Jaffna school girl Aniththa equals lowly SL national pole vault record


by Reemus Fernando

Aniththa Jegatheeswaran competes in the Under-19 girls’ pole vault.
(Pix by Kamal Bogoda)

A school girl from Jaffna equaled the lowly Sri Lanka women’s pole vault national record at the Athletics Championship of the National Schools Games at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Thursday.

17-year-old Aniththa Jegatheeswaran of Mahajana College, Jaffna cleared 3.32 metres in the girls Under-19 pole vault to equal the existing record held by Anoma Karunawansa.

"I am happy to have accomplished the target we set for this meet," a smiling Aniththa told reporters through the help of a translator after her record equaling feat.

Hashen Madusanka Fernando of Joseph Vaz College, Wennappuwa won the Under-19 boys javelin throw with a feat of 61.11 metres.

"We use makeshift mattresses to train in Jaffna and we are happy that we could achieve this under these circumstances," said her coach C. Subashkaran who was the former PTI of Arunodaya College, Jaffna.

Aniththa said that she was influenced by her coach to take up pole vault. She will also compete in javelin.

Women’s pole vault is one of the still developing athletics discipline in Sri Lanka. Anoma Karunawansa is the record holder of the event having improved on it twice during the last twelve months. She cleared 3.31 metres at the last National Sports Festival at Nawalapitiya and improved on that to 3.32 metres at the recently held National Athletics Championships.

While only seven finals were held on day one, preliminary heats of many sprint events were conducted in the morning and evening with the national number one in the hundred metres, Himasha Eshan of Kalutara Vidyalaya producing a fast finish in the 200 metres heats under floodlights to cap the day’s events.

Prasadi Lakshani of Holy Cross Vidyalaya, Gampaha (Under-15 girls long jump-4.99m), Randi Himasha Cooray of Ratnavali Balika, Colombo (Under-17 girls high jump- 1.60m), Supun Dananjaya of Royal College, Panadura (Under-17 boys discus throw- 52.48m), Hashen Madusanka Fernando of Joseph Vaz College, Wennappuwa (Under-19 boys javelin throw- 61.11m), Samith Jayawardena of St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena (Under-19 boys shot putt- 13.46m) and Hansamali Mendis of Newstead Balika, Negombo (Under-21 girls long jump- 5.12m) were the winners of the seven finals held yesterday.

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