Sri Lankan runners displaced as Indians hold sway | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankan runners displaced as Indians hold sway

23 January, 2022
Karttik Kumar the men’s winner-Aanjirani Jadhav the women’s    winner (Pix by Nirosh Batepola)
Karttik Kumar the men’s winner-Aanjirani Jadhav the women’s winner (Pix by Nirosh Batepola)

Indian runners dominated at the Nestomalt half marathon (21 kms) organized by Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) to celebrate their centenary year at the Diyatha Uyana in Battaramulla, Kotte yesterday morning.

Their men runners finished first and second while their woman runner emerged winner in their category in ideal cool conditions that attracted nearly a thousand runners from all parts of the country.

The men’s winner was Kartik Kumar who finished in one hour and three minutes while the first runner-up was Dharmendra who crossed the tape in one hour and seven minutes. The gap between them was massive compared to the time difference of four minutes.

The Indian woman who won was Sanjirani Jadhav who finished the distance in one hour 16:06 seconds was about three minutes ahead of the second placed Madumali Perera of the Navy who finished in one hour 19:48 seconds.

The two Indian men serve in the army and are allowed ample time to train. They are specialized runners in the 10 and five kilometre events who have participated in Asian meets and have won medals.

Kumar at 23 years-old is a JCO rank in the army and is the third best runner in India in the 10 and five kilometre events for six long years.

Sanjirani is 24 years old and is a sports officer in the state of Maharashtra for 11 years. She too is specialized in running the 10 and five kilometre events and at times is prepared to compete in the 21 kilometre half marathon. She is a medallist in the Asian Championship in the 10 kms event but is placed fifth in the Asian Games in this event.

Her duty as a sports officer is to train young athletes in the long distance events.

The athletes from Maldives could not finish within the first five places in either event. One man athlete was tested positive for Covid 19 on arrival and could not take part.

These athletes also serve in the Maldives army but do most of their training in Gampola, Sri Lanka for three months at a stretch. They face varying surfaces during training that has helped them to enhance their fitness and adjust to different surfaces. They are always faced with a flat surface in their own country.

The athletes from Bangladesh and Nepal too could not come up with good performances.

The five kilometre health run for men was won by RGRMS Niranjan from the Police who finished the distance in 16 minutes and 12 seconds.

The women’s race was won by Leah Wilton an expatriate worker in Sri Lanka.

The race for schoolboys was won by Dulaksha Madushan from Bandaranaike MV, Gampaha in a time of 14 minutes and three seconds.

The schoolgirls’ race was won by Oshadini Nimala from Mary Balika Vidyalaya, Tudella in a time of 15 minutes 18.6 seconds.

The event was sponsored as usual by Nestle under the brand name of Nestomalt.

Many local athletes ran bare feet but could not come up with winning performances.


Half marathon (men):

1. Kartik Kumar (India) 1h. 05m. 2. Dharmendra (India) 1h. 07:15. 3. K. Shanmugeshwaran (Kandy DAA) 1h. 07:28. 4. Danushka Sandaruwan (Army). 5. DGS Sandaruwan (Army)


1. Sanjirani Jadhav (India) 1h. 16:06. 2. Madumali Perera (Navy) 1h. 19:48, 3. HMCS Herath (Army) 1h 21m. 4. Nisansala Bandara (Army), 5. MANK Fernando (Navy)

Health Run (5km) women:

1.Leah Wilton (Colombo Nightron) 22m 30 secs. 2. Rathna Kumari (DSS) 22m 34 secs. 3. Iresha de Soysa 23m 14 secs. 4. Dewmini Tennakoon (Colombo Nightron) 23m 30 secs. 5. Chandra Premaratne 23m 39 secs.


1. TGRMS Niranjan (Police) 16m 12 secs. 2. Haazig Riza 17m 28 secs. 3. DB Suranga 17m 32 secs. 4. Dimuth Wijegunawardane 17m 33 secs. 5. Asoka Premadasa 17m 43 secs.

School children (5 km) (Boys):

1.Dulaksha Madushan (Bandaraiyake MV Gampaha) 14m 03 secs. 2. Vihanga Pramod (St. Sebastian’s Kandana) 15m. 7 secs. 3. Anushka Lakshan (Sri Gnanodaya MV, Divulapitiya) 15m 14.5 secs. 4. MSM Fernando (Paantliya MV Matugama) 15m 17 secs. 5. Pasan Rashnika (Kirillawela Central) 15m 18 secs.


1. Oshadini Nimala (Mary MV, Tudella) 15m. 35.1 secs. 2. Ayesha Sanduni (Thala Kadugamuwa MV Kuliyapitiya) 15m 42 secs. 3. Rashmi Amanda (Dharmapala, Pannipitiya) 15m 56 seconds. 4. Geethmi Sanjana (St. John’s, Kalutara) 16m 02.3 secs. 5. Kiruni Madubashini (Henegama Central) 16m 13.6 secs.