Yupun wins Bronze in Switzerland
A week after his record breaking 100m run in 10.16 seconds, Yupun Abeykoon ran another sizzling 100m to clock 10.24 seconds in the 2020 Gala dei Castelli, World Athletics Bronze Level Series Meet in Switzerland to finish third last night.
Defending Commonwealth Games champion Akani Simbini from South Africa won the event clocking 10.02 seconds, while World junior Silver medalist Tortu Filippo from Italy finished second in 10.07 seconds. Apart from these two, the race saw former European Champion Martina Churandy from Netherland, Hartmann Joshua from Germany and Kemp Demek of USA in the finals.
The 25-year-old hailing from Pannala stunned the arena in Dessau last week (8th) when he beat German Champion Denis Almas to win the 100m to shatter the record of 10.22 seconds set by Himasha Eashan in 2019 during the first National trials, where he became an overnight sensation with congratulatory messages from every corner of the island.
The youngster who is attached to the Electronic and Mechanical Engineering (SLEME) Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army, left the island in 2015 to Italy on a scholarship for further training at Fiammegialle Sports Centre, Rome, Italy and has been shining there through the years, though injury occasionally hampered his progress.
A National record from Yupun was a long time coming, as he has been in sublime form throughout the last few years. Due to changes in the training schedule (Sri Lanka and Italy) he missed out on participating in many National level trials, which resulted in the doors being closed for him to represent Sri Lanka at major international events until last year.
Also, winter in Italy always clashed with the Sri Lankan trials schedule, which falls early in the year from January to March. International events such as the Commonwealth Games and Asian Championship are usually scheduled in April and May, the time when Yupun is just coming to competition standards in Italy following a long winter and indoor season.
Yupun now trains under coaches Raparelli and Licciardello. In Sri Lanka he trained under coach Subadra and Dinesh Bandara when he was studying at Pannala National College, and then under Chaminda Sampath after he changed schools for A/L (St. Joseph Vaz College Wennappuwa) until he left for Italy in 2015.
Yupun represented Sri Lanka at the South Asian Junior Championship in 2013 held in Ranchi, and won a Bronze medal with the 4x100m relay team at the World Military Games in 2015. Since then he only represented Sri Lanka last year when he anchored the 4x100m relay team to win the Gold medal at the South Asian Games.
Yupun was fortunate to be stuck at his training centre during the Covid-19 pandemic, where he got the opportunity to continue his training indoors during those months, and was in prime form prior to setting the SL record on the 8th. He ran a wind aided 10.29 seconds on 29 August and followed up with 10.32 seconds on 1 September in Rieti. He then clocked 10.23 seconds in the heats of the Anhalt 2020 and 10.16 seconds in the final last week before jumping into the big league.
His stay in Italy also gives him access to international coaching facilities and regular competition, something which local athletes can only dream of.