Matthew rules the pool in an otherwise dominant Indian display
By Namal Pathirage reporting from Guwahati, India  Published : 2:08 am  February 11, 2016 | 3 comments | Print This Post  | 0 views

Swimming sensation Matthew Abeysinghe erased a 24-year record held by legendary Julian Bolling yesterday at the 12th South Asian Games held in Guwahati, India.

Abeysinghe collected two more gold medals to take his tally to seven gold medals for the games.

Abeysinghe’s effort also equaled the seven-gold blitz by Dipika Chanmugam in the 1991 games in Colombo.

Prior to Abeysinghe’s effort Bolling had won five gold medals at the 1991 SAF Games. With these swimming events coming to an end yesterday, Sri Lanka collected another seven gold medals in the pool.

In all, Sri Lanka won 12 gold medals, 16 silver and 11 bronze from the swimming events.

Hosts India won 18 of the 38 gold medals on offer for swimming.

Although Kimiko Raheem won two gold medals yesterday, one of the wins was cancelled giving her Indian compatriot the gold medal.

The disqualification was in the women’s 100m medley event. It is interesting to note that all of Sri Lanka’s gold medals in swimming were won by Abeysinghe and Raheem.

The two gold medals for Abeysinghe came in the 200m IM event, where he clocked in at 2:09.23secs with a new SAG record and the 100m freestyle event with a timing 52.01secs. Meanwhile, Raheem won her fifth gold medal in 100m freestyle event with a timing of 58.2sec.

At the end of yesterday’s events Sri Lanka had collected 24 gold medals to continue to occupy the second slot in the medals table.

Incidentally, Abeysinghe’s coach is his father Manoj Abeysinghe, himself an experienced swimming coach, according to whom Matthew’s next aim would be to win gold medals at the Asian Swimming Championships.

Meanwhile, both men’s and women’s 4X100m relay teams won gold yesterday. Sri Lanka also collected another two gold medals in athletics. However javelin thrower Sumedha Ranasinghe who has already qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio was a shattered man ending up with a silver medal with a distance of 80.25m. The event was won by Indian Neeraj Chopr who threw a distance of 82.23m.

Although Himasha Eshan, Suranjana de Silva, Mohammed Ashraff and Shehan Ambepitiya managed to pocket the gold, their timing was not sufficient for Olympic qualification. The minimum Olympic qualification timing stands at 38.9secs.

Sri Lankan women stunned India to grab gold in the 4X100m relay with a timing of 45.5secs. The victorious quartet comprised

Lakshika Suganthi, Rumeshika Ratnayake, Chamali Priyadharshani and Shamila Lakshika.

Sri Lankan Ishara Sandaruwan cleared a height of 4.90m to win the men’s pole vault event. This was his first international gold medal.

Indunil Herath with a timing of 1:51.43secs won the mens 400m event.

Reigning 400m womens champion Subashini Rasnayake was pushed to the second position by Indian athlete MR Poovamma. Rasnayake clocked a time of 54.4secs.


3 Responses to “Matthew rules the pool in an otherwise dominant Indian display”

  1. NIMAL Sarathchandra
    on February 11th, 2016 8:40 am

    18 year old athlete Rumeshika Ratnayake is the best up and coming athlete to emerge since SUSANTHIKA JAYASINGHE. PLEASE do not waste her talent and put her to the athletic dustbin of srilanka. She has no one in Srilanka to give Her competition in the 100 and 200 meters. Yesterday in the SAG games her timing for the 100 meters was 11.71 sec (heats 11.6 sec). In the last Asian games her timing was 11.56 sec. The winners timing was 11.23 sec. To get a medal in the next Asian games she will have to improve her timing. To do this she must train, for example, in USA or EUROPE and run against top athletes in asia and Europe. Somebody should sponsor her and give her a sports Scholarship. Unfortunately this will never happen. As a solution may I suggest that she train with the top male 100 and 200 meter athletes in
    Srilanka. For example Rumeshikas best timing in the 100 meters is
    11.56 seconds. The male athletes run 100 meters at around 10.80 seconds. Hence she will definitely improve her timing if she train with the boys under a good coach.

    on February 11th, 2016 8:43 am

    It is a great achievement by our contingent It is also a great pity that our press
    and TV are not properly highlighting these events . We have to look hard to find out what is happening in these games
    Time the press and TV wake up and give prominence to Srilankan achievements and encourage our youngsters to take up sports

  3. ajith abeygunawardena
    on February 11th, 2016 12:36 pm

    It is indeed an excellent performance by the talented Sri Lankan swimmers and other athletes to bring glory to our country at the SAF games.To compete with populous nations such as India,Pakistan & Bangladesh, the small islanders have done really well to be placed second in the overall medals tally.The performance also indicates that the players had the freedom to showcase their prowess on the field of play unlike in the past where politics played a major part even in the selection of teams which prevented talented players from participating at major events around the world.Obviously the Ministry of Sports,All Associations & Coaches have played a major part in this re-building process to ensure that all teams perform to their potential which augurs well for the future.

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