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Gayanthika stole the limelight at Athletic Nationals

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Gayanthika Abeyratne and Sarangi Silva

Age is not a barrier for success and 34 year old Gayanthika Abeyratne proved it by setting up two records at the National Athletic Championships.”I had good preparation under the guidance of coach Sajith Jayalal to finish my races at the 99th National Athletic Championships said Asian medalist Gayanthika Abeyratne who set up new records in the 1500m and 5000m events at the Sugathadasa Stadium over the week end .

The dedicated middle distance athlete Abeyratne from Sri Lanka Navy was the star of this two day meet conducted by Sri Lanka Athletics . Five Sri Lanka records were shattered during the Sri Lanka Athletic National Championship stage two and it was a good sign ahead of the forthcoming Asian Games as well as Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Gayanthika stole the  limelight at Athletic Nationals
Sachini Perera

Abeyratne was very keen to run this meet”. I had a good training period at Boralanda and that paved the way for my success. Earlier I was more focussed on 800m but this time I worked hard for 1500m event to renew my National record. I had an idea to run at least 4.10 seconds in 1500m but I am very happy to finish with 4 minutes and 09.12 seconds to establish new record and never expected to reach this timing and that was amazing.

Gayanthika smashed the 1500m record set by Nimali Liyanarachchi in 2019.She finished 5000m race with a time of 15:55.84 seconds to set up new record with a clear lead in her race . She broke US based distance runner Hiruni Wijayaratne’s 2020 record of 16:17.51 seconds.

“Actually I started my international career in 2001 by taking part in the Asian junior Athletic championship.From year 2009 I get good guidance from my coach Sajith Jayalal upto date .His training schedule and effort paved the way for my success. I was able to set up 800m National record and that was broken by Dilshi Kumarasinghe last April.

Actually due to Global pandemic we couldn’t train with a proper plan . I was not able to run at the last National championship due to a leg injury

However these two two records was a big boost for next Asian Games said Abeyratne. The athlete hailing from Sooriyawewa had won 800m gold medal in 2017 Asian Indoor game once again won the silver medal at the Asian Championship in same year and bronze at 2019 Asian Championship is once again heading for a Asian Games medal.

Gayanthika stole the  limelight at Athletic Nationals
Roshan Dhammika Ranatunga

Meanwhile 23 year old hurdler Roshan Dammika Ranathunga stunned the arena when he clocked 13.97 seconds in the 110m hurdle to erase the 24-year-old record of 14.0 set by Mahesh Perera in 1997. Then on the same day he renewed the record once again clocking 13.89 seconds. He said his success of the event is dedication and mainly credit should go to his coach Tyrone Gamage .

The former athlete of Godakawela Kularatne MMV said his College and Sri Lanka Army where he presently works give maximum support to his career. My parents and elder brother are also involved in this sport and they always encourage me to go forward .Ranatunga who was a student of Applied Science Faculty of Sabaragamuwa University keen to continue this sport.Actually he was a high jumper during his school days, won the Commonwealth Youth Games silver medal in 2017, but later changed to hurdles where he has met with great success .

Menahile the Pole Vaulter Sachini Perera, leaped 3.57m to erase her own record in this meet. The former gymnast has been making waves with her performances in the pole vault where she earlier set a record clearing 3.56m in December last year.

The other record was set by long jumper Sarangi Silva who shattered her own record clearing 6.48 metres jumping against a -0.9 m/s headwind. The former athlete of Panadura Sri Sumangala BMV coached by present National coach Y.K Kularatne worked hard to get success but due to Covid 19 illness her training was not up to the schedule .If she had better preparation she could have improved on her record.

The South Asian Games gold medalist Sarangi Silva had a successful training in Doha early this year and had a previous best of 6.44m at the International meet in Turkey last June .

Samith Fernando of Sri Lanka Army set a new meet record in the Shot Putt, with an impressive performance of 17.36m.while Aruna Darshana and Amasha de Silva won the 200m men and women events respectively. Darshana clocked a personal best 20.91 seconds as he beat defending champion Kalinga Kumarage and in-form Mohamad Safan for the title.

The promising sprinter Amasha de Silva, the 100m champion, also bagged the 200m National title clocking a personal best of 24.08 seconds, in this meet while Medhani Jayamanne and Nadeesha Ramanayaka finished in second and third.places . In addition Lakshika Sugandhi returned to clinch her heptathlon title with 4645 points as well as winning the 100 m women’s hurdle .

The two day National championship was a huge success and five National records proved it before the major International events and they have busy schedule in year 2022.


Wednesday, November 3, 2021 – 01:00

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