Conrad Francis betters SL record in Sydney
Asoka Goonetilleke in Sydney

Conrad Francis, who opened Sri Lanka’s swimming campaign yesterday, here at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre, finished fifth in the men’s 100 metre butterfly event. He clocked 57.44 secs, which was better than the existing Sri Lanka record held by Gheffari Dulapandan.

Conrad, who is in Australia on a three year scholarship, clocked a personal best of 58.23 seconds, on May 13 this year, to gain a wild card for the Sydney Olympics. At the last Kathmandu Games he clocked 59.28 and at the Perth 2000 Tip-Top Championship, he clocked 58.49 secs.

Asked for his comments, the 19-year-old said he was instructed by his Australian coach to do the first fifty metres under 26 seconds. "Well, I did it! I am happy. Also, I broke the Sri Lanka record. I’ll do better at the next SAF Games and the Asian Games to win a place for the next Olympics".

Sri Lanka’s Theekshana Ratnasekera will enter the pool today. She is listed to compete in the 50 metres free style and hopes to go for the Sri Lanka record, held by Shanika Ranasinghe. Theekshana Ratnasekera clocked 30.62 at the trials held in Colombo on April 24. Noor Haki of Iraq and Runa Pradhan of Nepal have the first and third fastest timings of 30.15 and 31.70 respectively.