Coach urges another opportunity for impressive Suranjaya


by Reemus Fernando

Sprint coach Chaminda Perera urged that his trainee Suranjaya de Silva be given another opportunity to compete in Kazakhstan in a bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics after the South Asian Games gold medalist produced an impressive personal best on Saturday.

Suranjaya de Silva who won gold in the South Asian Games 200 metres, produced a personal best of 20.93 seconds at the G. Kazanov Memorial Meet in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

It is the best timing produced in the 200 metres by a Sri Lankan after the retirement of the likes of Sugath Thilakaratne and Prasanna Amarasekara.

"He has come very much closer to the qualifying standards. I am optimistic of Suranjaya's chances of qualifying for the Olympics. He should be given another opportunity," said Perera in an interview with The Island.

Suranjaya, the training partners of South Asian Games 100 metres record holder Himasha Eshan, has to better Sugath Thilakaratne's 1998 Sri Lanka record if he is to qualify for the Olympics in 200 metres.

Thilakaratne's 1998 Sri Lanka record stands at 20.69 seconds, while the difficult IAAF qualifying standard set for Rio Olympics 200 metres is 20.50 seconds.

"There is another athletic meet in Kazakhstan in another few days time. I am going to request the sports minister to consider allowing him (Suranjaya) to compete in that event," said Perera, who lamented lack of opportunities for his charge.

Meanwhile, preperation of many a leading athletes for the forthcoming National Championships has been hampered due to the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Ground being used for football training. A number of athletes said that their training has been hampered due to football training conducted at the athletic venue of the facility.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium had been the training venue for many a leading athlete. "There is football training in the athletics venue. It was not something which happened earlier. Now with the football nets being placed in the ground throwers find it difficult to train," an athlete told The Island.

"It is difficult for sprinters as well, as there is a risk of being hit by a ball while training on the track," said the athlete.

The forthcoming National Championships is the final opportunity for many leading athletes to earn qualifying standards for the Rio Olympics.

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