Men, women relay teams can reach Olympic standards – AASL President | Sunday Observer

Men, women relay teams can reach Olympic standards – AASL President

Palitha Fernando
Palitha Fernando

Sri Lanka’s track and field sportsmen and women came up with a brilliant performance bagging 23 gold medals at the ongoing 13th South Asian Games in Nepal which marked the biggest haul the country has achieved setting the course for Olympic standards according to the president of the Athletics Association, Major General Palitha Fernando.

He said that the Sri Lankan athletes have come a long way to achieve this success after nearly 15 years.

Fernando said that the last time Sri Lankan athletes brought the highest number of gold medals was way back in 2006 when they won 15 gold medals. This time they have gone past this figure to set a record in the SA Games.

“Our relay teams have improved tremendously during the past few months by undergoing hard training, not only in training but also in other aspects such as discipline, unity and maintaining their physical condition,” said Fernando.

“The AASL put them through some programs to achieve this target. During this time many remarks were made by some saying that these programs will not bring good results. Today I am glad to say that all these remarks have become worthless and all participants showed that they have benefitted by these programs to reach their goals,” added Fernando.

He was a happy man yesterday with the men’s and women’s relay teams doing their best to win gold medals and setting new meet records. Their achievements will encourage them to reach qualifying standards to participate in the 2020 Olympics according to Fernando.

“Even the National Olympic Committee was not in favour of sending such a big team for the SAG. But with the achievements by the athletes the NOC’s thinking has been shattered”, claimed Fernando.

The 4x100m men’s relay team comprised Yupun Abeykoon, Himasha Eshan, Chanuka Dharmakeerthi and Vinj Suranjaya while the women’s team was made up of Sarangi Silva, Lakshika Sugandi, Amasha de Silva and Sadeepa Henderson.

“As a responsible association we have to take care of these athletes and guide them with our special programs for further progress,” said Fernando.

In appreciation of the good work done by the athletes who won 15 gold medals out of 23, the SLAA decided to provide them with an all-expenses paid visit to Bodh Gaya in neighbouring India yesterday according to Palitha Fernando.