Sri Lanka ends final day with silver in 400M relay
The 15th Asian Junior Athletics Championships, which concluded yesterday at the Sugathadasa Stadium, saw hosts Sri Lanka end the day by winning a silver medal in the penultimate race – the 4 x 400m women’s relay.
Sri Lanka finished with a tally of six medals, comprising of two golds, two silver and two bronze medals. This incidentally is the best achievement by a Sri Lankan contingent in the history of the Asian Junior Athletics Championship. The previous best was the two golds and two silver medals which they won in the fifth edition of the championship in 1994 when it was held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
From the 14 finals that were scheduled to be held on the final day, hosts Sri Lanka had competitors in 11 of the finals but were able to achieve only one silver medal. Sri Lanka team captain Shivanthi Ratnayake who took the final lap of the 400m relay along with Subodini Kumari, Nadeeshani Henderson and Pavithra Hansini ensured the silver medal for the home team amidst the loud cheering from home supporters.
Meanwhile China’s Teng Haining had the honour of establishing the sixth record of the championship when he set a new time of 1:46.56secs in the men’s 800m which erased the record of 1:47.17secs set by Ali Adam Abdu Adam of Qatar in 2002 when it was held in Bangkok, Thailand.
China having dominated the proceedings from day one came out on top winning 23 medals comprising of 15 golds, five silvers and three bronze. Taipei who had a rich reap on the final day ended in second place with six gold, three silvers and six bronze medals followed by India and Thailand.
Sri Lanka with their six medals ended in a fair seventh position, ahead of prominent nations in the likes of Saudi Arabia, who had some top notch athletes, Iran and Kazakhastan amongst other countries.
Sri Lanka’s gold medals came in the 400m through team captain Shivanthi Ratnayake and Dulaj Madusanka with the two silver medals coming from Nimesha Siriwardena in the high jump event and the 4 x 400 relay team, with the bronze medals from Viraj Randeniya in men’s 110m hurdles and Chamika Jayamini in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase event.
By M Shamil Amith