Sri Lanka got off to a promising start on the very first day of the Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022 with encouraging performances and victories in a number of sports. Starting off the day was the Artistic Gymnastics duo of Ruchira Fernando and Hansa Gayashan. Ruchira performed the most admirably, placing third in his subsection with his all-round performance, scoring more than 10 on all of his individual apparatus performances for a total of 68.550. Unfortunately, Hansa Gayashan had to retire from the event due to an injury.
The squash team also got off to a superb start with all three players in action: Yeheni Kuruppu, Ravindu Laksiri and Shamil Wakeel winning their individual singles matches and progressing to the Round of 32 which will take place on the 30th of July.
Badminton also saw a major result falling Sri Lanka’s way with a 3-2 victory over Australia in the Mixed Team Event. Sri Lanka started off strongly winning the mixed doubles and the Men’s Singles and would seal the deal with another Men’s Doubles victory. The mixed doubles team comprised of Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa, Niluka Karunaratne contested the singles while Sachin Dias and Niluka once again teamed up for the doubles victory.
The swimming pool was the location of another superb performance by Akalanka Peiris, who came 2nd in Heat 4 of the Men’s 50m Butterfly recording his second fastest time of 24.89 seconds falling just short of his own national record of 24.86 set back in 2017. This was enough to place him 22nd and the top South Asian of the athletes on show but was unfortunately just short of gaining qualification for the semifinals.
The Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens teams also played two matches on the day with the women’s team coming up against the powerhouses of England and New Zealand with the men’s team having to do the same. However, the men’s team put up a mighty fight against the English in their second match scoring three tries past them.
The Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams also had to contend against two powerhouse teams in the arena in Scotland and Kenya and despite putting up a valiant effort, especially in the Men’s games where they went toe to toe with both teams until the very end before falling just short.
Finally, Sri Lankan boxer Sanjeewa Rajakaruna also stepped into the ring, facing his English opponent but was unfortunately unable to get into the game and was outpointed in a loss in the light welterweight category.
The 30th of July, once again sees a number of Sri Lankan athletes stepping into the arena including the squash and badminton teams after their heroics the day before as well as some prime medal prospects in the form of four weightlifters.
By Rahul Jayanthan | MoraSpirit