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
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
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
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.