Schools Athletics Association to stick to tested formula

Officials from Ceylon Biscuits Limited (from left) Krishantha Wilathgamuwa, National Sales Manager, Janaka Botheju, Public Relations Manager, Aruna Liyanapathirana, Assistant Brand Manager and Nilupul de Silva, Marketing Manager and officials of Sri Lanka Schools Athletics Association T.B. Wedagedara, Secretary and Susantha Kularatne, Treasurer mark the CBL Sponsorship for the Sir John Tarbet Junior and Senior Athletics Championships at a press conference on Tuesday.(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

by Reemus Fernando

Sri Lanka Schools Athletics Association (SLSAA) is determined to carry on with the tested distances of 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres for the Under-14 age category despite the Ministry of Education dropping such disciplines for the said age category at athletics championships conducted by them this year.

"We are continuing with these disciplines as they are the events that build strength, speed and endurance of children. There is no objection from the Ministry of Education," T.B. Wedagedara, the secretary of the SLSAA told The Island on the sidelines of an event to announce Ceylon Biscuits Limited sponsorship for the Sir John Tarbet Junior and Senior Athletics Championships on Tuesday.

The Sir John Tarbet Junior Athletics Championship provides juniors in the age category of Under-14 the only opportunity to compete in the 200 and 400 metres after the Ministry of Education dropped these events from their annual competitions this year.

The Divisional, Zonal and Provincial Athletics Championships conducted by the Ministry of Education did not feature these events in the Under-14 age category this year after the age categories were changed from Under-11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 to Under-12, 14, 16, 18 and 20.

At competitions conducted by the Ministry of Education, the Under-12 age category has only the 60m, 100m, 80 m hurdles, long jump and high jump. The Under-14 age category has only the 80m, 100m, 80m hurdles, high jump, long jump and shot put.

However, the Sir John Tarbet Junior Championship provides more events to the juniors with the Under-14 age category having the 100m, 200m, 400m, 80m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, discus and javelin throw.

The phase one competitions of Sir John Tarbet Junior Athletics Championships will be held at Rajasinghe Central College ground Hanwella on Friday(30) and Saturday(01). The two-day competition will be for the schools in the Western and Southern Provinces.

The competitions for the Northern, Eastern, North Western and North Central were conducted on June 16 and 17 at Royal College ground, Polonnaruwa. The competition for the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces will be held on August 5 and 6 at Jayathilaka Stadium, Nawalapitiya.

The final championship will be held on September 23, 24, 25 and 26 at Bogambara.

The officials of SLSAA were forced to conduct the popular athletics event at two stages this year due to massive participation during recent years.

This year’s first event held at Polonnaruwa early this month had attracted over 1,700 athletes.

"We have received around 4,000 entries for the Western Province and Southern Province competitions," Wedagedara said on Tuesday.

Organisers expect over 5000 athletes from 200 schools for the Sir John Tarbet Senior Athletics Championship which will be held on July 4, 5 and 6 at Diyagama.

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