The inclusion of dashing athletics prodigy Shehan Ambepitiya in the probable Sri Lanka team has increased the country’s hopes of winning medals at the forthcoming Commonwealth Youth Games, which will be held from October 12-18 in Pune, India.
Ambepitiya is one of the eight athletes whose names have been forwarded for Sports Ministry approval. Earlier, there was speculation that athletes below the age of 18 would only be selected for the third edition of the games, which clearly placed Ambepitiya out of contention.
But after receiving clarifications from the National Olympic Committee, the Athletic Selectors have considered the performances of athletes over the age of 18. That has made leading sprinter Ambepitiya available for selection, a selection committee source said.
The names of eight athletes, along with Ambepitiya’s have been sent for Ministry approval, a source close to the Athletic Association told ‘The Island’ on Tuesday.
Ambepitiya, who recently became the only Sri Lankan to have competed in a Youth World Championship final (when he took part in the 200 metres final, finishing seventh), will compete in the 100 and 200 metres and 4x100 metre-relay, while Roshan Chamara Silva, Ranil Jayawardena, Keith de Mel and Ruwan Chmeera Peiris make strong the 4x100 metre relay team.
Poramadulla MV athlete D. M. Nawaratne will take part in the 400 metres while Eranga de Silva of Rahula College Matara will compete in the triple jump. E. K. I. Edirisinghe is the only girl in the Sri Lanka team. The lass from Dambulla National School will compete in the women’s high jump.
Meanwhile, the names of 13 other athletes who will represent Sri Lanka in six other disciplines have been forwarded to the Sports Ministry for approval.
Swimming - Heshan Unambuwa, Andrew Abeysinghe and Mineka Karunaratne
Boxing - W. S. K. Fernando, D. M. Anuranga
Table Tennis - Buddhika Walgampola, Chanaka Ganegoda
Weightlifting - S. Liyanarachchi, D. S. Bandara
Tennis - Githmi Jayawickrama, Amritha Muttiah
Badminton - Nayankantha Wijesekara, Achini Ratnasiri