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Madushani carries country’s best medal hopes at Asian Youth Athletics Championships

Sri Lanka Youth Athletics Team pose with General Palitha Fernando, president Sri Lanka Athletics.

by Reemus Fernando

Long jumper Madushani Herath from Nannapurawa MV, Bibila will carry the country’s best medal hopes at the Asian Youth Athletics Championships which gets underway in Kuwait today.

An eight-member team comprising of five male and three female athletes will represent Sri Lanka at the  four-day event which is the top international event an athlete in the Under 18 age category can take part in, apart from the quadrennial Asian Youth Games, Youth Olympics and the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Madushani is among the highest-ranked athletes in Asia in her age category. Herath reached her personal best of 6.09 metres at the recently held Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships.

Her record-breaking feat is now the best performance in history by an athlete in the junior category (U20) in Sri Lanka. In Asia this year, it is second only to the 6.13 metres feat of Ion Kondo of Japan.

Nirmali Wickramasinghe from Wickramabahu National School, Gampola is the only track athlete in the girls’ category. She will compete to beat the odds against strong competitors from India, China and Japan. The athletes from these countries have produced the top performances in the 800 metres in Asia this year.

Samudradevi Balika, Nugegoda athlete Sithuli Sadithya too will have a tough ask when she vies for honours in the high jump. She cleared 1.67 metres at the recently held Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships.

In the boys’ category, Thurstan sprinter Salamuthu Jayathilaka and Sir John Kothalawala College, Kurunegala runner Theminda Rajapaksa will be up against strong opponents in the 400 metres. The duo shared the gold and silver at the Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships, which was considered the final selection meet. Jayathilaka won in a time of 48.49 seconds.

Deneth Anuhas from Bodagama M.V., Thanamalwila and Lesandu Arthavidu of D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo are ranked joint fifth in Asia in their age category in the high jump this year for their 2.06 metres performances in September. Korea, Japan and China are expected to field the top four performers in Asia who have all cleared heights varying from 2.09 to 2.23 metres.

Lyceum International, Panadura athlete Razwin Carrim has a best feat of 7.20 metres against his name when he competes in the long jump.

The eight member team are accompanied by Palitha Jayathilaka (Manager), M.G.K. Kumara (Coach) and Imalka Ranaweera (Lady Chaperone).

The event which starts in Kuwait today is the fourth edition of the Championships. It was earlier scheduled for 2021 but was postponed due to the pandemic situation. Sri Lanka has taken part in all past editions. The country has won a total of nine medals (1 gold, 6 silvers and 2 bronzes).

At the last edition held in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka won two silvers and one bronze. St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa sprinter Navishka Sandesh won a silver in the 400 metres while the other silver came in the boys’ medley relay. Amesha Hettiarachchi won the bronze in the girls’ 400 metres hurdles.

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