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Budding athletes beat odds at chaotic Western Province Schools Athletics Championship

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by Reemus Fernando

Royal College hurdler Nadun Bandara and sprinter Jayeshi Uththara of Holy Cross College, Gampaha won the best athlete titles of the boys’ and girls’ categories respectively for their outstanding performances at the Western Province Schools Athletics Championship which concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Wednesday.

The four day event, which was criticized by many, including Olympian and Asian Games medallist Damayanthi Dharsha, for its highly disorganized nature, saw budding athletes beating odds to create a number of meet records.

Almost all track events of the meet were conducted behind schedule forcing athletes to endure undue delays after warming up to face the starters orders. On the final day yesterday, even though there were only 4×400 metres relay heats and finals and 100 metres finals, officials failed to commence the events on schedule. Most of the 4×400 metres relay heats got delayed by two hours.

In a cost cutting measure the organisers also did not award medals for the winners.

On such a backdrop young athletes accounted for over a dozen new meet records in the top three age categories alone.

Hurdler Bandara, who represented Sri Lanka at the recently held World Junior Championships in Cali, Colombia, was one of the standout performers as he clocked 14.1 seconds to create a new meet record in the Under 20 boys’ 110 metres hurdles. He won the race for the best athlete award ahead of Ananda Sastralaya, Mathugama sprinter Isuru Kaushalya whose record breaking feat of 47.4 seconds in the Under 20 400 metres was just 31 points behind that of the Royalist.

The record breaking 17.31 metres effort of shot putter Jayavi Ranhinda of Royal College, Panadura in the Under 18 discipline earned him the best athlete title in his age category.

In the corresponding girls’ category, Shenari Wijetunga of Ave Maria Convent, Negombo produced an outstanding feat winning all three sprint events (100m-12.4 secs, 200m-25.5m). Her 58.4 seconds feat in the 400 metres was adjudged the best in that category.

Lyceum International, Wattala jumper Tharusha Mendis who cleared 1.89 metres to win the Under 16 boys’ high jump was adjudged the best athlete in that age category, while St. Lawrence’s, Wellawatta jumper Oshini Kodikara bagged the girls’ title for her feat of 5.54 metres in the long jump.

Sprinters Binal Gunaratne and Tharini Nimarina won the titles for their performances in the Under 14 boys’ and girls’ 80 metres.

The overall boys’ and girls’ titles of the championship were won by Lyceum Wattala. They aggregated 182 and 206 points in the two respective categories.

Ave Maria Convent with 116 points were the runners up to Lyceum in the girls’ category, while Holy Cross, Gampaha (98), Newstead Girls School (70) and Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya finished behind them.

St. Peter’s had an aggregate of 149 points to finish second behind Lyceum. Maris Stella finished third with 96 points. St. Benedict’s, who were the champions at the recently held Colombo Zonal meet finished fourth with 88 points.



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Tharushi, Nirmali improve meet records in 800 metres

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All Island Schools Athletics Championships

by Reemus Fernando

Ratnayake Central, Walala prodigy Tharushi Karunaratne and Asian Youth Athletics Championship medallist Nirmali Wickramasinghe smashed meet records as they further boosted girls’ 800 metres as the most promising athletics discipline in the women’s category in Sri Lanka on day four of the All Island Schools Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Monday.

World Junior Championship participant Karunaratne slashed nearly four seconds from Dilshi Kumarasinghe’s 2017 record (2:12.28 seconds) as she won the Under 20 girls’ 800 metres in a time of 2:08.16 seconds.

It was the third meet record she established during this meet. She erased the 400 metres and 4×400 metres relay records before reaching the 800 metres as the clear favourite. She has also had under her belt the 200 metres title of that age category.

In the Under 18 age category Nirmali Wickramasinghe of Wickramabahu National School, Gampola lived up to her billing as she erased one of the older records in the meet. She returned a time of 2:13.09 seconds to beat the 2003 record (2:13.49 secs) held by Kushani Nelum Kularatne of Elapatha MV.

The day’s fastest performance in the 800 metres was produced by Kavishka Sri Bandara (Elapatha MV) who came almost close to breaking the meet record with a feat of 1:52.67 seconds in the Under 20 boys’ event. He has further cemented his place as the fastest athlete of this discipline in the Junior category this year slashing nearly two seconds off his June performance.

In the Under 18 boys’ category Roshen Fernandopulle of Maris Stella College, Negombo ran two solid laps though he only managed only clock sub two minutes (1:59.87).

Ashmika Keshan Korala of Yoshida International School, Sapugaskanda emerged victorious in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump as he cleared 15.57 metres to create a new meet record. Korala broke the record held by Chamal Kumarasiri (15.52m-2015).

Janith Shenal of Lyceum International, Wattala in action in the Under 18 boys’ discus throw.

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Royal Institute karatekas excel winning 32 medals

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Inter–International Schools Karate Championship 2022

Karatekas from Royal Institute Colombo secured 32 medals in four categories at the recently concluded Inter–International Schools Karate Championship at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium.

They clinched 14 gold, four silver and 14 bronze medals while winning titles in the under 11, 12, 13 and 14 age categories.

The team competed under the guidance of coach Shihan Seeta Wijewardana. The winners of various categories were: Under 11 – Bhagya Leelarathna (Nugegoda Branch), Under 12 – Sanuli Nethara (Nugegoda Branch), Under 13 – Mahira Mariam (Maya Avenue Branch) and Under 14 – Saveen Imanga (Nugegoda Branch).

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Nadun equals Randeniya’s national junior record

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Samadi shatters 14-year-old meet record

All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships

by Reemus Fernando

Royal College athlete Nadun Bandara equaled the national junior record in the 110 metres hurdles and Samadi Lakshani Dissanayake of Swarnamali Balika, Kandy took under her belt the meet record in the Under 20 100 metres hurdles as they breathed new life to sprint hurdles on day four of the All Island Schools Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Monday.

The premier schools event had not witnessed a sub 14 seconds performance in the Under 20 age category until the World Junior Championship participant blazed the track with a scintillating 13.64 seconds finish yesterday.

Bandara shattered Josephian Sheshan Kariyawasam’s meet record (14.21 secs- 2018) and equaled Supun Viraj Randeniya’s National Junior record, which the latter had established ten years ago in Ranchi.

With his latest feat Bandara has his name written against all age group (Under 16 100m in 2018 , Under 18 110m in 2019 and Under 20 110m) hurdles records of this meet.

In the girls’ Under 20 100 metres hurdles, Swarnamali Balika athlete Samadi Lakshani Dissanayake shattered Harshani Wijesinghe’s meet record (14.66 secs) established in 2008 with a feat of 14.55 seconds.

In a remarkable field event achievement, Hasitha Kavinda Dissanayake of Gnanodaya M.M.V, Wariyapola cleared 15.14 metres to establish a new meet record in the Under 18 boys’ triple jump. It was the first time that an athlete in his age category cleared the 15 metres barrier in the Under 18 triple jump at these championships.

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