SL Athletes arrive in USA

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The Sri Lanka team arrived in the USA yesterday with a day to go for the start of the World Athletics Championship 2022 which commences tomorrow (15) in Eugene.

3000m steeplechase runner Nilani Rathnayaka, 800m runner Gayanthika Abeyrathne and their coach Sajith Jayalalal took wing from Colombo on Monday night, while 100m runner Yupun Abeykoon, his coach Claudio Licciardello and physiotherapist Dr. Matteo Galderisi took wing from Rome on Tuesday afternoon following a visa delay.

Yupun is now ranked 22nd in the world and was selected on World Ranking position, but later achieved direct qualification for the event (10.05 seconds) when he clocked the fastest time by an Asian this year (9.96 seconds) in Switzerland on 3 July.

Nilani, with personal best of 9 minutes 40.24 seconds, placed 37th on the Road to World Championship list, where 45 were selected, while Gayanthika, with personal best of 2 minutes 01.44 seconds, placed 46th where were 48 selected.

Of the trio, Yupun will be the first athlete to compete. His 100m heat is scheduled at 6.50 p.m. on the 15th (7.05 a.m. on 16th local time); Nilani’s heat is scheduled on 17th morning (local time), while Gayanthika will have plenty of rest as her 800m heat is scheduled on 22nd morning.

Amos suspended

Meanwhile, Olympic Silver medalist, Botswana’s Nijel Amos, was provisionally suspended ahead of World Championships after the 2012 Olympics 800 metres silver medalist tested positive for a banned metabolite, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.

Amos was notified of the result while in Eugene, Oregon, where he was scheduled to compete in the 800m heats on 20 July.

The drug found in the 28-year-old’s system, GW1516, ‘modifies how the body metabolizes fat,’ and the World Anti-Doping Agency has said it poses a health risk to athletes, AIU said in a release.

His silver from the London Games was Botswana’s first Olympic medal. The African nation added a bronze in the 4x400m relay at the Tokyo Games last year.

 No visa for African champion

Africa’s fastest man Ferdinand Omanyala is on a mission to put sprinting on the map in Kenya, a country where the long-distance runner is king. The 26-year-old Kenyan is hoping to shine in the 100m at the World Athletics Championships opening this week in Eugene, Oregon.

But he was facing a race against time on Wednesday to obtain a US visa to enable him to get to Oregon for the 100m heats on Friday.

“Sad that I haven’t travelled to Oregon yet and 100m is in 2 days. Visa delays!!” he posted on Instagram.

“We are anxiously waiting for the US Embassy to issue visas for a number of athletes, including Omanyala. Hopefully they will be able to fly out today,” Athletics Kenya executive member Barnabas Korir told Media.

Schedule of SL Athletes (SL Time)

16 – 7.20 a.m. – 100m Heats (Men)

17 – 6.30 a.m. – 100M Semi Final (Men)

17 – 8.20 a.m. – 100m Final (Men)

17 – 23.05 p.m. – 3000m Steeplechase

Heats (Women) 

22 – 5.40 a.m. – 800m Heats (Women)

22 – 8.15 a.m. – 3000m Steeplechase

Final (Women)

22 – 7.05 a.m. – 800m Semi Final

(Women)

25 – 7.05 a.m. – 800m Final (Women)

By Anjana Kaluarachchi