Sri Lanka’s top athletes are set to take on the action today and tomorrow (10, 11) at the second athletic selection trial for the forthcoming Asian Games which will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25. After a successful end to the first lot of selections, Sri Lanka Athletics is going to conduct this second trial in two days at the newly renovated Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium. Especially after the lapse of five years of not being able to use the facilities due to massive deterioration local athletes once again get to use this track for the first time at these trials.
Dilshi Kumarasinghe and Nadeesha Ramanayake the best 400m women’s athletes who couldn’t take part in the first trials due to injuries will be the main attraction of this second trial. The 400m heats will be held today at 9.15a.m while the final is scheduled to be held at 2.30 pm. The 18-year-old Tharushi Karunaratne of Walala Ratnayake MV ran in the senior women’s 400m event at the first trial and she was able to win that event with 56.17 seconds and with experienced senior athletes, this event is going to be a tough battle.
The National Athletic coach Y.K Kularante said the first selection trial which was held last February at the Sugathadasa Stadium was highly successful and athletes once again get a good chance to show their skills to get qualification for the major international games held next September. The athletes have to take part in at least two trials out of three to get eligible for Asian Games. The National long jump champion Sarangi Silva who established a new National Record at the first trial and 1500m champion Gayanthika Abeyratne also performed with better timing are not compete at this second trial while both of them are hoping to compete Senior National meet in April which will be the final trial for the athletes. Both Sarangi and Gayanthika are in the Asian medal-winning standard.
Nimali Liyanarachchi the 800m women’s athlete who represented the Tokyo Olympics last year also in action at this second trial and 800m women’s event is also a key attraction of these trials while both Dilshi and Nimali will expect to take part. The 200m women’s first trial winner Rumeshika Ratnayake who also came back to the scene after injury and young Medhani Jayamanne who couldn’t take part at the first trial, once gain will meet at the same event this time.
In the hurdles events, Lakshika Sugandi, Ireshani Rajasinghe, and Roshan Dammika Ranatunga the record holder of the 100m hurdles are expected to dominate with Asanka and Asitha Rathnasena two brothers competing in the 400m Hurdles event. In the 800m, Harsha Rajakaruna will return to make it a double after winning the first one while two key athletes Indunil Herath and Rusiru Chathuranga return to the track will make 800m men’s event also a tough battle. The presence of many top athletes will make both 4x100m and 4x400m relay events more competitive.
On the first day, today 100m, 400m men and women and 4×100 men and women relay final will be the key events while tomorrow 200m, 800m, and 4x400m relay men and women are the key events at this trials.