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Tharushi wins gold with new Asian Championship record

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Tharushi Karunaratne the gold medalist (left) and Gayanthika Abeyratne the bronze medalist after 800m final of the Asian Athletic championship in Bangkok yesterday.

Sri Lanka’s promising athlete Tharushi Karunaratne once again came up with fine performances when she bagged gold medal in women’s 800m with a new Asian meet record at the Asian Athletic Championship which concluded in Bangkok yesterday.

It was a red letter day for 19 year old Tharushi Karunaratne from Walala A Ratnayake Central as she finished her personal best of 2minutes 00.66 seconds (2.00:66 minutes) to set up a new National record as well as new Asian Championship meet record.

The previous Asian Championship record (2:01.16) was set up by Zhang Jian (China) in 1998 at Fukuoka. In fact in the same 800m final Gayanthika Abeyratne was placed third to take bronze medal with a time of 2minutes 03.25 seconds.

Both Gayanthika Abeyratne and Tharushi Karunaratne made a good start as Gayanthika took an early lead from the first round. However young Tharushi Karunaratne accelerated in the last 200m and furnished in great style.

“Today my dream came true and I knew athlete Tharushi will go for the gold medal as she planned the race earlier. This is the first ever Asian Championship gold medal for young Tharushi and she was able to set up a National as well as Asian Championship record.” said coach Susantha Fernando.

In fact Sr Lanka set up an Asian record after 21 years. Last time Susanthika Jayasinghe set up Asian meet record in the same meet in 2002 in the 200m event.

Tharushi became the second school girl to win a medal after Damayanthi Darsha’s performance in Manila 1993. Her achievement was more significant as she is also a member of the silver medal winning 4×400 relay team .

Tharushi Karunaratne, Nadeesha Ramanayake who won 400m gold on first day, Aruna Dharshana and Kalinga Kumarage are the Sri Lankan 400m mixed relay team members and they also set up a new Sri Lankan record in the mixed relay (3:15.41seconds).

Aruna became the first male athlete from Sri Lanka to win a medal at both Asian Junior and Senior Championships. Tharushi is also the 4th female athlete to win a medal at both Asian Junior and Senior Championships after Damayanthi Dharsha, Susanthika Jayasinghe and Vidusha Lakshani.

Sri Lankan 4x 400m men’s relay team clinched the gold medal while 4x400m women’s team won silver medal to finish this championship yesterday.

The men’s team comprised Aruna Dharshana, Rajitha Rajakaruna, Pabasara Niku and Kalinga Kumarage finished first place with 3.01.56 seconds and this was a new Asian Championship record. The previous record was 3.02.71 seconds in year 2000.

Sri Lankan women’s 4x 400 relay team Nadeesha Ramanayaka, Sayuri Lakshima, Nishendra Fernado and Tharushi Karunaratne won silver medal with a time of 3.33.27 seconds which is also a new Sri Lankan record. The previous 3.35.06 seconds was set up in 2019 by Nimali Liyanarachchi, Nadeesha Ramanayake, Dilshi Kumarasinghe and Upamalika Ratnakumari.

Tharushi Karunaratne and Nadeesha Ramanayaka were prominent from Sri Lanka team as Tharushi won 800m gold, 4×400 m mixed relay silver and 4x 400m women’s relay silver. Nadeesha Ramanayake who won 400m gold, Mixed relay silver and 4x 400m womens silver medals. Sri Lanka won 3 golds, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals to finish this meet on a high note.

Sri Lanka won 8 medals at this Asian athletic championship which is the most number of medals won by Sri Lanka so far in the history of Asian Championship.

Previously Sri Lanka won 7 medals at the 2007 Asian championships in Amman, Jordan.

Three gold medals won by Nadeesha Ramanayaka (400m), Tharushi Karunaratne (800m) and men’s 4x 400m relay team.

Sri Lanka ranked fourth position of the medals table with 3 Gold 2 Silver and 3 Bronze.

This is the highest position Sri Lanka reach in the history of Asian Athletics Championships. Previously Sri Lanka ranked 6th position in the 2002 Asian Athletics championships.

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