Nilani, Sumedha best Athletes

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Javelin Thrower Sumedha Ranasinghe and 3000 steeple chase runner Nilani Rathnayake were adjudged best male and female athletes after a mix-up of main awards at the 100th National Athletics Championship 2022 concluded at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium Diyagama on Saturday.

Olympian Ranasinghe, who has already secured qualification for both the Asian and Commonwealth Games, threw another seasonal best of 82.18m yesterday to win the event and was adjudged best male athlete for his performance, which yielded 1,132 World Athletics scoring points. 

Nilani Rathnayaka who clocked 9 minutes 40.24 seconds to set a new Sri Lanka record, was adjudged best female athlete. She was also awarded the Governor General’s Cup for best performance at the meet which yielded 1,143 points.

This was after 400m men’s champion Kalinga Kumarage, who clocked 45.88 seconds, was awarded both best male athlete and Governor General’s Cup mistakenly though his performance merited only 1,119 points, lower than the performances of both Ranasinghe and Rathnayaka.  

Nevertheless, Kumarage did win the best sprinter award as he and Darshana were involved in a tight battle for the 400m title before Kumarage edged him out. Darshana led the race before Kumarage took over coming into the final stretch. Darshana closed the gap once again in the last 70m, but Kumarage was able to hold him off. Darshana finished second with a season’s best of 45.90 seconds. Isuru Lakshan clocked 46.71 seconds to finish third while Pabasara Niku finished fourth in 46.95 seconds. The Sri Lanka 4x400m relay team for the Asian Games looks promising after those finals.

In the Women’s 400m finals, former National Champion Nadeesha Ramanayaka finished third, with youngster Tharushi Karunarathne from A. Rathnayaka CC Walala winning the title with a personal best of 53.85 seconds. Tharushi, who is just 18, has already qualified for the World Junior Championship later this year in both the 400m and 800m.

Amasha de Silva won the fastest woman title winning the 100m Gold medal with a time of 11.69 seconds. She also won the best female sprinter title. Rumeshika Rathnayaka finished second in 11.87 seconds while Shelinda Jansen (11.93) and Medhani Jayamanne (11.97) finished third and fourth, showcasing that Sri Lanka Women are ready for the 4x100m relay at the Asian Games.  

Meanwhile, Chamal Kumarasiri leapt 16.40m to set a new meet record in men’s triple jump, where he also booked his seat for the Asian Games.

Chamod Yodasinghe became the fastest man, winning the 100m men’s final with a personal best of 10.50 seconds. 

Rumesh Tharanga from St. Peter’s College Colombo qualified for the World Junior Championship as he threw 69.93m to finish fourth in the men’s Javelin Throw event.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has selected 8 athletes for the Commonwealth Games and 26 athletes for the Asian Games including 4x400m men, 4x400m mix and 4x100m Women relay teams. 

(PIX By Nuwan Amarawansha)

By Anjana Kaluarachchi