Champion runner Kumarasinghe battles the odds in record-setting show | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Champion runner Kumarasinghe battles the odds in record-setting show

3 January, 2021
Dilshi Kumarasinghe
Dilshi Kumarasinghe

Sri Lanka’s star athlete at the 2019 South Asian Games Dilshi Kumarasinghe, made a strong comeback with a record breaking performance in the 800m event at the 98th National Athletic Championship that concluded on Tuesday (29) at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

Her time of two minutes 02.57 seconds stood out as the best performance at the meet. This was equal to 1113 points in World Athletics.

A product of A Ratnayake Central Walala, the 21-year-old Kumarasinghe became a dashing star at the last SAG held in Kathmandu where she won three gold medals from the 400m, 800m and the 4x400m relay events. No one expected the gold in the relay event but Dilshi who ran the last lap did a superb run to clinch the gold.

Despite having stayed without any competition for over a year due to the pandemic, Kumarasinghe did not show any signs of rustiness to shine in the 800m. She was even able to beat Sri Lanka’s record holder Gayanthika Abeyratne and national champion Nimali Liyanaarachchi.

She missed out on the Sri Lanka record of 2:02.55 by 0.25 seconds, but shattered the meet record of 2:04.2 seconds set by Liyanarachchi last year. Liyanaarachchi and Abeyratne finished second and third respectively.

“I was worried about running directly in the final but happy with the timing. My ambition is always high and will go for the National record at the next opportunity,” said Kumarasinghe who hails from Digana in Kandy and had limited facilities when she started her career.

She was spotted by her coach Susantha Fernando at Rajawella Dharmasoka Primary School in Digana. The coach was responsible in obtaining a scholarship for her at A Ratnayake Central in Walala.

That was the turning point in her athletics career. She trained hard in the 400 and 800m events under the guidance of coach Susantha Fernando. Sri Lanka can hope for many more international medals from Kumarasinghe.