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Sri Lanka focus on winning medals in athletics at Asian Games

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To focus on more medals on Asian Games which is scheduled to be held from September 16-22 in Hangzhou, China they have already planned to commence National pool practices. SLA has already formed an Elite athletic pool which consist of 24 athletes and it will increase by adding few more athletes based on their performances said a senior official of the SLA. Their aim is to strengthen the National pool and focus more on Asian Games instead of Commonwealth Games which is scheduled to be held from July 28 to August 8 2022 in Birmingham ,England and their plan is to limit athletes for the Commonwealth Games. Two athletes Nilmali Liyanarachchi (800m) and Yupun Abeykoon got a chance to take part in last Tokyo Olympics but both of them were not up to expectations.

Meanwhile three athletes from Elite pool Yupun Abeykoon (100m) in Italy, Ushan Thivanka(High Jump) and Hiruni Wijeyaratne (Marathon) both in USA have already started their training in their based countries while few athletes temporally pulled out from the National pool due to disciplinary reasons.

Sri Lanka Athletics is expected to send more than 20 athletes for the Asian Games and especially the total number of athletes will increase with the inclusion of men’s and women’s relay teams for the Asian Games and SLA already given instructions to focus on relay teams for this major event.

Last Asian Games in 2018 in Jakarta 12 Sri Lankan athletes took part but Kalinga Kumarage was the only successful athlete at 400 m reaching the final and returned home with empty medals. Last time in 2006 Asian Games in Doha Qatar Sri Lankans were able to win three medals . Susanthika Jayasinghe won 100 metres silver and 200metres bronze while 4x 400 men’s team comprising Rohan Pradeep Kumara, Rohitha Pushpakumra, Asoka Jayasindara and Prasanna Amarasekara won the bronze and after 2006 Sri Lankan athletes were unable to win a Asian medal . Sriyani Kulawansa won the Commonwealth Games silver medal from 100m hurdles while Sugath Thillekarante won 400m bronze at this same meet and after this meet Sri Lankan athletes couldn’t win a Commonwealth Games medal.

Sri Lanka Athletics already plan to conduct first selection trials of the Asian and Commonwealth Games on October 30-31 at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo. However due to Covid 19 the schedule plan to continue National pool couldn’t continue and once again their aim is to resume training with more expectations.

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