India’s drug cheat makes way for Sri Lanka’s Gayanthika | Sunday Observer

India’s drug cheat makes way for Sri Lanka’s Gayanthika

10 May, 2021
Gayanthika Abeyratne
Gayanthika Abeyratne

Sri Lanka middle distance runner Gayanthika Abeyratne will be elevated to receive the Bronze medal at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championship 800m women’s event after the Gold medallist, Indian runner Gomathi Marimuthu’s appeal against her four-year doping ban was rejected.

The president of Sri Lanka Athletics, Major Gen Palitha Fernando confirmed that Gayanthika will receive the medal in due course.

Gomathi won the 800m event but was subsequently stripped of the Gold medal and handed a four-year ban for doping by the disciplinary tribunal of World Athletics on May 26 last year. She then appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport challenging the verdict that was upheld.

In fact, Gomathi had failed three tests prior to the 2019 Asian Championships on March 18, 2019 during the Federation Cup and twice on April 13 that same year during the selection trials in Patiala.

Gayanthika said she was elated at the prospect of taking custody of the medal that eluded her when she ended fourth in the 800m race with a timing of 2.05.75.

“When I got this message I was really happy and this will be my second Asian championship medal. My first medal was a silver won in 2017 at the Asian championship in Bhubaneswar, India.

“This is a big boost for me at this stage. My coach Sajith Jayalal always encourages me to keep moving forward,” said Gayanthika.

In 2019 at the Asian Athletic championship in Qatar the 31-year-old runner Gomathi clocked a personal best time of two 2. 02.70 to become the first Indian to bag Gold in the women`s 800m event in the competition.

Wang Chunyu of China won the Silver with a timing of 2.02.96 while Magarita Mucasheva of Kazakhstan won the Bronze with a timing of 2.03.83.

Gayanthika was forced to be satisfied with fourth place after a tough competition. But the 34-year Gayanthika who hails from a village in Sooriyawewa in the Hambantota district said nothing discouraged her from hard training to focus on future international meets.

“I couldn’t run at my best at last month’s athletic trials. We have two good 800m athletes in Nimali Liyanarachchi and Dilshi Kumarasinghe who established new 800m National records that erased my previous record at the trials.

“But the three of us are still among the first six ranking at the Asian level. This always makes good competition to improve our timings,” said Gayanthika.