Anuradha Cooray - only marathon runner to represent Sri Lanka at three Olympics | Daily News
Sri Lankan Olympic stars of yesteryear :

Anuradha Cooray - only marathon runner to represent Sri Lanka at three Olympics

Anuradha Indrajith Cooray
Anuradha Indrajith Cooray

Marathon runner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray had the honour of representing the country at three Olympic Games in 2004 (Athens), 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro) respectively.

He was born on March 24, 1978 in Divulapitiya and was educated at Mellawagedera Maha Vidyalaya and at Divulapitiya MMV. After leaving school, he took to athletics while competing in the 5,000m and returned a time of 14.36.8s in 1998 and clocked 30.22.10s in the 10,000m event.

Later, he switched to marathon events, 10km road races, mini-marathon events and had a great amount of success at domestic level. Cooray first came into the limelight when he secured the second place in

the 10,000m event at the 1999 South Asian Games in Kathmandu, Nepal where he returned a time of 30.57.23s

Two years later, he went on to bag his first international Gold Medal when he came first at the 2001 Asian Cross-Country Meet held in Kathmandu, Nepal. Thereafter, he built up a reputation as Sri Lanka’s best long distance runner and he further underlined his supremacy by winning the Gold Medal at the 2004 South Asian Games held in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Cooray turned out to be one of Sri Lanka’s best medal prospects at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games but he had to be content with the 30th place with a time of 2.19.24s.

However, he continued to dominate the local events and returned a time of 65.35s at the 2005 Mini-Marathon in Colombo. Cooray also had the satisfaction of representing the country at the 2012 London Olympic Games where he settled for the 55th place with a time of 2.20.41s.

After that setback, he recovered and came back strongly with an improved performance to secure sixth place at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea with a time of 2.15.51s. Cooray then continued his dominance in the South Asian region by winning the Gold Medal at the 2016 Games held in Guwahati and Shillong, India. Thereafter, he clocked 64.45s in the mini-marathon and 2.13.47s in the marathon to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

As a result, he had the distinction of becoming the only athlete to represent the country in the marathon at three Olympic Games. He is currently employed in England and had the opportunity of participating in the popular Bristol Marathon and London Marathon events. (C.D)


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