case of becoming the next dominant high jumper in the national arena, cleared a personal best of 2.24m. Despite improving on his personal best by 4cm Thiwanka was short of a solitary centimeter but is expected to receive the nod for the Asian Games.
Commonwealth Games representative Prasad Wimalasiri booked his place in the Asian Games contingent with an astonishing jump of 8.10m comfortably crossing the required 7.95m mark. Prasad’s impressive performance can be somewhat credited to the impressive competition he received from the likes of Danushka Piyarathana and Amila Jayasiri. Danushka was a fraction short of the 8m mark at the first trial with his best measured at 7.99m at the first trial, provided stiff competition to Prasad but only managed a best of 7.65m at the second trial. Amila Jayasiri meanwhile finished third leaping 7.63m.
Triple jump hopefuls Sanjaya Jayasinghe and Vidusha Lakshani were both short of the required qualification mark set by the AASL and are in doubt as to whether they will be picked to make the trip to Indonesia. Sanjaya marked a distance of 16.29m in the Men’s triple with the qualification mark set at 16.45m. In the Women’s, young Lakshani was found short only managing to clear a distance of 13.22m far from the required 13.70m. Hashini Paboda was short of the 13m mark measuring a best of 12.98m.
The 3rd edition of the South Asian Junior Athletic Championship concluded with Sri Lanka securing 41 medals…
Upamalika Ratnakumari raced to victory with a time of 53.81secs in the Women’s 400m final. Young Sachini Divyanjali, who is just 18 years of age, showcased why Sri Lanka’s medal prospects look bright in the junior Asian arena again running the quarter-mile at 55.68 in the final. Sachini is a member of the Women’s 4X400m relay team which will compete at the Junior Asian Championship in Gifu Japan next month. Dilip Ruwan ran a modest time of 46.42secs in the Men’s 400m, despite not making the required mark of 46.25m he has done enough to secure his place in the Men’s 4X400 team. Kalinga Kumara who became the 4th fastest quarter-miler at the first national trials, has already qualified for the Men’s 400m with his personal best of 40.05 at the first trial. The composition of the SL 4X400m is going to be an interesting one with the junior’s Pasindu Kodikara and sensational athlete Aruna Darshana running 46.99 and 46.55 respectively and making a big case for their inclusion in the senior team. Though the youngsters did not take part in the second trial they had informed the AASL that they will be focusing on the Asian Junior competition but hoped for their recent performance to be considered for selections. M G A Premakumara also made a case for a place in the 4X400 team running the final in 46.69 at the trials.
The 100m sprints which charms the track were keenly followed by the gathered with the finals of both Men’s and Women’s segment providing interesting match ups.
The Women’s final, which was sans Rumeshika Ratnayake who is currently in Malaysia competing in the Malaysian open having already qualified for the Asian Games, Lakshika Sugandi, Hurdler and the holder of the national heptathlon record clocked a time of 12.11secs to become the fastest at the second trial. It was consolation for Sugandi who was beaten after a fierce battle in the 100m hurdles by I S Rajasinghe. Junior Athlete Shermila Jan again demanded attention for the omission of the Junior Women’s 4X100 team from the Asian Junior by the AASL showcasing serious pace as she bettered her personal best clocking 12.19secs. Adding fuel to fire youngster Iwanthi Imeshika clocked a superb time of 12.20 and was just behind Jan. She now makes betters Sri Lankan prospects in the 4X100 at the Asian junior if the authorities decide to include the team.
Men’s 100m despite the absence of speedster Vinoj Suranjaya who clocked his personal best time of 10.27secs at the Malaysian open thrilled with Yupun Abeykoon running his personal best in the final. Yupun who trains in Italy was not present at the first trial and has made his claim to be included in the Asian Games. Yupun will be a terrific addition to the record breaking Men’s 4X100m team of Himasha Eshan, Shehan Ambeypitiya, Ashraff Ladeef and Vinoj Suranjaya. Yupun beat Shehan who clocked 10.56secs to secure third place while DK Wijerathne and Ashroff Ladeef both finished with times of 10.63secs.