Javelin Thrower Waruna Lakshan, middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi and her coach Sujith Abeysekara left the country on Sunday night to participate at the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championship to be held from 4 to 13 August in London, UK.
Marathoners Anuradha Indrajith Cooray, who lives in London and Hiruni Wijayarathne who lives in the US, will join the team in London to make it a four member team for the event. Sri Lanka will be competing in four disciplines at a World Championship, most after 2003.
Cooray will be the first to compete when he participates in the men’s marathon finals on Sunday 6 August at 3.25 p.m. SL time.
Unlike last year the women’s marathon too, will be held on the same day, where US based marathoner Hiruni will represent Sri Lanka for the first time. The race will get underway at 6.30 p.m. SL time.
Both Cooray and Hiruni achieved IAAF World Championship qualification times to be eligible to participate.
Hiruni who just failed to get the cut in the 2015 edition and 2016 Rio Olympics, finally achieved her dream when she won the Eugene Marathon earlier this year in 2:43.31 to qualify.
Cooray the Sri Lanka record holder of the marathon achieved qualification standard at the Rio Olympic Games 2016 when he clocked 2:17.06 whereas the qualification time was 2:18.00. This will be his third IAAF World Championship. He represented the country in the 2005 and 2015 editions.
Javelin thrower Waruna Lakshan Dayarathne will compete in his qualifiers on 10 August and the event begins at 11.35 p.m. Nimali Liyanarachchi will be in action 20 minutes later on the same day at 11.55 p.m. in the women’s 800m heats. Nimali received automatic qualification as the continental winner when she won the Gold medal for the 800m at the Asian Championship which concluded last month.
Waruna Lakshan had his best throw of 82.19m at Diyagama in April to be ranked No. 35 in the world for the season. As per IAAF rules 32 of the best athletes would be selected for the World event, with a maximum of three per country. Waruna came under that 32 since there were six Germans in the list of 35. (AK)