The Sri Lankan athletic team which will take part in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games will be finalized in next week said chairman of the National Athletic selection committee, former Olympian Marathoner Wimalasena Perera.
Wimalasena Perera (Chairman of the National Athletic selection committee)
The National Centenary Athletic championships concluded last Saturday at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium, Diyagama and that was the final selection trial for forthcoming Asian Games as well as Commonwealth Games. The selection committee chairman Wimalasena Perera further said the athletes who have reached the required standard are eligible for these major Games and they have not finalized the squad. Our duty is to select the athletes first and send it to the Sri Lanka Athletics(SLA) and they will send these names to the National Olympic Committee(NOC) and the Sports Ministry. The National selection Committee headed by Army Commander General Shavendra Silva will be responsible for the final recommendation for the Sports Ministry approval.
The Chairman of the Athletic Selection Committee further said the athletes who have completed the qualifying standard in overseas countries are eligible for the selections and already 100M champion Yupun Abeykoon based in Italy and Ushan Thiwanka the high jumper based in the USA and long distance runner Hiruni Wijayaratne also based in the USA are already frontline athletes for these major Games.
Especially SLA is more focused on Asian Games than the Commonwealth Games and most probably more athletes will get a chance to take part at the Asian Games.
The Javelin Throw champion Sumedha Ranasinghe who took part at the 2016 Brazil Olympics already reached the qualifying standard and his 81.79 m achievement recorded in March is the third longest throw in Asia . In addition Gayanthika Abeyratne 800m and 1500 record holder and Nilani Ratnayake 3000m steeplechase record holder and long jumper Sarangi Silva the National record holder are leading contenders for the major gamers.
Meanwhile Kalinga Kumarage and Aruna Dharshana the 400m first and second place winners are in good form and we have good chance to enter 4×400 relay team to focus on medals while 400m and 800m promising athlete Tharushi Karunaratne from Walala A. Ratnayake Central and Jayeshi Uththara who won the 400m first and second place are in good form focussing on world youth athletic championship.
However Olympian 800m athlete Nimali Liyanarachchi is not in good form after recovery from her injury most unlikely to take part in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games while 800m key athlete Dilshi Kumarasinghe has also not fully recovered from the injury and is unlikely to take part this major games.
The young athletes Rumesh Tharanga of St Peters (Javelin Throw), Amesha Hettiarachchi (400m hurdles) Medhani Jayamanne (100m, 200m), Amasha de Silva(100m), Rumeshika Ratnayake (100m 200m) are in good form and they are our future prospects and already most of them have qualified to take part in World Junior events said chairman of the athletic selection committee Wimalasena Perera the former Olympian marathoner who is the oldest living Sri Lankan Olympian in the country.