TOKYO, July 27 – Swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe raised Sri Lanka’s hopes for a few seconds by leading in the Men’s 100m freestyle first-round heat, until the halfway mark but failed to maintain the rhythm as he finished last at the XXX11nd Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre here today.
Out of eight swimmers who took part in heat 4, the South Asian Games Gold Medallist had the quickest reaction timing and led till the first 50m. He was still in the lead as he completed the halfway mark in 23.47 seconds.
But he failed to keep the momentum after the turn and took 27.15s for the last 50m to finish last in the heat with a timing of 50.62s.
He finished 1.13s behind Hong Kong’s Ian Yentou Ho who won the heat 4 in 49.49s.
Ho was in second place behind Abeysinghe at the first 50m mark clocking 23.50s. Artur Barseghyan of Armenia finished second in the heat 4.
Manoj Abeysinghe, coach and father of Matthew Abeysinghe said it was not easy to train during a pandemic.
“He could train for four months and that sort of training is hardly sufficient in the big league where the champions train for three to four years. Though he led in the first 50m, he lacked stamina and staying power in the second half to give a fight at the end,” Abeysinghe (Senior) said after the race today.
Out of 72 swimmers who took part in nine hearts of the Men’s 100m freestyle, Abeysinghe finished 48th.
The fastest of the 72 swimmers was Italian Thomas Ceccon who won heat 9 returning a timing of just 47.71s. Cealeb Dressel (US – 47.73s), Kyle Chalmers (Australia – 47.77s), Alessandro Miressi (Italy – 47.83s) and Sunwoo Hwang (ROC – 47.89s) were the other overall winners who were to compete under 48s.
Meanwhile, Mathilda Karlsson, who competes in equestrian, arrived in Tokyo today, completing the Sri Lankan arrivals for the Olympic Games.
She is residing away from the Athletes Village as other competitors of her sport. But Sri Lanka team sources said that she had opted to come today and stay with the rest of the contingent to gain Olympic Village experience.