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A big challenge, want to improve on my time - Shehan

Sprinter Shehan Ambepitiya said his initial target would be to better his personal timing at the 12th IAAF World Championships to be worked off at here in the German capital from Saturday.

The 19-year-old Sri Lankan sprinter, who has been training here in Berlin for the last couple of weeks, said his first target would be to better the personal best. “It is a huge challenge for me. I know that. But at the same time, this is a rare opportunity for me. Hence, I must make the best out of it,” a determined Ambepitiya said.

His personal best timing of 10.43 seconds in men’s 100m was registered at the Junior Commonwealth Games in Pune last year and Ambepitiya now aims at bettering that feat at the world athletic extravaganza.

Ambepitiya and the other Lankan Chandrika Subhashini who made a wildcard entry to the World Championship, ahead of high jumper Manjula Kumara Wijesekera, who narrowly missed a chance of becoming the third Lankan competitor.

The US-based Sri Lankan Olympic high jumper has a personal best of 2.27m, a feat which he has achieved twice before and after the 2004 Athens Games. Ever since, he has not shown a notable improvement as his preparations has been hampered by injury worries. Wijesekera narrowly missed a place at the IAAF World Championship of which the qualifying standard for men’s high jump is 2,28m.

The Berlin World Championship will be subject to the most comprehensive Anti-Doping Programme ever conducted by the world governing body for track and field - IAAF. It would include both drug testing and educational activities and over 1,000 samples will be collected, before and during the competition.

The Anti-doping officials plan to take approximately 600 blood samples in Berlin prior to the championships and another 400 blood and urine samples will be taken during the competition. These samples would be sent to the Cologne and Dresden WADA accredited laboratories.

Meanwhile, IAAF President Lamine Diack also highlighted that the Championships was a chance to recognise the clean athletes.

“I would like to turn our attention back to the huge majority of honest athletes who will arrive at these championships and compete based on their own skill and years of hard work and sacrifice. All this anti-doping work is done to protect them, and so that in Berlin we can join together and celebrate their achievements,” he said.

“However for those athletes who still consider that they need to cheat to succeed both blood and urine samples collected from this event will be analysed and even stored by the IAAF for future analysis should new prohibited substances or methods become detectable.” he added.

The majority of blood samples taken from these championships will also form part of the IAAF biological passport program and be added to the individual profiles of each athlete. The IAAF has been collecting samples as part of this passport program from selected athletes since January 2009.

The IAAF said they will go beyond dope testing and would try to educate the athletes on the negative aspects of doping. Hence, the World Championships here will not all about testing, with the important aspect of education also present in Berlin via the IAAF Athlete Outreach Program and the implementation of an IAAF interactive online education program titled ‘Real winner’.

The IAAF has positioned its staff onsite in Berlin to answer any athletes questions and both education programmes aim to raise athlete awareness of the important anti-doping issues.

 

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