Peiris the Lankan hope in swimming

Isuru brings glory to Sri Lanka with first medal in Birmingham!

The undoubted highlight of Day 2 for Team Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games was the bronze medal for Isuru Kumara in the Men’s 55kg weightlifting category. Isuru came in an as one of the favourites and with his second snatch attempt of 105kg solidified his place in the top 3. He would try to reach for the very top bravely trying to attempt snatch lifts of 112kg and a Clean and Jerk of 141kg to bid for silver, but ultimately his combined total of 225kg was more than enough to cement a bronze medal. This was Sri Lanka’s first medal of the 2022 Commonwealth Games and a medal which made weightlifting the most successful sport for Sri Lanka in the history of the games.

Also, in the weightlifting Srimali Samarakoon and Chamari Warnakulasuriya came 8th and 7th respectively in the Women’s 49kg and Women’s 55kg while Thilanka Palangasinghe suffered a heartbreaking exit through injury.

There was more good news on the badminton courts as a 4-1 win over Pakistan sealed a place in the Mixed Team quarterfinals for Team Sri Lanka. Once again, the usual culprits of Niluka Karunaratne, Sachin Dias and Thilini Hendahewa proved to be the stars while Suhasni Vidanage also picked up her first win, partnering Hendahewa in the Women’s Doubles. Sri Lanka progressed as second in the group, despite losing to India 5-0 earlier in the day.

Artistic Gymnastics saw another all-round finalist in the form of Milka Gehani who followed Ruchira Fernando in gaining qualification to the Women’s all-around individual finals. This was a major achievement and a massive improvement over 2018 when no athlete qualified for artistic gymnastics final. Meanwhile, Ganga Seneviratne also put in a good performance recording a personal best time in the Women’s 100m backstroke and finishing as 20th overall, just four places off the semifinal spots.

After a heady first day the second day at squash was more disappointing with all four athletes falling at the Round of 32 stage. However, they will get a second chance to show off their skills in the Plate event. Women’s Rugby Sevens and Men’s Rugby Sevens also saw defeats, however there was major improvement especially in the Men’s team who gave a good fight against Uganda and will hope to upset Zambia in their (13-16) quarterfinal tomorrow. The Women face South Africa for the 7th place playoff spot.

The Women’s cricket team went down fighting against a strong England side who were made to work hard for their victory. Despite a poor performance with the bat an exceptional bowling effort by Inoka Ranaweera (3-29) and Oshadi Ranasinghe (2-20) ensured that England had to find the hard path to victory.

The 31st of July will see several more events with second weightlifters going into action, a quarterfinal clash in badminton, two gymnastics finals and Akalanka Peiris hitting the pool again to name just a few. Another enthralling day awaits from Birmingham!

By Rahul Jeyanthan | MoraSpirit