The Sri Lankan athletic team consisting of 13 Junior athletes, took wing to Japan today (5th June) to participate in the Asian Junior Athletic Championship (AJAC) which will be held from the 7th to 10th of June in Gifu, Japan.
Having held its inaugural edition in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1986, this competition has been conducted bi-annually for 17 editions and is scheduled to hold its 18th edition at the Gifu memorial center Nagaragwa Stadium in Gifu, Japan. It is the first time that Japan will be hosting the competition since its inauguration. Sri Lanka hosted the 15th edition of the competition in 2012. 22 Men’s and 22 Women’s events will be worked out over the 4 days where junior athletes under 20 years of age from the Asian region will be looking to excel in their respective sports and earn the right of becoming the regional champions.
After 17 editions, China has gathered up the most number of medals and lead the medal tally with a staggering 562 medals. Japan who has been China’s closest rival is in second place with a tally of 392 medals. From the South Asian nations, India holds the top spot and is placed 5th in the medal tally with 207 medals while Sri Lanka is placed 16th with a total of 20 medals and is the second most successful South Asian nation in the standings.
Sri Lanka’s best return from a competition came in the 2012 edition which was held in Colombo where the Sri Lankan Juniors managed a total of 6 medals which consisted of 2 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals. Shivanthi Kumari won Gold in the Women’s 400m while Dulaj Madushanka won the Gold medal in the Men’s 400m. In the 2014 edition, Sri Lanka secured 3 medals with Himasha Eshan (100m) and Kaushalya Madushani (400m hurdles) who won silver medals while Vidusha Lakshani won Bronze in the Women’s triple jump. In the most recent edition of the competition, the Sri Lankan athletes did not win a single medal.
On the back of impressive performances at the South Asian Junior Athletic Championship, the Sri Lankan contingent are expected to do well at the 18th Asian Junior Athletic Championship with the Athletic Association expecting 7 medals from the youngsters. Many of the Sri Lankan juniors who are selected for the competitions are in the medal range and will be eager to surpass the country’s all-time medal tally at this year’s competition.
Visit www.ThePapare.com/Athletics as we will be bringing you updates on the progress of the Sri Lankan athletes on their way to Asian glory.a