Sri Lanka athletes Gayanthika Abeyrathne, Indunil Herath and Manjula Kumara Wijesekara produced astonishing feats on the final day of athletics as Sri Lanka finished with one Gold, two Silvers and a Bronze medal at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Art Gamescontinued at Olympic Village in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan earlier today .
Middle distance runner Gayanthika Abeyrathne stunned the crowd sealing the 800m Gold with a time of 2 minutes 05.12 seconds. The Silver medalist of Asian Championship and Asian Grand Prix Gold medalist beat China’s Chang Guiping and Kyrgyzstan’s Arnia Kleshchukova.
Gayanthika is training under Director of the Institute of Sports Science, Sajith Jayalal and this is her first competition in an indoor track. The determined athlete hailing from a difficult area in Sooriyawewa has plenty of experience running in 200m tracks.
Indunil Herath produced a most amazing performance as he clocked 1 minute 49.45 seconds to win the Silver medal in the men’s 800m. The athlete hailing from A.Rathnayake CC Walala couldn’t even clock the same time outdoors at the recently concluded Asian Championship in July, but here he renewed indoor SL record thrice to produce the amazing feat. Herath who earlier trained under Susantha Fernando and Sajith Jayalal, is now training under one of the former SL 800m champions W.Rathnakumara.
“I was aiming for the Gold but couldn’t hold off the Qatari athlete during the last few metres,” said Herath after the race.
Experts argue his performance in the indoor track of 1 minute 49 seconds means he is well set to run even below 1 minutes 47 seconds outdoors now. Hairane Jamal from Qatar won the Gold medal in 1:49.22 seconds, while Moradi Amir of Iran won the Bronze in 1:49.51 sec.
Meanwhile, veteran High Jumper Manjula Kumara Wijesekara proved he is an ageless wonder once again as he sealed the Bronze medal with a leap of 2.21m. The former Olympian and twice Asian Championship Gold medalist Wijesekara took two attempts to clear 2.10m, which gave him as well as the SL team a mini scare, but he soon got into his rhythm to clear 2.21 in his first attempt. The 22 year old then failed to clear 2.24m in three attempts and settled for the Bronze, with Majd Eddin Ghaza of Syria winning the Gold medal (2.26m) and Iran’s Zadeh Ghanbar sealing the Silver (2.26m). Wijesekara also won the Bronze medal at last year’s Asian Indoor Athletics Championship clearing 2.24m, which was a few days after he won the SAG Gold medal in the same year
Earlier Long Jumper Amila Jayasiri produced a Silver medal with a leap of 7.45m and overall SL team of six athletes won four medals for the country, while the other sports are yet to produce a medal. SL athletics team will now leave Turkmenistan immediately as the National Sports Festival is set to start at Matara on Friday and they are hoping to compete in the event.