Bandara has potential to reach greater heights
if proper training is provided - Siyamudali


by Reemus Fernando


Ajith Bandara, who won the national marathon for the 10th time at Wellawaya on Sunday, has the potential to reach greater heights if he is given specific event centered training, according to experts.

Experts say Bandara’s notable performance at the National Marathon at Wellawaya was a result of his shear experience rather than the result of a systematic training. "It was through shear experience that he could win it for the 10th time and could produce that time. He has greater potential. He can reach greater heights if he is given specific event centered training," says reputed athletic coach Jayantha Siyamudali.

Bandara returned a time of 2:23.09 seconds, a time almost similar to the performance of last year’s champion Ishan Wijethilaka.

"The performances of marathoners has not improved. That’s because we do not have specific marathon centered training here in Sri Lanka. This region doesn’t have such facilities to train long distance athletes. Even India is sending its long distance runners to African countries to train," opined Siyamudali, who has vast experience on training long distance runners and having accompanied athletes for more than 20 IAAF ranked international marathons.

"Bandara has the potential to run at the range of 2.18 to 2.19 hours if he is provided with proper training. He has a few more years before retiring. The country can gain something from him if he is given proper training," Siyamudali said.

"His nutrition, training workouts according to his age and endurance should be taken care of for him to succeed. We can expect such things only at special training centers but they are not available in the country."

"My suggestion for him is to train at high altitude training centers in Africa," said Siyamudali.

Siyamudali who coached the only women athlete to win an Asian Championship medal in a long distance event (Sujeewa Nilmini, silver medal in the 10000 meters in 2003) for Sri Lanka said that female athletes too have the potential to do better. Meanwhile, Siyamudali said that most of the coaches of leading long distance runners are not based where the athletes are training and it was a hindrance. Siyamudali is one of the three IAAF level five athletics coaches in the country.

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