SL to Send 4x100m Women’s Team to India
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) has included a women’s 4x100m relay team, apart from ten individual athletes, to compete at the 66th National Interstate Athletics Championship in India, to be held from 25 to 29 June in Patiala.
Just as during previous Olympic years, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has organized this Championship to give athletes a last chance to qualify for the Olympics, and made a special request to SLA to send the women›s 4x100m relay team, as India’s 4x100m team is on the verge of qualifying for the Olympics.
Team includes all five athletes who will tour Kazakhstan on 19 and 20 June namely Ushan Thiwanka , Kalinga Kumarage , Nadeesha Ramanayaka Sumedha Ranasinghe , Nimali Liyanarachchi, and additionally Himasha Eashan, Aruna Darshana, Nilani Rathnayaka, Nadeeka Lakmali, and Waruna Dayarathne, who are next best in the Road to Tokyo Rankings. Yupun Abeykoon, the Italy based sprinter who competed at Rome Diamond League last night, has not confirmed his availability.
This will mark the first time in many years that the 4x100m women relay team will participate in an overseas competition, apart from South Asian Games in 2016 and 2019. Team comprises the first five athletes at the last National Athletics Championship, of which four are below 21 years. SLA will now face a logistical nightmare to send the team across and return safely, with the present situation in India. There are no flights leaving to India from Sri Lanka presently, and SLA will have to find alternate routes.
Also, athletes’ willingness to travel to India will come into the equation, and SLA officials said if someone withdraws from the team, they will be compelled to select the next in line. Lack of competition was a major blow for the athletes, as a number of them were just few points away from world ranking positions for Olympic qualification, but did not have the opportunity to compete in higher ranked competitions due to COVID19.
Apart from Sri Lanka, AFI has invited athletes from Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Kazakhstan for the competition. Individual Team: Sumedha Ranasinghe (Javelin Throw), Waruna Lakshan Dayarathne (Javelin Throw), Nadeeka Lakmali (Javelin Throw), Ushan Thiwanka Perera (High Jump), Kalinga Kumarage (400m), Aruna Darshana (400m), Nadeesha Ramanayaka (400m), Nimali Liyanarachchi (800m), Yupun Abeykoon (100M – subject to confirmation), Himasha Eashan (100m), Nilani Rathnayaka (3000m St. Ch) 4x100 Relay Team: Amasha de Silva, Shelinda Jansen, Medhani Jayamanne, Safiya Yamic, Lakshika Sugandhi