Sangathy
Sports

Isuru sprints to record as Lyceum, Ratnayake win titles

Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships

by Reemus Fernando

Sprinter Isuru Kaushalya Bans of Ananda Sastralaya, Matugama produced a stunning 46.96 seconds finish to win the Under 20 boys’ 400 metres and the best athlete title in the boys’ category as the Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships came to a close with Lyceum International, Wattala and Ratnayake Central Walala winning the boys’ and girls’ titles respectively at Diyagama on Friday.

Lyceum became the first International school in history to win the title of this meet which was once called the public schools championships. In the girls’ category Ratnayake Central were helped by their Under 20 girls’ to retain the title as they won points in relays and long-distance events. They capped the four-day event with their star athlete Tharushi Karunaratne running the anchor leg of the 4×400 metres to establish a new record (3:57.86secs).

Isuru Kaushalya’s performance fetched him the highest points in the World Athletics points table to be crowned the best athlete of the meet. The athlete trained by Dhanushka Rajitha Munasinghe came almost close to matching his personal best as he become the only athlete to have run 400 metres under 47 seconds at these championships. He shattered Ratnayake Central athlete Manoj Pushpakumara’s long-standing 400 metres record which had stood unchanged since 2003.

Hurdler Dhanuka Dharshana who is the fastest in the Under 20 category over that distance this year finished third with a time of 49.30 seconds while Sithum Jayasundara, who had almost quit athletics after being dumped from the World Junior Championships team made a return to win the second place with a time of 48.35 seconds.

The Under 18 boys’ 400 metres final witnessed Salamuthu Jayathilaka (48.49 secs) of Thurstan and Theminda Rajapaksha (48.57) of Sir John Kothalawala College, Kurunegala sharing the gold and silver respectively and reaching qualifying standards for the Asian Youth Athletics Championships to be held in October.

In field events, Razwin Carrim of Lyceum International, Panadura and Oshini Kodikara of St. Lawrence’s Convent, Wellawatta established new meet records.

Carrim created a new record in the Under 18 boys’ long jump. He cleared 7.20 metres to erase Richmond athlete Isuru Malinda’s 2016 record. Kodikara won the Under 16 girls’ triple jump with a new meet record distance of 11.64 metres yesterday. It was her second gold medal after having won the long jump earlier. In the 100 metres she was placed fourth.

The four-day event’s most promising performance in the girls’ category was produced by long jumper Nethmika Madushani Herath of Nannapurawa MV on day three. She cleared 6.09 metres, the best long jump performance by a Sri Lankan junior athlete in history. Her record-breaking mark will also be the new national junior record.  The premier athletics championship of the Sri Lanka Schools Athletics Association saw history’s highest participation as the event was held after a lapse of two years. However, the big numbers also resulted in delays in completing events during the first three days.

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