Fourteen-year-old Chandima Samaratunga erased a 13-year-old record by throwing a distance of 53.30m in the Under-15 Boys’ Javelin Throw to write the name of his alma mater, St. Joseph’s College, Nugegoda, in athletics record books for the first time on the third day of the All-island Schools Athletics Championship at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.
Samaratunga preserved his best effort until his last throw after throwing beyond the 50m mark in all his first six throws. Having thrown a good distance, with a 53.07m throw in his second attempt, he had only the last throw to go for the record and he just made it right when he cleared 53.3m to shatter Amila Chandana’s earlier record of 53.2m, set in 1996, which had stood unshaken for 13 long years.
Hailing from a school with a meager student population of just around 700, Chandima’s feat placed the name of St. Joseph’s, Nugegoda, in schools athletic record books in Sri Lanka for the first time.
Samaratunga’s school officials said that it was for the first time that a record of such significance was established by an athlete from St. Joseph’s boys’ school, Nugegoda.
According to his coach Dilan Mendis, Samaratunga showed signs of a vast improvement as he bettered his relatively poor throw of 34.65m made at the Sir John Tarbert Athletics Championship last year by more than 10 meters at the same meet this year.
After winning the gold in his pet event in the Zonal and Divisional meets this year, the athlete cleared a distance of 45.58m at the Western Province Schools Athletics C’ship. Yesterday he surpassed that mark by nearly eight meters.
In his seven throws yesterday, Samaratunga threw 50.35, 53.07, 50.93, 53.07, 50.46, 51.12 and 53.30 metres respectively.
Meanwhile, Royal College throwing prodigy Charith Kapukotuwa lowered a 15-year-old record in the U-21 Boys’ Discus Throw clearing a distance of 43.83m.
Ishara Udayangani of Yasodhara BMV, Colombo, bettered her own record in the U-21 Girls’ Pole Vault going over the bar at 2.9m. Kapukotuwa could shatter a record previously held by Tashman Colin (40.24m in 1994) of Mulkirigala MV.
There were two other records that were shattered yesterday. Chamika Jayamini of Sumana Balika Vidyalaya, Ratnapura, set the first track event record clocking 4 minutes 42.99 seconds in the U-17 Girls’ 1500m. The previous record was held by W.K.L.A. Nimali of Suriyavewa KV (4:48.56).
And the Joseph Vaz College U-17 4x100m relay team clocked 43.82 seconds to equal the previous record in that age group’s relay event.