With less than a month remaining for the 23rd edition of the biennial Asian Athletics Championship, which will be held in Doha Qatar from the 21st to 24th April 2019, the Sri Lankan team for the championships has been finalized pending approval from the Minster of Sports Hon. Harin Fernando.
Sri Lanka has received a quota of 14 athletes & three officials for the event, but after the two trials held to select the athletes, the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) are hoping to send a squad of 16 athletes which would enable Sri Lanka to enter a Women’s 4X400m relay team at the competition.
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AASL announced a tough qualification standard for the national trials with the first trial held in February over two days while the second trial were held as a one-day trial with only a few handpicked events and shortlisted athletes allowed to take part in the competition.
The first trial produced two national records as Greshan Dananjaya created history in the Men’s Triple jump while Sri Lanka’s fastest sprinter, Himasha Eshan broke his own National & South Asian record in the Men’s 100m.
In the second and the final trial for Asian Athletic Championship, the best performance came from Nimali Liyanarachchi who for the second time ran an impressive time the Women’s 800m falling an agonizing 0.1 seconds short of the National record clocking 2:02.65 mins. Olympian and Commonwealth finalist Sumedha Ranasinghe was back in his usual form where he managed a throw of 79.65m in the Javelin going pass the announced standard by the AASL.
Himasha Eshan and Vinoj Suranjaya earned qualification for the Men’s 100m but Suranjaya, who had an unfortunate accident during training in the run up to the second trial, will have to undergo a fitness test to be eligible to be a part of the touring contingent. AASL is reportedly looking at entering a Women’s 4X400m team, adding Dilishi Kumarasinghe and Upamalika Rathnakumari to the squad as Nadeeka Ramanayake and Nimali Liyanarachchi who are already members of the squad, will fill in as the other members. Gayanthika Abeyrathna will act as the reserve of the team if they get the greenlight.
Sri Lanka squad for Asian Athletic Championship (Pending Sports Ministry Approval)
Himasha Eshan (100m), Vinoj Suranjaya (100m)*subject to a fitness test *, Sumedha Ranasinghe (Javelin Throw), Rusiru Chathuranga (800m), Dhanushka Piyarathne (Long Jump), Prasad Wimalasiri (Long Jump), Hemantha Kumara (1500m), Greshan Dhananjaya (Triple Jump), Ajith Premakumnara (400m)
Nadeeka Ramanayaka (400m), Nimali Liyanarachchi (800m), Gayanthika Abeyrathne (800m), Vidusha Lakshani (Triple Jump), Nilani Ratnayake (3000m Steeple chase),
* Pending approval – Dilishi Kumarasinghe (4X400m), Upamalika Rathnakumarai (4X400m)