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Lankan men win 4 X 400 m relay

Two medals for Amarasekera:

ATHLETICS: Sri Lanka’s 4x400m Quartet gained the only success at the first stage of the Asian Grand Prix when they cruised home as winners to win the gold medal at the Supachalasai National Stadium yesterday.

The team comprising of Prasanna Amarasekera, Rohitha Pushpakumara, S.M. Weerasooriya and Asoka Jayasundera clocked a time of 3m 07.16secs. The runners up were the teams from Malaysia and Thailand, the host country.

Their time achieved here is far below the standard required to qualify for the IAAF World Athletic Championships. The required time to qualify is 3.3:00secs.

If they are to make their way to the Games they will have to come up with a better timing in the next two Grand Prix meets to be held in India next week. The team could have achieved the target if Rohan Pradeep Kumara was available.

Meanwhile Prasanna Amarasekera who was the first Lankan athlete to enter the track yesterday with high hopes of a gold medal in the absence of Rohan failed to live up to expectations and was placed second behind China’s Liangyu Wang who clocked 45.95secs to finish the race. Prasanna could muster only 46.48secs.K.M. Binu of India finished at the third slot clocking 46.97secs.

Sri Lanka’s ace woman sprinter Susabthika Jayasinghe once again failed to get the better of her rival Guzel Khubbieva of Uzbekistan in the 100m. Guzel who beat her at the last Asian Games in Qatar came up with another good performance yesterday to beat her clocking 11.31secs, while Susanthika had a time of 11.33secs. Susanthika got off to a very late start and was the last to go off the blocks but after 50m she caught up with front-runners to finish second. If Susanthika got off the blocks early the finish would definitely have reversed.

Susanthika admitted that she had a bad start and said, “that has been a great setback every time when I am running out of the country. I have to overcome this difficulty if I am to win. For this I will have work hard with my coach. I did not have a coach for nearly six months I had to do my training all alone.”

The High jumper Manjula Kumara Who holds the Grand Prix record 2.25 and a medal prospect at this meet failed to deliver goods for the Sri Lankan team. Manjula failed to go over the first hurdle when he failed in all attempts at 2.05m.

Sergey Zassimovich of Kazakstan clearing a height of 2.30 not only won the event but also was the sole competitor to set up a new Grand Prix record at the first stage here in Bangkok. Now he will move to next two stages with great confidence. It is sad to see the Sri Lankan jumper with so much of experience failing to make his way to the podium.

The other notable failure for the Sri Lankan camp was middle distance runner Chaminda Weerakoon. Running in the 3000m he was never seen among the top runners. The only moment he was seen with front-runners was in the first two laps. Once the two Indians got ahead Chaminda just kept on moving only to finish the race just as a competitor.

He was never seen trying even to chase to have a better timing for himself. He could be considered only as a also ran competitor. His ability to run at this level was not shown at any stage of the race and coaches and official should take care of him if he is to be considered for further meets.

The event was won by India’s Sunil Kumar closely followed by his compatriot Surendra Singh. Kumar clocked 8m00: 76secs.

Chinese women athletes took major honours winning most track events. The Chinese women are hoping to make their way to a great Olympics victory.

Meanwhile the host country’s men too did well before their fans winning a few medals.

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