Three-member Sri Lanka boxing team leave for Jordan | Daily News


Three-member Sri Lanka boxing team leave for Jordan

A three-member Sri Lankan boxing team comprising South Asian Games gold medallist Rumesh Sandakelum (81kg) and silver medallists Dinesh Maduranga (75kg) and Krishmi Dharmathilaka (57kg) will be taking part in the Asian and Oceania boxing qualifying event for this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo to be held in Amman, Jordan from March 3 to 11.

This tournament was originally scheduled for Wuhan, China, from February 3 until 14 but moved as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Wanni Arachchige Rumesh Sandakelum, a 27-year-old Army Corporal, brought home a boxing gold medal from the South Asian Games after 15 years when he outpointed a tough rival from host country Nepal Pradhan Ganesh in the final after having sensationally knocked out Pakistan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships competitor Awais Ali Khan in the semi-finals.

Pathirage Don Dinesh Maduranga also from Army beat Bangladesh’s Mohammad Arif Hossain in the middle weight (75kg) semifinals and lost by a split decision to Ankit Khatana of India in the finals after a very close contest to win a silver medal at the South Asian Games. The 32-year-old has been a national champion for several years.

Krishmi Ayoma Dulanjani Dharmathilaka (57kg) from Unichela won her fight against Chandra Kala Thapa of Nepal in the semifinals and lost to Sonia Lather of India in the final to secure a silver medal.

An experienced campaigner, she has represented Sri Lanka in two editions of the ASBC Asian Women’s Boxing Championships.

The boxers will be accompanied by Amila Aravinda, an experienced 3-star coach as head coach, while veteran Army head coach, Sampath Jayatilleke, a former national champion, will be the team coach.

A total of 63 qualifying spots is up for grabs for men and women boxers in this Olympic qualifying tournament. There are 41 qualifying spots for men including six each in 52kg, 57kg, 63Kg categories, five each in 69kg, 75kg, 81kg categories and four each for 91kg and 91+kg categories. There are 22 qualifying spots for women including six for 51kg and four each in 57kg, 60kg, 69kg and 75kg.

The last Sri Lanka boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games was Anuruddha Ratnayake at 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A total of 251 boxers including 174 men and 77 women boxers from 38 countries are taking part in the Asia / Oceania Road to Tokyo Olympic qualifying event.

Asia is well-known for being a boxing powerhouse with fighters from the continent claiming 13 medals at the Olympic Games Athens 2004, and 12 in Beijing 2008. Since women’s boxing events were added to the Olympic programme, Asian boxers have earned a total of 16 medals in Olympic Games in London 2012 and 17 at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

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