Bagful of medals for Sri Lankan athletes | Sunday Observer

Bagful of medals for Sri Lankan athletes

23 July, 2023
The athletes on arrival: Gayanthika Abeyratne (800m, 1500m women), Sarangi Silva (Long Jump Women), Dilhani Lekamge (Javelin Women), Nadeesha Ramanayake (400m, 4x400m Women & Mixed Relay), Tharushi Karunaratne (800m, 4x400m Women & Mixed Relay), Randhi Cooray (Triple Jump Women), Harshani Fernando (4x400m Women & Mixed Relay), Lakshima Mendis (4x400m Women & Mixed Relay), HK Kalinga Kumara (4x400m Men & Mixed Relay), Rajitha Rajakaruna (400m, 4x400m Men & Mixed Relay), Pasindu Kodikra (4x400m Men & Mixed Relay), S. Aruna Dharshana (400m, 4x400m Men & Mixed Relay), Pabasara Nikku (4x400m Men & Mixed Relay)

Performances by the Sri Lankan athletes at the Asian Athletic Championships held in Thailand will stay in the minds of all Sri Lankans for a long time to come. This has been their best campaign so far and returned with three gold medals, two silver and three bronze medals and the country finished fourth in the medals table like never before.

They also established two Asian Championship records in the women’s 800 metres and the men’s 4x400 metres relay event. This is a very rare achievement by Sri Lankan athletes who are now raving to improve on the standards in the future.

The first gold medal was won by Tharushi Karunaratne in the 800 metre event for women. The 18-year-old is the current Asian Junior Champion and was the Asian leader in both junior and senior categories. She clocked 2m 00.67 seconds to be the top in Asia in the 800m event and established a new Championship record.

The other gold medals were won by Nadeesha Ramanayake in the 400m for women and the men’s 4x400m relay team who also established a new championship record.

The men’s relay team comprised Kalinga Kumarage, S. Aruna Dharshana, Pabasara Niku and Rajitha Rajakaruna.

The two Silver medals were won in the two 4x400 relay events. The mixed relay team comprised Kalinga Kumarage, Aruna Darshana, Tharushi Karunaratne and Nadeesha Ramanayake.

The women’s relay team comprised Tharushi Karunaratne, Nadeesha Ramanayake, Lakshima Mendis and Harshani Fernando.

Gayanthika Abeyrathne won the first medal for Sri Lanka on day one of the championship. She finished the 1500m third and her second bronze medal was in the 800m race.

The third bronze was won by Dilhani Lekamge in the javelin throw for women. She also established a new Sri Lanka record.

At 36 years Gayanthika Abeyratne is the oldest international athlete to have won medals at Asian and higher levels. She has now won three medals in a row in the 800m. She won a silver medal in 2017, bronze in 2019 and another in this event.

In all, eleven out of the 13 athletes who went to Bangkok won medals for Sri Lanka.

Championships records that were established are:

Two Asian Championships record (women 800, men 4x400)

Five Sri Lanka records (women 800, women and men 4x400/ mixed relay/women javelin throw)

One South Asian Junior Record

One National Junior record (800 women)

Two Asian leaders (women 800m and men 4x400m)