Sri Lanka set to field five athletes for Kazakhstan Meet | Daily News

Sri Lanka set to field five athletes for Kazakhstan Meet

Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) is planning to send a five-member team to take part in the 31st Qosinar Memorial International Invitation Athletics Championship in Kazakhstan on June 19 and 20.

The Sri Lankan athletes are scheduled to leave on June 16 for this meet.

“As no athlete has achieved the qualifying standards for the Tokyo Olympics, this is the best option for the Sri Lankan athletes to obtain points,” a senior official of SLA told the Daily News yesterday.

“Six athletes are within striking distance of the Olympic rankings. But Nilani Ratnayake is not selected for this tour as the 3,000m steeplechase event is not included for this meet.”

“Ratnayake is almost in the qualification standard and is ranked 34 in her event and we think she can make it to the Olympics with her performances,” the senior official added.

“The present pandemic situation has made it difficult for the Lankan athletes to take part in International meets.”

This event is a World Athletics Bronze Level competition which gives a bonus of 60 points for first place as a placing score, which is vital when it comes to calculating world rankings.

“The Sports Ministry has given the greenlight for the tour,” the senior official added.

Sumedha Ranasinghe (javelin throw), Ushan Thiwanka (high jump), Nimali Liyanarachchi (800m), Dilshi Kumarasinghe (800m), Nadeesha Ramanayake (400m), and Kalinga Kumarage (400m) are the selected athletes for this tour.

However, Kumarasinghe, who suffered an injury at the national championships, has already withdrawn from this tour. Kumarage, who was provisionally suspended due to anti-doping violation and was cleared following a lengthy legal battle, is not in the ‘Road to Tokyo’ list.

Meanwhile, Thiwanka is supposed to come from the US to Kazakhstan, but his presence is uncertain. Thiwanka has informed SLA that he is having events in the US and Canada at the same time. Yupun Abeykookn, who is based in Italy, is also very close to reaching the qualifying standard of 10.05s. “After finalising these athletes, we have to submit the names to the National Sports Council and get their approval and that is the system.”

The current performances of the athletes (Road to Olympics):

Nimali Liyanarachchi: (800m) - 54th in the list with 48 qualifying for the Olympics and is just 10 points behind to mark.

Nadeesha Ramanayaka (400m) - 55th in the list and is 21 points behind the mark.

Ushan Thiwanka (high jump) - 49th in the list and is 33 points behind the mark.

Sumedha Ranasinghe (javelin throw) - 43rd in the list and is 26 points behind the mark.

Yupun Abeykoon (100m) - 58th in the ‘Road to Olympics’ list and is two places and one point behind the quota of 56 athletes.

Nilani Ratnayake (3,000m steeplechase) - is already within qualification in 34th place out of 48 athletes.