Sumeda new javelin champion


Sumeda Ranasinghe turned tables on former national record holder to win the men’s javelin throw. Ranasinghe is making an attempt here on the final day of the National Athletics Championships at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium on Sunday. (Pic by Reemus Fernando)

by Reemus Fernando

Sri Lanka Air Force thrower Sumeda Ranasinghe turned tables on national champion and former national record holder Waruna Lakshan to win the men’s javelin as the 93rd National Athletic Championships concluded with high jumper Manjula Kumara and Nilani Ratnayake winning the best athlete titles in the men’s and women’s categories respectively at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium on Sunday.

Sumeda’s performance was probably the most talked about performance of the final day as he edged out favourite Lakshan by just 32 centimetres to win his first national title.

Sumeda cleared a distance of 76.51 metres, while Lakshan hurled it to a distance of 76.19 metres.

The most competitive event of the day probably was the men’s long jump as fierce competition powered the top three jumpers beyond the 7.50 metres mark. Janaka Prasad Wimalasiri cleared 7.80 metres to win while former champion Milantha Sampath Dissanayake came to form with a jump of 7.71 metres to bag the silver. Young national record holder Amila Jayasiri too was impressive with a jump of 7.57 metres.

Army sprinter Himasha Eshan added the men’s 200 metres gold to his 100 metres win with a feat of 21.41 seconds, edging out former champion Chanaka Jayasekara (21.83sec)to the second place. Gateway College sprinter Asiri Wijesekara was placed third (21.94secs). Himasha’s impressive 100 metres sprint on day two earned him the award for the best sprint performance of the meet in the men’s category.

Sri Lanka Air Force’s Eranga Dulakshi won the women’s 400 metres hurdles with a feat of 59.37 seconds, while the corresponding men’s event was won by Army’s Aravinda Chathuranga who clocked 51.57 seconds.

Army’s Indunil Herath clocked 1:49.93 seconds to win the men’s 800 metres ahead of S.K. Wedagedara (1:49.98secs) also from Army.

In an unusual turn of events, women’s 800 metres final saw only two competitors, both from Air Force. Asian Championship medalist Nimali Liyanarachchi clocked 2:09.73 seconds to win. K.A.D. Sandakanthi returned a time of 2:10.41 seconds.

Army’s Lional Samarajeewa won the men’s 5,000 metres with a time of 14:46.13 seconds. He was challenged by G.N. Bandara(14:47.32secs) early in the race but Samarajeewa was ahead in the last few laps.

While P.B Gayani and S.N. Appuhami won the women’s and men’s race walking events, morning session’s attraction was the men’s 110 metres hurdles. Navy’s Hasitha Nirmal clocked 14.66 seconds to win the event. Women’s 100 metres hurdles was won by I.S. Rajasinghe of Army (14.86 secs).

Manjula Kumara was adjudged the best athlete of the meet for his feat of 2.22 metres in the high jump. Incidentally, Manjula, who was probably the closest athlete to IAAF qualifying standards failed to reach the mark (2.28m) on day one as the event concluded in darkness.

In the women’s segment Nilani Ratnayake was given the best athlete award for her record breaking feat of 10.09.49 seconds in the women’s steeplechase.


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