Maduranga, Dulakshi establish new records

Disappointments galore as none qualify for Olympics

by Reemus Fernando

New national records by Sachith Maduranga and Eranga Dulakshi and an impressive run in the women’s 800 metres by Champika Dilrukshi were the consolations, as the second leg of the National Athletics League concluded, with no athlete reaching standards for the London Olympics, in what turned out to be the final qualifying meet for the locals at the Sugathadasa Stadium, on Friday.

Athens Olympics participant Manjula Kumara’s failure to reach qualifying standards in the men’s high jump was probably the biggest disappointment of the day. After clearing the 2.20 metre mark, Manjula failed, when the bar was raised to 2.25 metres (‘B’ grade qualifying mark is 2.28 metres), to the disappointment of many an enthusiast and athlete who had remained there hoping for a record breaking performance.

On a day that disappointed many, Maduranga, Dulakshi and Dilrukshi provided hope for the future.

While Maduranga and Dulakshi improved on their national records in the men’s javelin and women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase respectively, Dilrukshi, who established a new record on the first day (women’s 1,500 metres), clocked 2 minutes and 05.02 seconds to win the women’s 800 metres. Incidentally, her performance was just 4 seconds behind the Olympic qualifying mark.

For Maduranga, it was his first meet on home soil after returning from training in Finland. Despite complaining of a back injury, he improved on his national record twice, on Friday. Maduranga cleared a distance of 77.51 metres and 77.80 metres in his third and fifth attempts respectively, to improve on his previous mark of 77.29 metres.

Dulakshi slashed four seconds off her previous national mark when she clocked 10 minutes and 24.55 seconds to win the women’s 3,000 metres steeplechase.

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