Olympian Yupun Abeykoon clocked 10.06 seconds as he eased to victory in his 100m heats and advanced to the semi-finals as the fastest out of all 10 heats at the Commonwealth Games 2022 continued in Birmingham yesterday.
Abeykoon, South Asia’s fastest man with a personal best of 9.96 seconds, is one of the few sub 10 runners at the Commonwealth Games. His semi-final will be held today at 11.40 p.m. with the final set to be held at 2.00 a.m. tomorrow early morning.
At the beginning of the year, Abeykoon had set himself a target of qualifying for the finals at the Commonwealth Games, and now he has a real chance of a medal here in Birmingham.
“Happy about the timing today. I feel I’m in a good rhythm. Hoping for a better show tomorrow (today),” said Abeykoon after his heat.
Meanwhile, middle distance runner Gayanthika Abeyrathne was unfortunate to miss out from a spot in the final despite clocking a new Sri Lanka record of 2 minutes 01.20 seconds. She finished 5th in the second 800m heat. She erased her own record of 2:01.44 seconds set early this year.
Apart from the 100m, the Men’s 400m heats will be held at 4.50 p.m. today, where Kalinga Kumarage is set to compete.
Two Sri Lankan pugilists Rukmal Prasanna and Sajeewani Cooray managed to keep their dreams alive at the Games winning their respective bouts yesterday to qualify for the quarter-finals.
In Men’s Over 51kg-54kg (Bantamweight) Prasanna defeated Kenyan Shaffi Bakari Hassan 2-1 to reach the next round. In the Women’s Over 54kg-57kg (Featherweight) Cooray outclassed Pakistan’s Mehreen by 5 points to nil to reach the quarters.
On Monday, another sporting event in which Sri Lanka earned medals in previous events failed to keep their momentum alive, after boxers Ishan Bandara and Jeewantha Kumara ended their campaign losing their bouts in round 16.
Bronze medalist at the 2018 games, Ishan Bandara in the Men’s Flyweight (Over 48kg-51kg) round of 16 was beaten by host country boxer Kiaran Macdonald, while Jeewantha Kumara who competed in the Men’s Featherweight (Over 54kg- 57kg) lost to Kevin Allicock of Guyana.
Bandara commenced the fight well against his counterpart Macdonald, but his opponent – European Boxing 2022 silver medalist – managed to dominate the bout with an easy win via unanimous decision.
Two Sri Lankans missing from CWG Contingent
Two Sri Lankans from the contingent at the 22nd Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England were reported missing on Tuesday.
Initial reports stated that a female judoka , Chamila Dilani and the Manager of the Judo Team, Asela de Silva, had disappeared from the Sri Lankan camp soon after her first-round loss on Monday. Manager left the village on Sunday, judoka Chamila the following day after completing her event.
All Sri Lankan athletes and officials have been granted a six months Visa to the United Kingdom for the Commonwealth Games.
The Sri Lankan Team Management have immediately informed the relevant authorities about their disappearance, and the Birmingham Metropolitan Police have started a special inquiry into the incident. As a result, the Chef-de-Mission of the Sri Lankan contingent Maj. Gen (retired) Dampath Fernando, said that he has decided to acquire all passports of the Sri Lankan contingent to avoid further disappearances.
“It was a black mark for Sri Lanka and I never expected manager Asela to do that kind of dirty thing. The Manager is supposed to be an example for others and he has done the other way around,” said Fernando.
Manager de Silva is the incumbent president of the Sri Lanka judo association and all passports were kept with him for safety purposes. The Manager had taken away his passport and left Chamila’s passport and gone.
However , Chamila later texted her team members and apologized for what she did.
By Asanka Gammanpila in Birmingham