Low turnout for senior girls at the Junior Nationals

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The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) held a media gathering today (22nd) with the Junior National Championship 2018 being the focal point of the discussion.

The premier annual contest which will be held for the 56th occasion this year, was set to be held from the 27th to 30th of March has been rescheduled to the 2nd to 5th of April, with the refurbishment of the Sugathadasa Stadium expected to take until the end of the month.

Addressing the gathering Major General Palitha Fernando pointed out that they decided to postpone the competition until the Sugathadasa stadium is race ready as the AASL is dedicated to providing the best opportunity for the young athletes to compete in good conditions, with Sri Lanka set to host the Junior South Asian Championships which will be held on the 4th and 5th May 2018.

The Junior National Championship will be held in four age categories in Under 16, 18, 20 and 23 with a total participation of 2520 athletes representing the whole island expected compete in the events. With a large number of participants, specially in some of the field events, AASL has decided to introduce a minimum criterion in the events as finishing the events in the span of 4days will be a massive challenge if not.

However, the President expressed his concern about the rapid reduction in the numbers of the female participation in the senior age groups. “There is a big reduction in the number of female participation specially in the Under 20 and Under 23 categories, this is a problem that needs to be addressed nationally”.

With the Junior National championship being conducted as a precursor to the Junior South Asian Championship which will be held in April and also the Junior Asian Games which will be held in July in Japan, the Junior Nationals will work as a trial for the young athletes in the under 20 age category if they manage to excel in their respective events they will have an opportunity to get selected to the national squads of the aforementioned events.

President Fernando also stated that the AASL plan to enter best performers at the Junior National competition into a squad which will enter a residential camp in Colombo enabling the squads to train regularly in order to excel at both Junior South Asian and Asian Games. He also went on to add that although the Under 20 age group will be the primary focus for the two international competitions, if there are any impressive talented athletes who show promise specially in 100m, 400m, 3000m steeple chase and in the Girls 100m hurdles event, the AASL will consider adding them to the training squads in hopes of grooming them for the international competitions.

ThePapare.com will be bringing you the action from the sidelines throughout the 4 days of Junior National Championships from Sugathadasa via scintillating captures, expert reviews and updated results. Visit www.thepapare.com/athletics to be updated on the happenings of the 56th Junior Nationals 2018.