Athletics Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) has selected a pool of 12 athletes to participate at the forthcoming 3rd Asian Youth Athletics Championship to be held in Hong Kong from 15 to 17 March. The team will only be finalized following a fitness trial next month, and only if the Sports Ministry approves funding for the whole team.
Selections were based on a one day trial held on the 19th at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
Due to scheduling the events within a day and lack of rest between events, many didn’t expect the athletes to perform at the level they did. But the young athletes put up an impressive performance and AASL made a fair selection by including all the deserving athletes in the team.
AASL had earlier published some tough qualification standards, where some of the standards, such as the girls’ 800m, were even tougher than the Asian Youth Championship record. But those qualification standards were set to encourage the athletes to aim higher, and several of them came really close to the given target, with St. Peter’s thrower Rumesh Tharanga achieving the standard to make it in to the team.
However, the event organizers have only given a quota of 7 athletes and two officials for Sri Lanka; hence, the entire team of 12 can only sent if the Sports Ministry approves funding for the balance five athletes.
The organizers have indicated that the cost of including an additional athlete in excess to the quota is USD 200 per day which will cover their accommodation, food and domestic transport.
“We have good chance in both the medley relays; hence, we added two relay teams and still limited the youth team to 12 athletes. We expect the Ministry to approve the necessary funding for these athletes to compete and bring glory to Sri Lanka,” said senior member and recorder of AASL Saman Kumara Gunawardana.
Sri Lanka won one Gold and three Silver Medals in the 2015 edition of the Asian Youth Championship, while winning Silver and a Bronze in the 2017 edition. Standards of the young athletes have improved immensely since then, especially after the Sri Lanka Junior team’s record breaking performance at the Asian Junior Championship last year, where Sri Lanka finished with nine medals, including three Gold Medals, in Japan.
High Jumper Roshen Dulmin of St. Mary’s College Chilaw is the only one to miss out despite leaping 2.00m, the height which won the Bronze medal in the 2017 edition. However, the Bronze in the 2015 edition went to the athlete who cleared 2.12m, and taking these statistics into consideration, AASL set a qualification standard of 2.05m for the event.
Improvement in the high jump event among athletes eligible to compete in this year’s Asian Youth Championship have been taken into consideration for selection, where 06 Asian athletes who are under-18 this year leapt over 2.05 last year, with Chinese Long Chen leaping 2.22m and another Chinese Jia Ma leaping 2.11m.
Source: Ceylon Athletics