Lankan Olympic hopes fading | Daily News


Lankan Olympic hopes fading


RIO DE JANEIRO, WEDNESDAY: Sri Lanka’s hopes of winning a medal is fast fading away with its last two Olympians down to compete in athletics – men’s javelin throw and men’s marathon, in the 2016 Olympic Games now in progress here in Brazil.

Hurdler Sumedha Ranasinghe is down to take part in men’s javelin throw qualifying round in the early hours of Sri Lanka time (5 am) and veteran marathon runner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray is due to run in the men’s marathon to be worked off on the final day of the 207-nation Games – on Sunday (21).

Sri Lanka has won only two silver medals in the 120-year-old summer Olympic Games history. Although Sri Lanka has been a long-standing member of the International Olympic Committee and has competed in every summer Olympic Games since 1948, except in 1976 Montreal, the island nation has found places in victory podiums only on two occasions.

Since the late Duncan White gave the country its first ever Olympic medal at the 1948 London Games Susanthika Jayasinghe is the other medallist for Sri Lanka when she won the women’s 200m silver at the Sydney 2000 Games. Although 16 years have passed since then, a third Olympic medal still looks a distant dream for Sri Lanka.

With seven of its nine competitors for the Rio 2016 Games fading away, Sri Lanka’s chances of a medal at Rio Olympic Games looks rather slim.

Nevertheless, veteran marathon runner Cooray is working hard at his event. Cooray, Sri Lanka’s flag bearer at the Rio 2016 Games, is a seasoned campaigner competing in his third Olympics. The UK-based long distance specialist, having competed at the Athens 2004 and London 2012 Games, is determined to shatter the Sri Lanka marathon record here.

But he will find it tough with the hot weather that is prevailing in the morning, especially the hot sun. The hot weather is set to give a testing time for all marathon runners. Sunday’s men’s marathon could well turn out to be a direct battle between two African nations – Kenya and Ethiopia which has jointly produced the top five runners who have registered the best timings this season.

Meanwhile, some of the Lankan Olympians to Rio have already left the Olympic Village. Among them are the two Lankan swimmers Matthew Abeysinghe and Kimiko Raheem. 

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