Jaffna’s vaulting queen Anitha Jagatheeshwaran once again renewed her own SL record in the Pole Vault at the 43rd National Sports Festival started in Matara yesterday.
Anitha who already renewed the SL record less than a month ago at the National Athletics Championship with 3.47m went over 3.48m here before the rain interruption. Downpour for a few minutes halted her progress making the take off area muddy and that affected her performance. She had to settle at the 3.48m mark once again failing to go over the 3.50m mark which Anitha was trying to achieve since last year.
Trained by C. Subashkaran, Anitha had been instrumental in the event during recent years and AASL had even sent her for an international competition making it the first such instant in history where a female pole vaulter was exposed to international competition. Anitha was selected to the University of Sabaragamuwa Sports Management Degree, but gave up the idea at the thought of having to move away from her coach which would have also affected her athletics career.
She is yet to learn the proper technique in pole vault but she still clears these heights just like someone who started vaulting with an ordinary pole. Proper technique would see her jumping greater heights with lesser effort.
Meanwhile distance runner Lionel Samarajeewa completed his seventh consecutive title in the 10000m clocking 31 minutes:14.22 seconds to win the event. Samarajeewa will now aim for the double with the 5000m.
Nilani Ratnayake sealed her third consecutive 5000m title and she will too eye to make it a double with a win in her pet event 3000m steeple chase. Tharika Fernando who set a new SL record in Shot put in last year’s event defended her title with a performance of 14.35m.
Triple jump pit wasn’t ready
Men’s Triple Jump was moved to another area from its designated location which was in front of the main pavilion. Although the Sports Ministry had paid to get the ground ready on time, the run up area of the new triple jump pit was in an unusable condition and officials tried to get it ready by using a roller in the morning but failed.
Sanjaya Jayasinghe once again defended his title with a leap of 15.78m beating Atheetha Karunasinghe while National Record Holder Eranda Fernando finished without a medal.
Gayanthika and Indunil arrived directly from air port
Gold medallist of the Asian Indoor Games Gayanthika Abeyrathne and Indunil Herath arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday after their Turkmenistan heroics and was straight away brought down to Matara to run the 800m heats. The pair ran without having any sleep as they were travelling for hours in two flights to get to Matara. The event was delayed for around 1 and half hours in the morning waiting for them to arrive from the airport. Both of them won their heats comfortably getting ready for today’s finals.
Olympic torch drama
The opening ceremony in the afternoon was attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara with former national athletes Sujith Rohitha and Dammika Menike were set to light the games’ flame. But after going through a lap with the torch they failed to light up the lamp as it was made without considering the length of the torch and it was too tall for them to reach. Officials had to light up a long stick to finally get it lit up.
Athletes go through hell.
As usual athletes had to go through hell to win medals at NSF where they were sleeping on small desks inside school class rooms and were mostly sleepless due to mosquitoes. On Thursday athletes who arrived at the ground for registration had to wait till 9 p.m. as there was only one desk and two officers to do the registering which went on until late night.
As Ceylon Today revealed yesterday Southern Province athletes did not participate in the opening ceremony in protest for removing Southern Province Sports Minister Weerasumana Weerasinghe last week. Only officials participated in the opening ceremony and march past.
10000m: 1. Lionel Samarajeewa (CP) 31:14.22 sec, 2. G.K. Bandara (CP) 31:18.48 sec, 3. A.P. Maduranga (SGP) 31:33.03 sec
Discus Throw: 1. Z.T.M. Aasik (EP) 42.97m, 2. D.B. Ratnayake (CP) 41.68m, 3. Sunanda Niroshana (SP) 41.21m
5000m: 1. Nilani Rathnayaka (SGP) 17:09.6 sec 2. Nilani Ariyadasa (SGP) 17:35.0 sec, 3. Anusha Lamahewa (Uva) 17:50.0 sec
Shot Put: 1. Tharika Fernando (WP) 14:35.m, 2. Nadeeka Muthunayake (CP) 12.19m, 3. PS Klarans (Uva) 11.94m,
Triple Jump: 1. Sanjaya Jayasinghe (SGP) 15.78m, 2. Atheetha Karunasinghe (WP) 15.75m, 3. H.G. Sampath (Uva) 15.51m.
Pole Vault: 1. Anitha Jagatheshwaran (NP) 3.48m, 2. Anoma Karunawansha (EP) 3.10m, 3. S.D. Ranasinghe (WP) 3.00m