Niluka Rajasekara who created history becoming the first ever woman marathoner to qualify for the Olympic Games as well as for the IAAF World Championship will compete at the IAAF Gold Label, Gold Coast airport marathon in Australia Sunday which will start at 2.50 am SL time.
The Gold Label is the highest qualification awarded by the IAAF and it elevates the Gold Coast Airport Marathon to one of the most prestigious marathons in the world, alongside races such as the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, Tokyo Marathon, Berlin Marathon, London Marathon and Chicago Marathon.
It will also mark the appearance for the first time in history of a Sri Lankan marathoner being invited as an elite runner for an A grade marathon in the world.
This year organizers expect 3000 foreign athletes and a total 30000 athletes to compete in the event.
“Niluka who had a good run earlier this year is targeting to run below 2 hours, 45 minutes which will qualify her to next month’s IAAF World Championship in London.
Niluka thanked Queensland event management and Volare Sports for giving her this opportunity.
Niluka who excelled in middle distance running was able to go below SL record at first shot in the 42.195km distance at the LSR Colombo marathon in 2014. She then further improved the record at the Asian Marathon Championship running 2 hours and 40 minutes and 07 seconds in 2015 which gave her qualification for the IAAF World Championship as well as Rio Olympic Games.
Since then Niluka did not have a good timing where her performance at World Championship and Olympics was not up there as expected. Niluka had come up nicely running 2 hours 47.26 seconds in Netherlands earlier this year under extreme cold conditions of 3-4 degrees.