SL athletes will have a hectic year in 2018 with back to back local and international events to fill the calendar, which includes both Commonwealth and Asian Games, together with four major Junior International events.
Athletic season will open with Commonwealth Games trials on 27 January, which will be limited to selected athletes in selected events which will finalize the team for the forthcoming Games in April.
Then a team of five will compete in the Asian Indoor Championship, before athletes of the elite pool will take wing to Indonesia for three-day test events at the venue for Asian Games 2018 (Road to 8th Asian Games Testing Competition). Only SL boxers and athletes have received invitations from Indonesia for the event.
High Jumper Manjula Kumara Wijesekara and sprinter Rumeshika Rathnayake will not take wing to Indonesia as both of them are expecting an Australia scholarship ahead of the Commonwealth Games, while 800m runner Indunil Herath who trains in Kenya will not make the trip. A 100m runner D.K. Wijeratne has been added to the team in place of sprinter Yupun Priyadarshana who is training in Italy.
Following the Commonwealth Games 2018 in April, Sri Lanka will conduct their first trial for the Asian Games 2018 on 27 and 28 April. The first leg of the Asian Grand Prix will begin on the same day – followed by the second and third legs on 2 and 5 May. If the Asian Grand Prix dates are not changed the Athletic Association (AASL) will have to reschedule the first trial to avoid clashing with the Grand Prix.
Second selection trials for the Asian Games will be held on 12 and 13 May, which will be limited to top athletes of each event and the National Championship will be held from 3 to 5 August at Sugathadasa Stadium, which will be considered as a fitness trial for the Asian Games team.
Apart from these events, athletes will also get opportunities to participate at numerous Open Athletic championships.
In local athletic arena, athletes will have many other major championships, including National Sports Festival, National Youth Sports Festival, Army Athletics Championship, Defence Services Athletics Championships etc. etc.
Junior athletes too will have an eventful year ahead as there are three major Junior (U-20) championships and Youth Olympics (U-18) set to take place during the year. Sri Lanka has already selected a pool of athletes for the Asian Junior Championship who are having weekend residential training in Colombo.
AASL is also keen to host the South Asian Junior Athletic Championship (SAJAC) which was last held in India in 2013. Final selection of the junior team will be at the Junior Nationals in April and if Sri Lanka goes ahead with SAJAC it will be the first international event for juniors and Sri Lanka will have the luxury of fielding three athletes per event.
Then there will be the Asian Junior Athletic Championship in Japan in June, where Sri Lanka expects to win a few medals, as they ended medal-less at the 2016 edition. The IAAF World Junior Championship will be held in Finland where a few SL juniors will be selected.
Under-18 athletes will have the Youth Olympic Games lined up in October in Argentina and SL athletes will have to go through a selection meet before that. AASL will not be sending any athletes to IAAF Indoor Athletics Championship. SL athletes have not won a Commonwealth Games medal since 1998 and Asian Games medal since 2010, but they had a successful year in 2017 winning five medals at the Asian Championships (1 gold and four silver) and near misses and will be looking to rectify errors and carry the success forward this year.
Commonwealth Games Trials – January 27
Asian Indoor Athletics Championship – 1-3 February Tehran
Road to 8th Asian Games Testing Competition (Indonesia) – February (3 days)
Commonwealth Games –April 4-15 Gold Coast Australia
Asian Games 1st trial – April 27, 28 (Open)
Asian Grand Prix (28 April, 2 May, 5 May)
Asian Games 2nd Trial – May 12, 13
National Championship –August 3-5 (Sugathadasa Stadium)
Asian Games – August 22-29 (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Junior National Championship (Final Selection) – April
South Asian Junior Athletic Championship (U-20) – May- Sri Lanka (Unconfirmed)
Asian Junior Athletics Championship (U-20) – June 6-10 – Japan
IAAF World Junior Championship (U-20) – July 07-15 -Finland
Youth Olympic Games (U-18) – October 6-18 -Argentina