Huge expectations on Vinoj, Himasha, Hiruni


by Reemus Fernando

Sri Lanka’s track and field team will commence action at the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu today knowing that they will have to compete against tough opponents and also win a psychological warfare after their own National Olympic Committee secretary Maxwell de Silva had mocked at the potential of the team to win medals.

Maxwell de Silva, is reported to have mocked at the potential of country’s track and field athletes to win medals at the games after they complained of shabby treatment meted out to them on arrival in Kathmandu. The track and field team is reported to have spent hours on waysides after the officials failed to provide them with accommodation on time.

It was a severe blow to the team who were already handicapped after medal contenders Nimali Liyanarachchi (due to a road accident) and Shreshan Dananjaya (due to an illness) were ruled out on the eve of their departure.

Athletics had been the premier medal winning discipline for Sri Lanka at these games. When contacted by The Island for comments, a leading athletic official said that the team should take heart to prove their true potential despite the shabby treatment.

Kupun Kushantha and Sajeewa Lakmal, a silver medalist from the last SA Games in India will kick off the athletics medal hunt when they compete in the men’s 1500 metres in the morning. The defending champion of the men’s 100 metres, Himasha Eshan and leading contender Vinoj Suranjaya are expected to win a medal double.

In the grueling women’s 10,000 metres, US based marathoner Hiruni Wijeratne and Lanka Ariyadasa are predicted to carry heavy medal hopes, while W.V.M.U. Kumara and K. Shanmugeshwaran will have a tough ask against Indian and local favourites in the corresponding men’s event.

Rumeshika Ratnayake, the defending champion of the women’s 100 metres is not a part of the Sri Lanka team. In her absence Lakshika Sugandi and Amasha de Silva will fight odds to win medals today.

Nearly one and a half decade after winning the gold at the Islamabad Games in 2004 Dulanjali Ranasinghe will make a fresh attempt for gold in the high jump today. M.M. Madushani is the other athlete competing in the women’s high jump.

Sri Lanka are fielding 64 athletes for track and field sports. Track and field sports is Sri Lanka’s most successful sport at these games as they have won the highest number of golds for Sri Lanka since the start of the event in 1984.


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