Former Hambanthota District AA athlete W.K.L.A. Nimali competing in 3000m steeplechase, a discipline that very few female athletes have dared to persevere, established a new Sri Lanka record, for the fourth time, clearing her previous mark in the SL Athletic Association conducted 27th Women’s Championships that commenced at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday.
Running for the first time for SL Air Force team Nimali clocked 11:01:08 secs. to establish the new National record. Breaking away from the bunch from the very start, Nimali had very little competition as she easily passed the finish line 45 seconds before the second placed athlete G.K. Abeyratne of SL Army.
Incidentally, it was the fourth time she bettered the Sri Lanka record training under Sujith Abesekara on a badly maintained track at National School Ground, Suriyawewa.
The athlete from an underprivileged family had been looking for job opportunities and a sponsor in vain for the last twelve months and had just joined the Air Force when she raised the National record to further heights yesterday.
Nimali first bettered the national record (11.41) clocking 11.24 minutes at the National Championship before erasing it (clocking 11.19 minutes) in the Women’s Championships last year. Nimali broke the record once again in the Junior Nationals this year clocking 11.06 minutes.
Nimali claimed the only National record to shatter yesterday in the 27th Women’s Championship while A.S. Lakshika Silva of Welasiya R.V., Madurankuliya, set a new meet record clearing a distance of 36.06m in the Under-16 Girls Javelin throw.
Today is the second and final day of the Women’s Championships.