A blessing in disguise for Sri Lankan athletes | Sunday Observer

A blessing in disguise for Sri Lankan athletes

Nimali  Liyanaarachchi
Nimali Liyanaarachchi

Postponement of the Olympic Games by one year and the extension of the qualification period has come as a blessing in disguise for some athletes in Sri Lanka according to the president of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. Palitha Fernando.

This new qualification period for track and field events is June 29 while the date to qualify for the marathon and 59km race walk will be May 31.

Fernando said that the extension of the date will give enough time for some athletes to get back their form and fitness levels to a high degree. For example, Sri Lanka’s best women’s middle distance runner and medal hopeful Nimali Liyanaarachchi will be the happiest athlete to receive the good news.

She was unfortunate not to proceed to Nepal for the South Asian Games as she met with an unfortunate accident while riding her motor cycle just one day before her scheduled departure to Nepal.

She has about six months to train and reach peak form having recovered from a fractured hand and .

She was training in Nuwara Eliya but went back to Sooriyawewa after the imposition of the curfew.

Other athletes who are vying to participate at the Tokyo Olympics like Gayanthike Abeyratne as well as Asian Championship and Asian Games finalist steeple chase runner Nilani Ratnayake are pushing hard to achieve qualification standards with the help of their coach Jayalal.

Qualification standards for some events such as the women’s marathon, 800m and steeple chase have been lowered too and the extended time frame will benefit the Sri Lankan athletes.

Some officials are of the opinion that some athletes take a break between seasons which help them to come back afresh that help them to improve in their performances.

Even elite international athletes do this and the extended qualification period will give the athletes ample time to enhance their standards.