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Lakvijaya’s achievement a giant stride for an athlete from cooperate sector



Janindu Induwara Lakvijaya

How deleting game apps, rare cooperate sector backing, golden rendezvous of a coach powered Lakvijaya to a national record

By Reemus Fernando  

When Janindu Induwara Lakvijaya clocked 13.82 seconds to win the second heat of the men’s 110 metre hurdles at the Selection Trial held at Diyagama last week, the former St. Peter’s College athlete not only established a national record but also earned himself and his employer, a special place in the annals of the country’s track and field history.

Spectators and the athlete himself did not know immediately that a new national record had been established as the time display board did not function at the time. “I felt that I had run a good race but did not know it until my training partner Ariyaratne checked the electronic time with the photo finish judges,” said the 22-year-old who is only the second Sri Lankan to have broken the 14 seconds barrier on legal time calculations.

National Records are not often renewed. The 110 metres hurdles national record (14.00) of Olympian Mahesh Perera had remained unchanged for 24 years until Sri Lanka Army’s Roshan Ranatunga shattered it in 2021 with a time of 13.89 seconds. It was that record that Lakvijaya erased last week. A majority of the country’s national track and field records are held by athletes attached to the tri forces as these institutions recruit prospective athletes when they leave school. A few of the national records are also held by Sri Lankan athletes studying and training overseas.

Not many private sector institutions have come to nurture future prospects in athletics after cricket’s success at the global stage in the late 90s swayed leading companies to employ cricketers in a big way. It was a rare opportunity for Lakvijaya to get employment at a private firm where he could persevere as an athlete. “I received the backing of one of the old boys of St. Peter’s Mr. Roshan Abeygoonawardena to get employment at CDB where I received the support of the whole staff. I am given easy working hours so that I could both train and work. That is a huge benefit for me. From my boss to everyone there back me. There is a young staff who are always supportive,” said Lakvijaya.

A record only a few saw coming 

With reigning national record holder Roshan Ranatunga not competing in the meet, a record was the least expected outcome in the men’s 110 metres hurdles. Lakvijaya had run many a race but in the spectators’ eyes he was yet to establish himself as the pretender to the record. But his coach, the Asian Games medallist Asoka Jayasundara was waiting for the opportunity for years. “He has the potential to do that. It is only a matter of time. The day he takes this event seriously, Lakvijaya will improve the record,” the former hurdler Jayasundara would often tell scribes.

Golden rendezvous of coach and athlete  

Lakvijaya commenced his athletics at Dharmaloka College, Kelaniya. During his teenage years he also had the freedom to compete even in combat sports. His father a former 1,500 metres athlete had encouraged him to persevere in a sport that he liked the most. It was in the year 2015, during a visit to Dr. Lal Ekanayake of the Sports Medical Unit to obtain medical advice that Lakvijaya was influenced to come under the supervision of Jayasundara. Since then the former hurdler had been motivating Lakvijaya to take up the discipline seriously.

Dananjaya Ariyaratne the best training partner  

Having come under the supervision of Jayasundara, Lakvijaya also found an ideal training partner in Dananjaya Ariyaratne. “Ariyaratne is the best training partner that I ever had. He is good-hearted, he use to bring me homemade lunch and gives me support even during competitions. He also motivates me to do well. In fact, it was Ariyaratne who put ice before the competition when he had got to compete. I am lucky to have had a training partner like him,” said Lakvijaya.

Competition with former record holder Ranatunga  

With the former record holder, Roshan Ranatunga set to return to competitions soon rather than later Sri Lanka can witness history’s two fastest 110 metre hurdlers competing together. That is something that excites Lakvijaya who looks forward to the prospect. “Competing together will certainly boost the speed.  That will be good for both of us. Though I have established a new national record we are still lagging behind the Asian standards. It will be on us now to improve the record further.” Ranatunga was still recovering from an injury when Sri Lanka Athletics conducted the First Selection Trial at Diyagama.

Asked about the sacrifices that he had to make to achieve the national record, Lakvijaya said that doing away with computer games was one of the toughest. “I love to play computer games. But when I realized that it takes precious resting time I decided to give them up. I deleted all games apps from my phone. That was one of the keys to my success.”

Lakvijaya had a long list to thank from his parents, coach, employer, and training partner to Sri Lanka Army’s physiotherapist Lalith who has helped on his way to achieving the national record.

Lakvijaya has found an ideal training partner in Dananjaya Ariyaratne

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First sprinter to run 100m in under 10 seconds dies




Jim Hines held the world record in the men's 100m for nearly 15 years (pic BBC)

US sprinter Jim Hines, the first man to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, has died at the age of 76.

He broke the record in 1968 when he recorded a hand-timed 9.9 seconds at the US Championships. Hines then broke his own record shortly after while winning gold at the 1968 Olympics, where an electronic timer in Mexico City recorded him at 9.95. His record held for nearly 15 years until Calvin Smith ran a time of 9.93 in 1983.

That is the longest length of time an athlete has held the record for the men’s 100m since the International Amateur Athletic Foundation began keeping track – 110 years ago.

His death was announced in a statement by World Athletics. The organisation said it is “deeply saddened” by the news. Both the Olympics and USA Track and Field shared tributes to Hines on Twitter. “The sport has lost a legend,” USA Track and Field said.

Hines was born in the state of Arkansas in 1946 but was raised in Oakland, California.

He had an early love of sport, namely baseball, but showed a real talent for sprinting as a teenager. He attended Texas Southern University where he ran for the Tigers track team before competing in national championships and the Olympics.

In addition to winning the 100m at the Mexico Olympics, he was also part of the US 4x100m relay team which won a gold.

He ended his sprinting career shortly after the Olympics and joined the NFL. He spent three years in the league, playing for the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs.

(BBC Sports)

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Silverwood promises to address dot ball issue



Rex Clementine
at Suriyawewa

Leading up to the World Cup Qualifiers starting in less than two weeks’ time in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood promised to address the team’s dot-ball woes.

In the first ODI against Afghanistan which the hosts lost by six wickets here on Friday, there were 158 dot balls with the batters struggling to rotate the strike. That is a huge amount coming up to more than 25 overs. Although the number was cut down to 128 in the second game, Sri Lanka would like to do better than that.

“The dot ball issue is something that we are addressing. A lot of people are talking about it I know. We need to rotate the strike better and put the pressure back on the bowlers. The boundary percentage went up in the last game. Getting a balance between the two will help us to score above 300,” Silverwood told journalists.

Silverwood, the former England Head Coach, also welcomed the return of seniors Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne back into the side bringing more stability to the batting unit. Mathews was left out for game two, but that appears to be part of the team’s strategy to give everyone in the squad a go.

“Angelo was brought into the squad to boost the batting lineup and bring confidence into the side. He has experience of playing big matches. The fact is we must prepare the whole squad to cover ourselves to face any situation.

“Dimuth is making a comeback into the ODI side and he played superbly. He had a good Test series against Ireland. His tempo is very good. He gave us something to build on. The openers added 80 plus for the first wicket. Every partnership after that was scored at less than run a ball. It shows what we can do when we have a good start,” noted Silverwood.

Dhananjaya de Silva came up with a match-winning effort in the second game bowling his off-spin so well picking up three wickets that included the prize scalp of Ibrahim Zadran and earlier his less than run a ball 29 had helped Sri Lanka to a match-winning total of 323 for six.

“Dhananjaya is at six and has to adapt to situations whether it be setting a target or chasing one. The first game he played a superb inning. Today we saw him capitalizing after we had a great start. He kept the momentum going. Obviously scored quickly which is exactly what we need to get over 300. We want to keep pushing the barriers. When it comes to his bowling, he has been threatening to do it for a while.”

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Tharushi dazzles with two golds



Sri Lanka’s mixed relay team with their medals. (from left) Jayeshi Uththara, Tharushi Karunaratne, Susantha Fernando (coach and manager), Shehan Dilranga and Vinod Ariyawansa.

Asian Junior Athletics Championship

by Reemus Fernando

Ratnayake Central, Walala runner Tharushi Karunaratne won back to back gold medals as Sri Lanka reaped a haul of three medals on day two of the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in South Korea on Monday.

Karunaratne won the gold medal in the women’s 800 metres before running the vital anchor leg for her team to clinch gold ahead of strong Indian and hosts’ teams in the 4×400 metres mixed relay.

Gold medals Sri Lanka won yesterday were its eighth and ninth since the commencement of the biennial championship in 1986.

Competing in her pet event, Karunaratne was hardly challenged as she led from the first 100 metres to finish in a time of 2:05.64 seconds. Karunaratne, had set an Asian (junior) leading time just outside the current national record to earn her ticket to the event in South Korea. “I am really proud of her achievement. I was not expecting her to run close to her personal best as she had given her best in the 400 metres,” Susantha Fernando her coach told The Island after she clinched her first gold. She won the silver medal of the 400 metres on Sunday.

In the mixed relay she started in the third position but when the Indian counterpart who had won the gold in the 400 metres individual event tumbled at the start she grabbed the opportunity to fight for the first place and there was no turning back for her from there on. Jayeshi Uththara who won the 400 metres bronze, Shehan Dilranga and Vinod Ariyawansa were the others to form the mixed relay team.

She finished in a new Sri Lanka record time of 3:25.41 seconds. She was also a member of the team that had set the previous national record at the World Junior Championships. While the country’s senior athletes are yet to run the mixed relay at an international event, the junior athletes’ performances had been considered as National Records.

Kahawatta Central triple jumper Malith Yasiru was the other medallist of the day. Yasiru cleared 15.82 metres, seven centimeters shy of his personal best, to win the bronze ahead of India’s Sukhpreet Singh. Japan’s Miyao Manato who was the only athlete to clear the 16 metres mark (16.08m) and China’s Ma Yinglong (15.98m) won the gold and silver medals respectively.

With the two gold medals won yesterday the country has nine gold medals against her name at these championships now. Sri Lanka’s first gold medals of these championships were won by Damayathi Dharsha (100m) and Susanthika Jayasinghe (200m) in Jakarta Indonesia in 1994. The country had to wait till 2012 when it hosted the event in Colombo to witness the next gold. Dulaj Madusanka and Shivanthi Kumari Ratnayake won golds in the men’s and women’s 400 metres at the Sugathadasa Stadium while also anchoring the 4×400 metres relay teams to bronze and silver.

At the last edition in Gifu, Japan the country won three golds with Aruna Dharshana winning the men’s 400 metres with a championship record time of 45.79 seconds. Dharshana also ran a vital leg to win the 4×400 metres gold. The other gold came in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase when Parami Wasanthi clocked a National Junior Record time of 10:21.54 seconds to win.

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