Olympic exposure will help me bring glory to Lanka says Heshan
Sri Lanka swimmer Heshan Unamboowe said his Olympic experience in
London will help him to bring international glory in future. “It was a
tremendous experience that would definitely help me in the long run as a
swimmer,”Unamboowe said in an exclusive interview with the Daily News
“I have competed in many international meets, including the FINA
WorldChampionships but I have never been nervous like this before. It
was a very good experience for us to ascertain where we stand,” he
said.Unamboowe, who made it to the London 2012 on a universal selection
system,formally known as the wild card system, said the experience he
gains by competing at Olympics would definitely help him to face
pressure situations. “At least we know where we stand. The asking was
high and the expectations are even greater. Nevertheless, it was a great
experience that would help me in the big league,” he added.
The Lankan backstroke specialist said he could not give out his
brilliant best. “We all dreamt of making it to the Olympics, the dream
of any athlete. But once I made it, I could not make the best use of it
due to two reasons. One was an old shoulder injury that aggravated. I
had this in my right shoulder before and underwent physiotherapy. All of
a sudden, this began troubling me on the morning of the event,” he said,
adding that the expectations were high at a meet of this magnitude.
“All I wanted initially was to better the Sri Lanka record. But that
did not come my way as I could not keep the pace in the second half. I
swam the first 50m well but could not accelerate in the last 50m,” he
Unamboowe, who made a first round exit after finishing second in his
heat and had an overall position of 39 among 40 swimmers who competed in
the women's 100m backstroke first round heats, said he will fully
concentrate on making an Olympic comeback in four years time.
“Next time, I don't intend to make it through a wildcard.
I will really work for it and would use all my experience to qualify
for the next Olympics and give out my best performance. In fact, I would
aim at earning a place at the next Olympics, not just to make it through
a wildcard,” an ambitious Unamboowe said.
Unamboowe said his training stint in Australia too would be a big
boost for him in the long run. “After the Olympics, I will get back home
and have alittle break. Then I would fly to the US to begin my higher
studies at University of Miami. At the same time, I will continue my
swimming career and make use of that opportunity to have a better
exposure and compete at a greater number of international meets. That is
a huge challenge but I will really work hard towards that goal,” he
“Before dreaming of Olympic medals, we must aim at winning more
medals at South Asian and Asian level.
Once we reach there only that we could target medals at international
or world level. I will make every effort to do better, improve on my
national record and to make it a habit of winning and improving my
timings,” he said.
Records tumble at Aquatic Centre
Meanwhile, France overhauled the United States in the closing stages
to claim the 4 x 100m freestyle relay title in thrilling fashion at
theAquatic Centre on Sunday night.
The USA had led from the start and appeared to be on course for gold
but Yannick Agnel moved ahead of Ryan Lochte inthe final 10m to claim
the title in 3:09.83. It meant Michael Phelps won his first medal of the
London 2012 Games and his 17th overall, but it was France who were
celebrating as they exorcised the memory of Beijing 2008, when they lost
out on the touch to the USA.France had an outstanding day in swimming as
Camille Muffat set a newOlympic Games record to secure gold in the
women's 400m freestyle.
American swimmer Allison Schmitt finished second, with Rebecca
Adlington claiming bronze - Great Britain's first London 2012 medal in
Muffat touched in four minutes and 1.54 seconds while Adlington came
from sixth at halfway to record a time of 4:03.01. Schmitt clocked
However, USA medal hopes were not entirely shattered as Dana Vollmer
won the 100m butterfly title in a new world record of 55.98
seconds.Vollmer had been the favourite coming into the final having set
an Olympic record on the previous day, a year after being crowned world
champion in Shanghai.Vollmer took 0.08 off Sarah Sjostrom's 2009 world
record as she added the Olympic title to the gold she won in Athens in
2004 as a 16-year-old member of the triumphant 4 x 200m freestyle squad.
Lu Ying of China was second in 56.87, with Australia's Alicia Coutts
third 0.07 adrift.
Meanwhile, South African Cameron van der Burgh has won gold in the
men's 100m Breaststroke in a world record time of 58.46. The 24-year-old
had qualified fastest for the final last night with the best time in the
world in 2012 and an Olympic record. He led from start to finish to take
0.12 offBrenton Rickard's 2009 record. Christian Sprenger was second and
Brendan Hansen third.