Rumeshika set to break Dharsha’s 100 metres record

Sprinter improves Dharsha’s 200 metres record for a second time


by Reemus Fernando

Just two days after being included in the Sri Lanka team for the Asian Athletic Championship, St. Joseph’s Balika sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake proved beyond doubt that she is a future prospect as she improved on Damayanthi Dharsha’s Junior National 200 metres record for the second time in the meet on the third day of the Junior National Athletic Championship at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium on Monday.

The athlete coached by A.D. Nandawathie (Nanda) produced a blistering 24.12 seconds performance to win the Under-20 girls’ 200 metres title.

That was the second time that Ratnayake bettered the meet record after having first smashed it on Sunday with a 24.27 second feat in the heats.

Dharsha’s 24.4 seconds (hand timing) record had stood unshaken for 22 years before the sprinter from Kegalle broke it on Sunday.

The school girl was a revelation at the recently held senior athletic trials where she turned tables on senior athletes to finish first in the 100 metres dash. Despite clocking 11.81 seconds in the final she was not selected in the team for the Asian Athletic Championship.

Officials of her school and enthusiasts had to campaign heavily before she was included in the team at the eleventh hour.

The 18-year-old is set to break Asian Games medalist Damayanthi Dharsha’s 100 metres Junior National record today. Dharsha’s record stands at 12.0 seconds.

In the corresponding boys 200 metres Gateway College sprinter smashed Shehan Ambepitiya’s meet record when he clocked 21.88 seconds. St. Mary’s Chilaw athlete M. Safran and Nalandian L.S.N. Perera who shared the second and third places respectively in a photo finish too bettered the previous record.

With Wijesekara going great guns, Ambepitiya’s 100 metres record too would be up for grabs today.

On a day dominated by furious sprint finishes and record breaking hurdles feats Asian Youth Championship medalist Yamani Dulanjali of Ambagamuwa Central cruised to a record finish in the Under-18 girls’ 400 metres hurdles. She clocked 62.12 seconds to erase the previous record held by Sumana Balika athlete Gimhani Jayathilaka.

Former Kuliyapitiya Central athlete Dilhani Fernando, now competing for Lumbini College, established a new meet record in the Under-20 girls 800 metres. She clocked 2:12.33 seconds to pip Ratnayake Central athlete Pramoda Abeysinghe to the second place.

Ratnayake Central won many an age group 800 metres with Harsha Sandaruwan winning the Under-16 boys event in a new record time of 2:00.59 seconds. He was closely followed by teammate Lakshitha Weerasinghe.

In the corresponding girls’ event T. Densike of Kilinochchi District Athletics Association turned tables on formidable Ratnayake Central athletes to win the event in a time of 2:23.94 seconds.

In a closely contested Under-18 boys 400 metres hurdles final Maris Stella College’s Uditha Chandrasena pipped St. Sylvester’s College hurdler Rajapaksha to the second place to win the event in a new record time. He clocked 53.38 seconds while Rajapaksha returned a time of 53.94 seconds. The duo who have already qualified for the IAAF World Youth Championship further confirmed their qualification yesterday.

Today is the final day of the 4-day Junior National Athletic Championship.

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