Tough times ahead for Sri Lankan athletes | Sunday Observer

Tough times ahead for Sri Lankan athletes

7 March, 2021
Nilani Ratnayake
Nilani Ratnayake

Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) will conduct trials once again to kick off the calendar year from April 8 to 10 that will be limited to a selected group just as it was done for the National Championships.

However, SLA will consider those deserving athletes who appeal for entry unable to make the cut.

These trials will offer a chance for athletes to be selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games by achieving direct qualification standard or by increasing their present world rankings through a good performance.

The trials will also be used to evaluate the present elite and national pool athletes and a team will be selected to compete at the World Athletics Relay championship to be held in Poland on May 1, 2.

Maj. Gen. Palitha Fernando president of SLA said that they will send three relay teams to Poland as all top eight teams at the World Athletic Relay Championship will get direct entry to the Olympics.

Sri Lanka hopes to send the men’s 4x400 and 4x400 mixed relay teams, 4x800 women’s team as the island has three women 800m runners who are within the top five in Asia.

But the 4x800m relay is not included in the Olympic schedule.

Fernando hopes to conduct the national athletic championships from May 20 to 23 at the Sugathadasa Stadium open to any athlete.

Presently only 3000m steeplechase runner Nilani Ratnayake is within the qualification quota for the Olympics judging from her world rankings.

Cancellation of the Asian Athletics championship which was set to be held from May 20-23, 2021 is certain to hinder the chances of Sri Lanka’s top athletes’ from enhancing their world rankings.

The Asian meet is recognized high in the world athletics category where an athlete can earn higher bonus points to their rankings.

Now Sri Lanka athletes will have to ensure that they perform at their best in April and May to at least stand a chance to get the nod for the Olympics.