Administrative faux pas cost medal hopeful Asian Games participation

Ushan, Upamali not accredited for Games



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Former Maris Stella College athlete Thiwanka cleared 2.24 metres, a performance better than the silver medal winning feat at two of the past three Asian Games, at the selection trail.


by Reemus Fernando


For the second consecutive Asian Games some of Sri Lanka’s top track and field athletes, including two who were shortlisted and then selected for the Games, will not be able to represent the country thanks to an administrative faux pas.


High jumper Ushan Thiwanka and sprinter Upamali Ratnakumari who were both chosen after the selection trial held in May will not be able to compete at the quadrennial event after the National Olympic Committee and the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka failed to address an issue pertaining to their accreditation.


Former Maris Stella College athlete Thiwanka cleared 2.24 metres, a performance better than the silver medal winning feat at two of the past three Asian Games, at the selection trail. He was hopeful of making the debut at the Games starting later this week and his coach Suranjith Sanrath had prepared to accompany the athlete at his own expense.


The Athletics Association of Sri Lanka were hopeful of fielding a women’s 4x400 metres relay team and a mixed relay team and Upamali Ratnakumari was a leading contender for both after she clocked 53.81 seconds at the selection trial in May.


According to sources the National Olympic Committee has failed to get accreditation for both Thiwanka and Ratnakumari.


The AALS had a quota of 23 athletes for the Asian Games but pruned the team down to 14 athletes after some of the previously selected athletes fared badly at this month’s National Athletics Championships. Those 14 were inclusive of Thiwanka and Ratnakumari.


Sadly the two athletes remained in the dark about the accreditation issue on Tuesday evening.


It is not the first time that administrative blunders had cost medal hopefuls the opportunity of representing the country at the Asian Games.


Long jumper Amila Jayasiri had a bitter experience just ahead of the last Asian Games. Jayasiri equaled the long standing (then) National record with a feat of 7.86 metres at the National Championship which was considered the final selection trial for the Incheon Asian Games 2014. That performance was better than that of the bronze winning performance of the previous two Asian Games. He could not represent the country as his name was not in the ‘long list’ of the NOC.


This time Jayasiri cleared 8.02 metres in the men’s long jump early this month at the National Championship. That performance is better than that of the gold medal winning performance at the last Asian Games. Jayasiri too is not a part of the team going to Asian Games.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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