Matthew Abeysinghe – First ever Lankan swimmer to qualify for Olympics

Matthew Abeysinghe
Sri Lankan champion swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe ©

Sri Lanka’s star swimmer and South Asian Games medalist Matthew Abeysinghe qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics when he clocked 50.53 in the Men’s 100m Freestyle event at the Hong Kong Swimming Circuit championships creating history to be the first ever to achieve an Olympic standard timing.

The Sri Lankan national swimming champion participating in the final qualification event ahead of the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics finished the 100 m freestyle event with a timing of 50.53 seconds to get his qualification ticket to the games.  The minimum qualifying time for the event was 50.70 seconds and Matthew came in 17 milliseconds ahead.

For the past few decades, all of Sri Lankan swimmers have found their way into the Olympics via the wild card system. This is the first occasion where a swimmer from Sri Lanka has gained direct entry to the Olympics in the sport of swimming and it marks a start of a new journey for the twenty-year-old Abeysinghe.

Speaking to shortly after his event in Hongkong, Matthew added these words about his achievement,

“I am extremely happy and proud to be the first Sri Lankan swimmer ever to qualify for the Olympics. It is a huge honour to do that for Sri Lanka and it has been my personal goal and dream since I started swimming when I was four years old.”

“Words can’t even describe what it means to finally be headed to the Olympics”

Currently in Hong Kong, Matthew is set to participate in another few qualifying events to get the qualification timing before he heads back to Colombo on Tuesday.