Seven Sri Lankan athletes in action on opening day | Sunday Observer

Seven Sri Lankan athletes in action on opening day

The 23rd Asian Athletic Championship will commence today at the Kalifa Stadium in Qatar where seven Sri Lankan athletes will vie for honours.

Over 700 men and women from 43 Asian countries have arrived in Qatar to compete in 43 disciplines which will continue for four days. There are 186 medals on offer at the Championships.

The temperature in Doha is around 37 degrees centigrade which is not conducive to athletes to come up with their best.

Taking this in to consideration the organizers have made arrangements to install air conditioners in close proximity of the stadium to keep the area temperature at a low level. Through this system they have controlled the temperature to 24 degrees.

On the opening day Sri Lanka’s skipper Nimali Liyanaarachchi will be the first athlete to come on to the track for her pet event the 800m in the first heat. Gayanthika Abeyratne too will run in the same vent along with Nimali while Rusiru is due to compete in the men’s 800m first heat.

As Nimali and Gayanthika have won the gold and silver medals at the 22nd Asian Athletic Championships in Buvaneshwar, all eyes are on these two Sri Lankans.

Triple jumper Gratien Dhananjaya who set a new national record during the trials with a leap of 16.71m will be in action today. Others to compete in the 400m men and women today are Ajith Premakumar and Nadeesha Ramanayake. Their performances here today are expected to reach higher levels and expected to reach the standard to enter the semi finals.

The most looked forward to event the 100m round one will be of utmost importance for Himasha Eshan. At present he is in peak form and was the athlete who set a new national record for the event at the trials held at the Sugathadasa stadium a few weeks ago clocking a time of 10 seconds.

The athletic team representing Sri Lanka landed in Doha, Qatar three days before the opening and had the final practice session at the stadium yesterday. Sajith Jayalal the coach speaking to the media said that if the athletes keep to their timings they recorded in Sri Lanka during trials they can be sure of gaining at least five medals.

“In the past our athletes have always failed to maintain their timings what they recorded in Sri Lanka specially when competing at international level. They must make it a point to enter the field with a high morale to be medal winners,” said Jayalal.

In the past Asian Championships Sri Lanka won 19 golds, 14 silver and 19 bronze medals. At the 22nd Asian Championships China won 308 golds while Japan took the second place with 151 golds.

Men: Himasha Eshan (100m), Gratien Dhananjaya (Triple Jump), Sumedha Ranasinghe (Javelin), Danushka Piyaratne (Long Jump), Janaka Wimalasiri (Long Jump), Ajith Premakumara (400m)

Women: Nimali Liyanaarachchi (800m, 400m), Gayanthika Abeyratne (800m), Nilani Ratnayake (3000 Steeple Chase), Nadeesha Ramanayake (400m, 4X400M), Vidhusha Lakshani (Triple Jump), Upamali Ratnakumari (400m) and Dilshi Kumarasinghe (400X4m)

Chef de Mission: Lal Chandrakumara, Chaperon Irangani Rupasinghe

Coaches: Sajith Jayalal and Chaminda Perera

Dr. Lal Ekanayake and Asanka Sudharshan (Physio)