SLWF has already planned to send a 40-strong team for the 2021 Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship which will serve as a final qualification for the 2022 Commonwealth Games which will be held from August 9 to 18 in Birmingham. This will be the good opportunity for Sri Lankan weightlifters. Sri Lanka has already earned more medals from this sport at the recent International events and SLWF wanted to get successful results once again their main target is next Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2022.
Indika Dissanayake the silver medal winner of the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia said the weightlifters are very keen to take part at the forthcoming Commonwealth Championship as it will be one of the qualifying event for the next Commonwealth Games in 2022. Evan during the Covid 19 lock down period Sri Lankan weight lifters did their regular training in Kandy, Colombo and Kurunegala .
The weight lifters were very keen to train to focus on Olympics but due to lack of competition due to Covid19 we couldn’t reach the required Olympic standard as well as not even the wild card qualification for any Sri Lankan weightlifter After the 2019 South Asian Games weight lifters had only one competition Asian Championship held last April.
However we never held up our training and now all focus will be on next Commonwealth Games. I think from the Commonwealth weight lifting championship we expect more medals and further more important this event is one of the qualifying event for the next Birmingham Commonwealth Games .
I was the only Sri Lankan silver medalist at the last Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and wanted to improve that to gold next time and my determination is very high .
The world’s best weightlifters will be seen in action at the 2021 Commonwealth Senior, Junior and Youth Weightlifting Championship in Singapore and it is a good exposure before the next Commonwealth Games said Indika Dissanayake.
Chinthana Geethal Vidanage the most experienced weightlifter who took part at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is still very active at this sport. Vidanage who won the gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and silver medal at 2010 Commonwealth Games is looking for another gold medal at the next Commonwealth Games. I wanted to get gold once again and we have talented young competitors who are capable of winning medals. Especially most of them set up Sri Lankan records recently and we can expect international medals from them added Vidanage.
Meanwhile SLWF selected a 14-member elite pool in addition to a 55-member national pool in January and continue training with the full support of Sports Ministry. They are under the guidance of National Weight lifting coach R.B Wickramasinghe. The SLWF is hopeful that at least ten Asian competitors will qualify from the Singapore tournament for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
However SLWF will not have a separate trial to pick participants for the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship as a result of restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, but the national weightlifting selection committee hopes to pick 40 from these two pools. However a trial will be held on August 8 to select three of the best from six weightlifters. Twenty seniors (Men and Women), ten juniors (Men and Women) and ten youth (Men and Women) will head for the Commonwealth event.
Apart from Indika Dissanayake and Chinthana Geethal Vidanage experienced Thilanga Palagasinghe, Dilanka Isuru Kumara who won the bronze medal at last Asian championship in April and women’s weightlifters Chamari Warnakulasuriya, Hansani Gomes and Chathurika Priyanthi are likely medal winners in the forthcoming international meets.