Gymnast Milka Qualifies for Tokyo Olympics
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Sri Lanka’s artistic gymnast Milka Gehani de Silva became the second Sri Lankan to secure 2021 Tokyo Olympic Qualification after show jumper Mathilda Karlsson, The Olympic Website states. Milka secured her slot as number one in Asian Continental Quota ahead of India’s Pranati Nayak, the Olympic official website, Olympics.
Com states. “Nayak, thus, became the second reserve - behind Elpitiya Badalge Dona Milka Gehani of Sri Lanka - to secure the quota from Asia after the 9th Senior Asian Championships, slated to run from 29 May-1 June in Hangzhou, was called off due to COVID-19 pandemic,” said the website. The FIG (International Gymnastics Federation), however, is likely to confirm the Olympic berth only in June.
The 18-year-old hailing from Piliyandala trained under former National Champion turned coach Ranjana Tharanga, and showed glimpses of what she would go on to become at a young age. She first schooled at Piliyandala Somaweera Chandrasiri College and then shifted to Piliyandala Central College before entering Methodist College Colombo 3. She then received an IOC-funded scholarship in 2019 to train in Japan to pursue her dream, where she now trains.
She has represented Sri Lanka at several international competitions, and so far, proved she is the best in the business. She was Junior National Champion from 2011 (when she was only 8-years-old) to 2014, then finished 6th in the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2016. She was National Champion in 2017 and 2018. She then finished within the top 8 at the Asian Championship in Indonesia in 2018, becoming the first Sri Lankan to achieve the feat. She also represented Sri Lanka at the Youth Olympic Games 2018, setting an Area record.