Wijekoon breaks SL record to secure semi-final berth


Chaminda Wijekoon, second left, competes in the first heat in the men’s 1,500 metres at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea, on Monday. Kenya’s Daniel Kipchirchir Komen leads the pack.

Chaminda Wijekoon established a new Sri Lanka record when he returned a time of three minutes 39 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, Korea on Monday.

Competing in the first heat in the men’s 1,500 metres, which eventually was the fastest of the three heats, Wijekoon was placed seventh in a time of 3:39.61 seconds. Incidentally, his performance was ranked seventh after the completion of the three heats, where 38 athletes were competing for 24 semi-final spots.

Incidentally, Wijekoon became the first Sri Lankan to break the three minutes 40 seconds barrier, as he improved on his Sri Lanka record of 3:40.78.

Wijekoon was selected as a wildcard entrant for the world event by virtue of his Asian Championship performance last month. Wijekoon won the bronze medal at the Asian Athletics Championship in a time of 3:44.01 seconds in Kobe, Japan.

According to Saman Kumara, the statistician of the Sri Lanka Athletics Association and the manager of the Sri Lanka team in Daegu, it is the first time the country fielded an athlete in the 1,500 metres.

Before his departure to Daegu, Wijekoon told ‘The Island’ that his main aim was to secure a place in the semi-finals. Wijekoon will compete in the semi-finals tomorrow (Sep 1). (RF)

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