Commonwealth Youth Games triple gold medallist Shehan Ambepitiya will lead Sri Lanka s challenge at the 12th IAAF World Championships which is due to begin in Berlin, Germany on Saturday.
Ticket sales for the nine-day competition have gone up as athletic fans across the globe showing a keen interest to witness the cream of world class athletes in action. The IAAF announced today that the ticket sales have exceeded 300,000 mark as the Germans too showed a keen interest to cheer for the host team.
In the absence of seasoned elite athletes such as Susanthika Jayasinghe, Damayanthi Darsha and Sugath Tillakaratne, who have now hung their spikes, 19-year-old Ambepitiya will be Sri Lanka s best bet for the World Championship.
It was only October last year that the Gateway International School student came to the limelight, winning a hat trick of gold medals in men s 100m, 200m and 400m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune. Ever since, he has blossomed to be one of the most promising future prospects.
Ambepitiya, who has been training hard under veteran coach and former Asian Games gold medallist Sunil Gunawardena, will represent Sri Lanka in men s 100m which would determine the fastest man on earth. Young Ambepitiya is bound to face a huge challenge at the showpiece of the week-long championship.
Besides Ambepitiya, the only other Lankan athlete to be seen in action will be sprinter Chandrika Subhashini, who has been an outstanding product from Madampe. She will be competing in women s 400m, an event in which Sri Lanka has won international glory through Damayanthi Darsha.
Darsha, who initially competed in women s 100m and 200m later switched on to women s 200m and went on to win back to back Asian Games gold medals in Bangkok 1998 and Busan 2002.
Hence, Subhashini s presence in women s 400m will give some sort of hope for Lankan fans in future international assignments. 22-year-old Subhashini is a product of Senanayake Central College, Madampe and has shown encouraging performances at school and national level.
The duo had a rare opportunity to fly to Berlin two weeks ahead of the world track and field extravaganza along with their coach Gunawardena. The two Lankan athletes have been shaping well, gradually familiarising with local weather conditions.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka athletic officials - AASL President Major General Palitha Fernando and Secretary General Prema Pinnawela arrived in Berlin to attend the 47th IAAF Congress which began in the German capital yesterday.
The IAAF Council met yesterday in the Intercontinental Hotel, Berlin, the IAAF HQ for the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics. IAAF President Lamine Diack made the official opening address of the one-day meeting.
General Secretary Pierre Weiss, and Honorary Treasurer, Jean Poczobut, delivered their reports. The Cross Country Committee (following its meeting on 29 March 2009 in Amman, Jordan) and the Masters Committee (following its meeting on 25 April 2009 in Monte Carlo, Monaco) presented reports. The final Progress Report from the Organising Committee of the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Berlin, Germany was made, with news that ticket sales have now exceeded 300,000 for the nine days of competition.
With less than two weeks to go for the women s marathon at the 12th IAAF World Championships, Ethiopian long distance runner Dire Tune greets is gearing up for a memorable performance.
I have been involved with the national team for the last four or five years and never have I seen such a healthy atmosphere in the team.
The spirit has been fantastic and we can achieve big things in Berlin, she was quoted as saying.
The 24-year old has so far represented Ethiopia in two World championships (Helsinki and Osaka) and one Olympic Games (Beijing), but failed to even finish in the top 10 of all three races.
South Asian sporting heavyweight India will field a six-member team for the Berlin World Championship.
The Indian selection committee has chosen not to consider the case of the women s 4x400m relay team and several other athletes who had attained IAAF qualifying standards since they were out of form this season.
Those also dropped from the original list of qualifiers included triple jumper Amarjeet Singh, javelin thrower Anil Kumar Singh and women s 400m runner Mandeep Kaur and discus thrower Harwant Kaur.
Discus thrower Vikas Gowda and woman distance runner Preeja Sreedharan, both of whom were in the qualified list, are recovering from injuries. The Indian team to Berlin comprise of (men) Surendra Kumar Singh (10,000m), Joseph Abraham (400m Hurdles), Babubhai Panocha (20km Race Walk), (women) Krishna Poonia and Seema Antil (Discus Throw) and Susmita Singha Roy (Heptathlon).