With power-packed sprint performances youngsters kept the upward progress of the 400 metres in several age category finals as Kavindi Sanjana, Dulen Kularatne and Rusiru Malshan established new meet records in that distance on day three of the All Island Schools Games Athletics Championship at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Wednesday.
The Asian Junior Athletics Championship record holder Aruna Dharshana and Youth Olympics participant Dinal Bogoda were the only missing stars in respective age category finals. In their absence Asian Junior Athletics Championship (AJAC) silver medallist Pasindu Kodikara grabbed the Under-20 boys’ title with a 47.54 seconds finish, while Rusiru Malshan Silva of St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa established a new record to win the Under-18 boys’ title. Royal College’s Dulen Kularatne also established a new meet record to win the Under-16 boys’ title under 50 seconds.
Kodikara was hardly challenged as he maintained a healthy lead throughout. The AJAC relay gold medalist Pabasara Niku (48.76 secs) was pipped to the third position by St. Benedict’s Supun Nimansa who clocked 48.21 seconds to grab silver in the Under-20 age category final.
Under-18 girls’ 400 metres was dominated by Kavindya Thathsarani of Ambagamuwa MV who clocked 57.83 seconds, few milliseconds shy of her personal best achieved at the same venue last month, to win ahead of Lyceum sprinter Dinusha Dahanayake (58.65 secs) and Holy Cross College, Gampaha athlete Shanika Lakshani (59.03 secs).
President’s College, Nawala sprinter Kavindi Sanjana dazzled in a record breaking sprint finish to win the Under-16 girls’ 400 metres under 57 seconds. She took nearly two seconds off her last year’s record when she stopped the clock at 56.91 seconds. Tharanga Kumari and H.A.A.P. Hettiarachchi settled for the second and third positions, finishing nearly two seconds behind her.
Dulen Kularatne of Royal College was placed fourth at the Sir John Tarbet Athletics Championship last month but returned sub 50 seconds to establish a new record and win the Under-16 boys’ 400 metres title in a photo finish. Kularatne (49.95 secs) and Isuru Kaushalya of Ananda Sastralaya, Matugama (49.96 secs)were separated by just a fraction of a second .
In the Under-18 boys’ 400 metres final, St. Sebastian’s Rusiru Malshan (48.16 secs), Charu Adeepa of Asoka Vidyalaya (48.56 secs) and Dinusha Chamuditha of Sooriyawewa National Schools (48.74 secs) all produced sub 49 seconds to share the first three positions respectively.
The Under-20 girls final saw Lyceum’s (Nugegoda) Romeshi Attidiya and Gihansi Jayasinghe of Ratnayake Central, Walala turning tables on leading contender Sachini Divyanjali of Lyceum, Wattala to share the first and second positions respectively. Attidiya returned a time of 56.86 seconds to win. Jayasinghe clocked 57.68 seconds.