Sugandi breaks national record for third gold

Amila wins best athlete title


by Reemus Fernando

Lakshika Sugandi claimed her third title of the meet in dramatic fashion as she established a new national record becoming the first athlete to aggregate more than 5000 points in the heptathlon on the final day of the 97th National Athletics Championship on Sunday.

She won the 800 metres with a time below her personal best but beamed from ear to ear as she realised her ‘ambition of going pass the 5000 points mark’.

"This is the sixth time I have improved the national record and I am happy as I have aggregated more than 5000 points," Sugandi told The Island after the event.

Sugandi reached her personal best in three events (200m- 24.50 secs, long jump- 6.07m, javelin-33.16m) to aggregate a total of 5128 points. The next best was far behind her with 4498 points.

Incidentally, she was also the winner of both the 100 metres and the 100 metres hurdles a rare achievement for a heptathlete.

The women’s 200 metres witnessed a dramatic finish with Shermila Jans (24.85 secs) pipping Nadeesha Ramanayake (24.87 secs) to the second place in a photofinish. Vinoj Suranjaya won the gold in the men’s event in a time of 21.41 seconds.

Indunil Herath (1:49.01secs)used his experience to grab the men’s 800 metres title in a close finish against Asian Championship participant Rusiru Chathuranga (1:49.09) after Kupun Kushantha set the pace with early lead. Kushantha finished fourth.

Nimali Liyanarachchi won the women’s 800 metres in a time of 2:04.02 seconds while Dilshi Kumarasinghe (2:04.48 secs) won the silver beating Asian Championship medallist Gayanthika Abeyratne (2:07.23 secs) to the third place.

As expected the men’s javelin throw was a contest among Olympian Sumeda Ranasinghe, former national record holder Waruna Lakshan and Sampath Ranasinghe. The former clinched the gold with a new meet record mark of 80.76 metres. Lakshan was second with 79.87 metres. Sampath Ranasinghe was the only other athlete to clear the 70 metres mark (74.44m).

In the absence of Asian Championship participants national record holder Amila Jayasiri cleared 8.06 metres to win the men’s long jump and the ticket to the South Asian Games. He was also adjudged the best athlete of the meet for his performance.

In the other finals held in the afternoon, R.M.S. Pushpakumara (men’s 5,000m- 14:44.12 secs), A.I. Ratnasena (men’s 400m hurdles- 51.6 secs) and Kaushalya Madushani (women’s 400m hurdles-58.16 secs) were the winners.

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