Athletics squad for Asian Games pruned to 14

Will those who impressed at the Athletics Nationals get a chance?


by Reemus Fernando

The Athletics Association of Sri Lanka pruned down their team for the Asian Games to 14 athletes yesterday as the track and field governing body left out the men’s 4x100 metres relay team, men’s 1,500 metre athlete and one long jumper who were earlier selected for the quadrennial event in Indonesia.

The AASL had received a quota of over 20 from the National Olympic Committee but left out several athletes from the original team after they failed to impress at the 96th National Athletics Championship which concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Sunday.

Sprinter Himasha Eshan is the biggest casualty. Despite recording an impressive 10.41 seconds to break the meet record in the men’s 100 metres, Himasha Eshan will not be included in the team. The AASL’s plan was to field a 4x100 metres relay team but with leading contender Vinoj Suranjaya still recovering from an illness and other sprinters failing to repeat the notable performances showcased at the selection trail at last week’s Nationals, the officials have decided against the early plans.

Hemantha Kumara, who clocked just 3:51.35 seconds in the 1,500 metres and Danushka Piyaratne who was placed fourth in the long jump (7.85m) are the others to have been dropped.

The NOC’s decision to drop Rio Olympic participant Sumeda Ranasinghe will not be challenged now after the athlete failed to impress at the Nationals.

Although there is a quota of over 20 for track and field it was not clear whether the AASL and the NOC could accommodate some of the athletes who have shown medal prospects at the Nationals.

Sri Lanka has the potential to field a women’s 4x400 metres team following Nadeesha Ramanayake’s impressive performance at the Nationals and her presence is likely to further boost the prospects at the mixed relay as well.

If the AASL and the NOC could act fast to include a few others who impressed at the Nationals to the Asian Games team at the eleventh hour that is likely to stand athletics in goodstead.


Nimali Liyanarachchi (800m), Gayanthika Abeyratne (800m), Nilani Ratnayake (3,000m steeplechase), Rumeshika Ratnayake (200m), Upamali Ratnakumari (mixed relay), Hiruni Wijeratne (10,000m).


Aruna Dharshana (400m, 4x400m), Kalinga Kumara (400m, 4x400m), Ajith Premakumara (4x400m), Pasindu Kodikara (4x400m), Dilip Ruwan (4x400m), Indunil Herath (800m), Ushan Thivanka (high jump), Janaka Prasad Wimalasiri (long jump)

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