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Sumeda Ranasinghe – first Sri Lankan men’s javelin thrower to compete at Olympics

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He also became the first Sri Lankan javelin thrower to compete in Olympic history as a qualified athlete. Ranasinghe completed the most important hurdle in his career when he gained qualifying standards for the 2016 Olympic Games at the National Athletics Selection Trials for the South Asian Games at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Diyagama.

The national champion was coached by veteran throwing Coach Pradeep Nishantha and he ended up as a graduate in Sports Science and Management Special at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

He later joined the Sri Lanka Air Force and represented the country at several international events.

Ranasinghe, of course, began his sporting career as a volleyball player in 2006 with his father as coach.

But an ankle injury forced him to give up both volleyball and throws and was forced to switch to the javelin throw event in 2007. He came into the limelight by winning the Gold Medal at the 2015 National Sports Festival in Badulla and at the National Athletics Championships in Colombo.

He was selected to represent the country at the 2015 World University Games in South Korea but had to be content with the 17th position while competing against some of the elite athletes. Ranasinghe struck Gold for the first time in an international meet when he came first at the 2015 Thailand Open Athletics Championships in Bangkok. He produced a repeat performance at the 2016 South Asian Games in Bhubaneswar, India and secured the Silver Medal at the 2016 Mokpo International Throwers Meeting in South Korea.

He produced another splendid performance to clinch the Bronze Medal at the 2017 Australian Open Athletics Championships in Sydney. He also participated in the 2017 Asian Grand Prix Meet but had to settle with seventh place in the first-leg in China, sixth place in the second-leg also in China and seventh place in the third-leg in Chinese Taipei. Thereafter, he competed at the 2017 World University Games in Chinese Taipei and had to settle with the 12th position.

But he made amends and won the Gold Medal at the 2018 Thailand Open Athletics Championships in Bangkok. After having started his career in 2012 with a modest performance of 66.94m, Ranasinghe has made vast strides to emerge as Sri Lanka’s best Men’s javelin thrower.

In 2014 he improved that effort to a highly satisfying 72.42m in Colombo and then reached his peak by clearing 83.04m at the National Selection Trials in Diyagama.

After failing to make an impact at the 2016 Rio Olympics, he made another determined effort to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. However, his hopes were eventually dashed after several good performances at home and away and had to settle with the Bronze Medal at the Inter-State Athletics Championships in Patiala, India. (C.D)

Source DailyNews
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