Thivanka, Nishadi best athletes as Ratnayake Central, Maris Stella win titles

Sir John Tarbet Senior Athletics Championships


Boys’ Overall Champions Maris Stella College, Negombo.

Girls’ Overall Champions Ratnayake Central, Walala.

By Reemus Fernando


Maris Stella College, Negombo athlete Ushan Thivanka, and Ratnayake Central, Walala sprinter Dilshi Kumarasinghe had more than one reason to celebrate when their impressive personal achievements contributed to their schools’ championship winning feats as the Sir John Tarbet Senior Athletics Championship concluded with many new meet records and one national record at Diyagama on Thursday.

Maris Stella (141 points) won the Boys’ Overall Championship of the three-day meet ahead of Ratnayake Central (75 points – runners-up) and St. Benedict’s (74 points - second runner-up) as Thivanka contributed with a gold and a silver. His record-breaking feat in the Under-20 boys’ high jump was adjudged the best jump and the best performance of the meet.

Thivanka, who had a personal best of 2.14m at this year’s National Athletics Championships, cleared 2.17m to establish a new meet record in the Under-20 high jump. Thivanka also won silver in the pole vault. Their hurdler Uditha Chandrasena too impressed winning the Under-20 400m hurdles.

Ratnayake Central (228 points) won the girls’ overall title as they comprehensively beat Ambagamuwa Central (99 points) and Sumana Balika, Ratnapura (79 points). Dilshi Kumarasinghe was probably the top contributor in their campaign to win the title as she dominated both the 800m and the 400m of the Under-18 age category. Kumarasinghe established a new meet record in the 800m returning a time of two minutes and 13.4 seconds. She had hardly any competition when she won the 400m on Thursday.

Girls’ runners-up Ambagamuwa Central had their leading hurdler Yamani Dulanjali aggregating more points for them than anyone as she won the Under-20 400m hurdles, 400m flat event and the 200m. She beat leading contenders Omaya Udayangani of Welimada Central and Nirmali Madushika in the 400m on Thursday.

Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda long jumper Ridma Nishadi was awarded the best athlete title in the girls’ category for her outstanding feat in the long jump (6.02m). Undoubtedly a future prospect, Nishadi also established a new meet record in the triple jump as well.

Nipun Kaldera of Loyola College, Daluwakotuwa (long jump 7.38m) and Tharusha Dananjaya of Lumbini College (400m 47.8 secs) also had memorable outings as they impressed in their pet events. They won the best jumper and best runner of the meet awards respectively.

Jegatheeswaran Aniththa of Mahajana College, Thellipalai who equaled the lowly national women’s pole vault record in the year 2014 as a 17-year-old, broke the national mark with a jump of 3.35m in her second attempt in the Under-20 event.

In other events held on Thursday Prasadi Lakshani of Holy Cross College, Gampaha (Under-16 girls’ triple jump) and Adeesha Anjan of Lumbini College (U-16 400m - 50.0 secs) established new meet records.

The impressive performances of athletes were at odds with substandard track conditions of the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium which badly needs an overhaul to its track. The absence of electronic timing was yet another hindrance. The organisers of track and field events are facing many a difficulty due to the absence of equipment and the substandard of synthetic tracks.

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