The venue for this important tie from Sri Lanka’s point of view will be the court number three of the Musashino Forest Plaza commencing at 8.00 p.m. (4.30 p.m. SL time).
Karunaratne, who was in fine form at the last 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro going up to the third round, was hard at practice since arriving here two days ago. Speaking to the Daily News after a workout with his brother Dinuka Karunarate, his training partner cum coach, he hopes to give out his best in his last Olympic Games.
“It is always nice to play in the third Olympic Games. I really worked hard from last year, improving the world ranking and in good body shape. We have to be strict, disciplined and very much mindful of what we do to achieve for ourselves at the games, at the same time a safe and successful approach for the Games,” Karunaratne said. Karunaratne said they all went through a tough time due to COVID-19 pandemic last year.
“It has always been tough, challenging and limited space to train but after a few months of this unavoidable situation we all go through as humankind we always need to find our ways to capitalise our strengths and push ourselves to achieve our goals,” he said.
Apart from Karunaratne, another Lankan to be seen in action on the same day will be swimmer Aniqah Gaffoor in the Women’s 100m butterfly event.
There will be six 100m butterfly first-round heats to be worked off at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre from 7.28 p.m. (3.58 p.m. Sri Lanka time) on Saturday (24).
Sri Lanka NOC President Suresh Subramaniam and Secretary General Maxwell de Silva, who arrived this morning, visited the Sri Lanka contingent at the Olympic Village last evening. They are representing Sri Lanka at the general sessions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Meanwhile, artistic gymnastics competition at Tokyo 2020 kicks off on Saturday (24). The main event will be USA’s Simone Biles, as the gymnastics superstar looks to add more to her four Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal haul from Rio 2016.
By the end of competition on August 3, Biles could have added her name to the history books multiple times.
On the Men’s side Russia’s Nikita Nagornyy, the reigning world and European champion, will look to extend his reign over the sport.
On July 24 in Men’s qualifying, though no medals are at stake on the opening day of competition, a bad day here could prevent an athlete from making the medal rounds.
On July 25, Women’s qualifying, like the Men’s, the first day of Women’s competition determines who will compete in the various medal rounds.
If Simone Biles is to win five Gold Medals in Tokyo, she’ll have to make the finals here. She’ll be the star but keep an eye on US teammate Suni Lee, who could also advance to five finals if she has a good day.
The two-per-country rule will be in full force with the Americans, Chinese and ROC athletes likely to battle with their compatriots for berths to the medal rounds.
The Men’s team final will award first gymnastics medals. Competition in the Men’s team final is likely to come down to ROC, China and Japan on July 26.
Those three have won the medals at both the 2018 and 2019 worlds. ROC faces an uphill battle to take the crown in Tokyo with star Artur Dalaloyan on the mend from an Achilles tendon tear in mid-April.
The second-fastest woman in history behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the one to beat in the 100m. In a field without rising star Sha’Carri Richardson of US, the 2008 and 2012 100m champion could become the first woman to win three Olympic titles over the distance.
Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours in 2019. In Tokyo, he is defending the title. If he succeeds, he will be the third person in history to win the Olympic marathon twice after Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980).
American Allyson Felix returns for her fifth and final Olympic Games. The American sprinter already has six Olympic gold medals and three silvers, which makes her the most successful female athlete in history. By winning one more, she will equal Carl Lewis’s record for an athlete from the United States.