The 97th National Athletic Championship 2019 ended on a high note with 6 New Meet Records, 3 Sri Lankan Records and one equalled Meet Record. After three days of back to back performances, the competition concluded today, 18th August 2019, marking the beginning of the National Athletic Season for the year 2019.  

Photos: 97th National Athletics Championship – Day 3 | Hiran Weerakkody | 18/08/2019 Editing..

National Record holder Nilani Rathnayake set the pace in the competition with a stunning performance in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase event.  Nilani sustained a timing of 9:50.74 mins for which she was awarded the Best Women’s Performance. 

In the Women’s 5000m event, Liyanarachchi left the track with just five laps remaining, giving off an easy win to Hiruni Wijerathne, who managed a time of 16:54.9mins. Wijeratne, the National Marathon champion, further clocked a time of 35:30.0mins in the 10,000m event. The Men’s 5000m event and 3000m Steeplechase event was secured by RMS Pushpakumara, who remained the National Champion for the fourteenth consecutive year. 

The Triple Jump event stole the limelight with the current National Champion Vidusha Lakshani stamping her personal best distance of 16.66m, to surpass the National Record of 16.64m established in 2017. Safreen Ahamed managed to defeat the current National Record holder Greshan Dhananjaya with a distance of 16.33m in the Men’s Triple Jump Event. 

Liyanarachchi’s third event saw her secure a New National record of 4:15.86 mins in the 1500m event. The record was previously held by NMC Dilrukshi, renewed by Nimali after nine long years. In the 800m event the emerging junior Dilki Kumarasinghe battled hard to a close finish but Liyanarachchi ultimately came out on top.

Ishara Sandaruwan established a New Meet Record in the Men’s Pole Vault event. The previous Meet Record was bettered by a centimetre at 5.01m. 

Sumedha Ranasingha, ranking among the top 50 Javelin Throwers in the World was hounded by his fellow competitor RPWL Dayarathna. In the run-up for the South Asian Games 2019, Sumedha barely manage to grab the Gold with a performance of 80.76m, establishing a New Meet Record. 

The title for the Overall Best Performer of the National Championship 2019 was claimed by Amila Jayasiri, the current National Record holder with leap of 8.06m in the Men’s Long Jump. 

Read More – Shehan Ambepitiya bids Goodbye to the track

The competition in the sprint events was rather memorable with Shehan Ambepitiya retiring from athletics after making his last move in the 200m event. The once Fastest South Asian Junior athlete bid farewell, passing over the baton to his fellow training buddy Vinoj Suranjaya De Silva who is back at his pace as the fastest 200m runner in Sri Lanka. 

The Men’s 100m event saw the tightest of finishes, with sprint king Himasha Eshan taking the title on the third decimal point to defeat Vinoj after both athletes crossed the line at 10.49s.

The Women’s 200m sprint was snatched by the emerging athlete Sharmila Jan with an astonishing time of 24.85 seconds. Similarly, junior champion Aruna Dharshana claimed another 400m National Gold medal. 

With an unfortunate injury striking the current Champion Rumeshika Rathnayaka, Lakshika Sugandi snatched the ‘fastest woman’ title, clocking a time of 12.08 seconds in the Women’s 100m. 

Samith Madusanka Fernando, another up and coming youngster, showcased promise in the men’s shot putt event. Twenty-one-year-old Samith equalled the current Meet Record at 16.23m, placing the current record holder, Samitha Jayawardana with a silver. 

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The 97th National Athletic Championship 2019 was a memorable one with many stand-out performances, comebacks and goodbyes. Stay logged to for more updates.

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