Keep training uninterrupted, the biggest challenge for athletes in centenary year
Sri Lanka Athletics announces calendar for 2022
by Reemus Fernando
How to keep training uninterrupted amidst the Covid-19 pandemic to succeed at international events is the biggest problem the track and field athletes need to find answers to in the sport’s centenary year in 2022 as Sri Lanka Athletics announced a busy 2022 Competition calendar inclusive of three major international competitions yesterday.
Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships are the major international competitions that Sri Lanka Athletics has traditionally given priority to. The sport’s governing body which celebrates its centenary year in 2022 is ambitions about sending teams to all these international events.
However, track and field governing body is still struggling to complete the 2021 edition of the National Championship due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The Sri Lanka Athletics decided to conduct the 2021 Nationals in stages due to the pandemic. It held its first stage in April but had to post
pone the second stage on more than one occasion due to the pandemic.
When the governing body announced the Calendar for the year 2022 it also announced the dates for the remaining stage of the National Championship 2021. That will be held on October 30 and 31.
The Covid 19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the aspirations of track and field athletes as lockdowns hampered their training and also prevented them from taking part in supportive minor international events in the region in both 2020 and 2021. While top athletes struggled to improve their world rankings due to the unavailability of quality international competitions, the bio secure environments for training were a luxury only the cricketers could enjoy.
Sri Lanka has several athletes who could excel at some of the above said international events and the vital Junior International events which will happen in 2022. The likes of Nilani Ratnayake who missed Olympic qualifying standards due to lack of competitions should be supported to achieve success at Asian level.
The athletes who missed Olympic Qualifying standards due to lack of international competitions will be eager to take part in these events in 2022 and the Asian Youth Championships, Asian Junior Championships and World Junior Championships are vital to keep juniors interested in track and field sports. But with Covid-19 pandemic still making it difficult for athletes to train safely in the country it will be incumbent upon sports authorities to make necessary arrangements for at least the athletes in the elite pools to train in bio secure environments.
While a coach of a junior athletics team could not travel with his athlete after being found positive to Covid-19 ahead of the World Junior Championships in July another coach of a Para athlete had to skip training ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics due to Covid 19. Meanwhile a number of sportsmen and women contacted Covid 19 while using the Sports Ministry’s hostels at Torrington during the last few months.
Such disappointments can be avoided if necessary arrangements are be made for selected athletics teams to train in bio secure bubbles.
Track and field action from Diyagama
The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.
(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day
by Reemus Fernando
Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.
Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.
But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.
In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.
In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.
In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.
In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.
In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.
In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.
Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan
The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.
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