10th South Asian Games:
Record breaking display by triple jumper Sampath
ATHLETICS: He thought it would be just another ordinary day on the
field. But it turned out to be little different from that. The main
attraction was probably on the track events at the Sugathadasa Stadium
on that Saturday night.
But very few realized that little known Sampath Weerasinghe from
Slimline Sports Club was on the verge of creating history with a record
breaking performance in the men's triple jump event.
The former schoolboy of Pannala National School did not even dream of
winning a gold medal although he had bettered the Sri Lanka record with
a jump of 16.21 metres during the South Asian Games second trial in
Colombo. His main intention of course was to produce his best effort and
to stretch his more fancied opponents to the maximum.
While the more glamorous track events were been worked off at the
main arena, Sampath Weerasinghe was creating a piece of history at the
far end of the Sugathadasa Stadium with only a handful of spectators
But it only helped him to built up more determination and confidence
and nothing could have really stopped him from establishing a new South
Asian Games record in the most spectacular manner. His performance was
even more significant considering the fact that he was up against some
of the best in the South Asian region.
But at the end Sri Lanka's Sampath Weerasinghe of Slimline Sports
Club came on top winning the event with a record breaking performance
and erasing the previous best of 16.16 metres.
Weerasinghe of course did not participate in this event with a good
frame of mind because he was somewhat disappointed and dejected with
some of the officials of the Athletic Association.
He was at the receiving end and was overlooked for a training program
in Malaysia despite winning a gold medal at the Thailand open track and
field meet early this year.
Weerasinghe being the number one in Sri Lanka and a specialist in the
triple jump event was not even considered for this tour which anyway did
not dampen his spirits or discourage him.
Instead he had the fullest backing of his employer Slimline in which
Dian Gomes has provided all the training facilities and the equipment in
Pannala. In fact Weerasinghe dedicated his gold medal to all those who
helped him to reach the pinnacle and vowed to produce a repeat
performance at the next Asian Games which will be held in Doha Qatar in
December. Weerasinghe has already commenced his preparations for the
Asian Games and is determined to reach the top eight in the region.
Even then it was by accident that Sampath Weerasinghe made it to the
limelight because earlier his intention was to reach the top as a long
He showed early signs of been a champion athlete when he set up a new
record by clearing a distance of 7.12 metres at the National School
Games in 1996.
But at the request of his coach Ranjith Perera, he decided to bid
good bye to the long jump and decided to concentrate more on the triple
jump event from 1998.
After eight years of real hard work and pain Sampath Weerasinghe has
brought Sri Lanka a gold medal and that too with a record breaking
He certainly realized that there is talent in him but more
importantly he believed in himself and went about his task in his own