Olympian sprinter Yupun Abeykoon dazzled in Switzerland, becoming the first South Asian sprinter to clock under 10 seconds in the 100m, as he clocked 9.96 seconds and set a new South Asian Record.
Competing in the Resisprint International the Italy based sprinter won the 100m final beating Cuban Mena Reynier (9.96) and France’s Meba Michael (10.00). 6 out of the 8 athletes clocked their personal best.
Abeykoon had earlier run 10.04 seconds, the fastest 100m time under any condition, when he ran a wind aided race last May, which has now been broken.
Abeykoon (28) has had a dream run in the last two years. He has improved tremendously in the 100m and becomes the first South Asian sprinter to qualify for the Olympic Games. He then became the first Sri Lankan sprinter to compete in the prestigious Diamond League.
Trained under coach Claudio Liccardello, Yupun became the first South Asian sprinter to qualify for the World Athletics Championship. He is ranked 37th in the Road to World Championship list where the top 56 sprinters are selected.
Earlier in May he set records in the 100m (now broken) and 200m in South Asia.
On 25 May, just three days after his South Asian record in the 200m, Yupun dazzled in Germany when he clocked a sizzling 10.06 seconds (running against -0.2 wind).
Hailing from Dankotuwa, he schooled at Pannala National School then St. Joseph Vaz College Wennappuwa.
Yupun did all this with very little help from Sri Lanka. He covered almost all his funding living and training in Italy but running under the Sri Lanka flag. Ironically, despite being the best Sri Lankan athlete in the world right now, he was not included in the IOC Solidarity Scholarship Programme from Sri Lanka, whereas five others were selected.
Despite rising to the top of the world ranking, Abeykoon still finds it financially difficult to manage his expenses.