Sri Lankan athletes have a good chance of winning medals at Asian and Commonwealth Games
The Vice President of the SLA G.L.S Perera who is also the Chairman of the Technical and Media committee said SLA headed by President Major General Palitha Fernando is already making arrangements to focus on those three events.
Actually due to this Covid19 pandemic several events of SLA couldn’t be conducted on schedule dates this year and unfortunately National pool training was also halted due to Covid 19. Especially athletes couldn’t take part in international events and some key events were also postponed due to Covid 19.
Meanwhile only one athlete, Italy based Sri Lankan Yupun Abeykoon got direct qualification for the Tokyo Olympics while 800m champion Nimali Liyanarachchi qualified at the last minute through wild card system but both of them couldn’t excel in the Olympics. Sri Lankan team finally got a chance to take part at the Inter State India Athletic Championship and promising athlete Medhani Jayamanne was the heroine with a record 200m best time to qualify for the world junior athletic championship.
However SLA has decided to give priority for the three major events in 2022. Asian Games which is scheduled to to be held from September 16-22 in Hangzhou, China, Commonwealth Games scheduled to be held from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England and World Championship scheduled to be held from July 15-24 in Eugene, USA. Sri Lankan athletes have a good chance to win medals at both Commonwealth Games and Asian Games with Yupun Abeykoon the 100m Sri Lankan and South Asian record holder leading from the front with his current form with good timing.
Middle distance runners Nimali Liyanarachchi, Gayanthika Abeyratne and promising athlete Dilshi Kumarasinghe who set up new 800m record with two minutes 02.52 seconds at the selection trials last April unfortunately got injured later and missed the Olympic qualification in 800m but are in good nick All three athletes Nimali, Gayanthika and Dilshi are among the first six Asian ranking and they have a good chance to excel at these meets said National athletic coach Y.K. Kularatne.
The athletes who missed Olympic Qualifying standards due to lack of international competitions will be eager to take part in these events in 2022. Kalnga Kumarage and Aruna Dharshana both from 400m, Sumedha Ranasinghe and Waruna Dayaratne ( both from Javelin throw), Himasha Eshan 100m and Nadeesha Ramanayake 400m Amasha de Silva and Selinda Jansen 100m are other key athletes likely to take part in international events.
The two athletes Yupun Abeykoon in Italy and Hiruni Wijayaratne the National marathon record holder presently training in USA are also looking forward for the both Asian and Commonwealth Games and both of them have already commenced their preparation. Nilani Ratnayake the 3000m steeple chase record holder who narrowly missed her Olympic chance is also in line for the Games next year.
If Nilani world get more International exposure before the Olympics she could have easily qualified for Tokyo Games but due to Covid 19 she unfortunately missed her chance and is now looking to win medals at Asian Games next year.
The senior Athletes also have Asian Indoor championships in February 11-12 in Kazakhstan while Asian Grand Prix is scheduled to be held in May as well as world Indoor championships scheduled to be held from March 18-20 in Serbia.
But with the Covid-19 pandemic still making it difficult for athletes to train safely in the country and SLA also resume the training under the health regulations and hope for a better situation after the vaccination programme all over the country.
Meanwhile SLA also announced the dates for the remaining stage of the National Championship 2021 which was postponed several times due to Covid 19. That will be held on October 30 and 31at Sugathadasa Stadium. In addition the local events to be held next year 2022 mainly focus on three big Games World Championship, Asian and Commonwealth Games and the selection trials to be held in Colombo.
The first selection trial for the Asian Games will be held in February 11-13 in Colombo while second selection trials for Asian Games scheduled to be held from March 11-13.
The fitness trial for the Asian Games will be held on September 3rd. In addition fitness trial for Commonwealth Games will be held on July 2 prior to the Asian Games Fitness trial.
The selection trials for Asian Junior and Asian Youth championship will be held on February 12-13 in Colombo.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka Athletics will also conduct Senior National championship from April 8-10 while Junior National championship from May 9-12 both at the Sugathadasa Stadium. In addition SLA also plan to conduct Performance Analysis test for the National and Elite pools and this is very important to check athletes progress said Vice President G.L.S Perera.