Javeline record holder Lakshan looks for success at international level



Name: Rankoth Pedige Waruna Lakshan Dayaratne

Date of Birth:

14th May 1988

School: Dhammissara MMV, Nattandiya

Clubs: Sri Lanka Navy

Sri Lanka Army (joined- March 2011)


Junior South Asian Athletics Championship, Colombo Bronze 2007

National Schools Athletics Championship, 2008

Under-21 record 67.74m

Youth Championship, 2009 record 68.74m

Defence Service Athletics Championship 2009

record 72.98m

Thailand Open Athletics Championship 2011 Gold record 72.80m

National Selection Trial 2011 May 75.41 New Sri Lanka Record

by Reemus Fernando

Waruna Lakshan tried his luck at cricket and elle and several other sports with limited success while at school. After failing to impress much in those sports, he shifted to the javelin throw, a move that resulted in him breaking the national record at the age of 23!

With a former national record holder supporting him in training, Lakshan, who broke the record last month, now aims at winning an international medal. He is elated that he has been selected to represent the country at the Asian Athletics Championship, which will be held in Kobe, Japan.

"With the national record under my belt, probably an Asian Championship medal is the one that I should try now, said Lakshan in an interview with the Sunday Island Sportstar.

According to stats provided by the Sri Lanka Athletics Association, Lakshan cleared a distance of 75.41 metres, at the selection trial held at Diyagama on May 25. Lakshan broke the record (74.85m) held by Kingsley Gunathilake (2008, in Singapore).

Lakshan was confident that he could improve from the 75.41 metre national mark, which is a must if he is to win a medal at Asian level. Although the Asian Championship medals had been decided within the range of 80 metres, a drop in the standards in recent years has opened the door for throwers like Lakshan to have realistic hopes of a medal.

He has also assessed the strengths of his would be opponents at the Asian Championship. "Other than Japan’s Asian champion (Yukifumi Murakami), the others are doing below 80 metres, at present. I have a good chance of winning a medal if I do well," hoped Lakshan, who is training with a cheep variety javelin.

Lakshan said that he has done well when he used high quality javelins at national level, which he cannot afford to buy. The thrower, who once represented the Sri Lanka Navy, joined the Sri Lanka Army recently.

His coach, former national record holder Pradeep Nishantha said that, the dedication and the discipline in training, which has assisted the athlete to travel this far, will take him to the next level. "He has the potential to strike for medals at international level. He is dedicated and that will help him achieve greater success," said Nishantha.

Lakshan has made steady progress since his return from an injury layoff in 2007, in which year he came under the supervision of former national record holder, Nishantha, who works as an accounts clerk at Sierra Constructions Pvt, Ltd, which grants leave for the former champion to train his athlete.

A student of Dammissara MMV, Nattandiya, Lakshan came into the limelight, with a bronze medal in the Under-18 category, at the Junior Nationals in 2005. He said he tried his luck at cricket, elle and other sports, but shifted to the javelin later and soon found that it was the ideal sport for him.

His first international appearance was at the Junior South Asian Athletics Championship in Colombo, where he won a bronze (2007).

The following year, Lakshan threw a distance of 67.78 metres, to establish an Under-21 National Schools Championship record. A Youth Championship and a Defence Service record followed in 2009. A few weeks ago, Lakshan won a gold medal at the Thailand Open Athletics Championships, with a new meet record, and a throw of 72.80 metres.

While winning a medal at the Asian Athletics Championship is his immediate aim, he is also hoping to achieve Olympic Qualifying standards.

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