The precursor of the 18th Asian Games, the 18th Asian Games Invitational, is was held in Jakarta Indonesia from the 8th to 15th February, with the athletic competitions worked out from the 11th to 15th of February.
Sri Lanka sent a contingent of 24 athletes and gained 18 medals in total at the competition which included 5 Gold medals, 6 Silver and 7 Bronze medals. Nilani Ratnayake stole the limelight as she managed to create history becoming the first Sri Lankan woman to run the 3000m Steeple Chase under 10 minutes.
New National record from Nilani
Long Distance runner Niani Ratnayake clinched her second medal in the competition wining Gold in the 3000m Steeple Chase. Ratnayake ran an impressive 9.55.59 which is her personal best in the event and also became the first Sri Lankan woman to run the 3000m Steeple Chase under 10 minutes. The previous national record of the event 10:03.94 also held by Ratnayake was achieved at Diyagama and it was a remarkable achievement by her to drop over 8secs from her previous personal best. Earlier Rathnayake also won Silver in the Women’s 1500m.
Vinoj wins 100m Gold
Vinoj Suranjaya continued his superb form this season clocking 10.30 secs to win the 100m. He came ahead of Lalu Muhammad of Indonesia and Elakkiya Dasan of India competing in lane 3. However National record holder in the 100m, Himasha Eshan who was supposed to compete in the event did not do so due to an injury
Tharusha betters Dilip Ruwan in 400m
Young quarter miler Tharusha Dhananjaya surprised many with the best performance in the men’s 400m as he managed to finish the race in pole position clocking a personal best time of 46.83. He beat Indian Jithu and the National Champion Dilip Ruwan who was placed third with a time of 46.97.
Dilhani continues her good form with the Javelin
Sri Lanka’s leading Javelin prospect, Nadeesha Dilhani Lekamge won Gold in the Women’s Javelin, throwing a distance of 55.13m. Dilhani cleared the winning distance in her 5th and the last attempt. Hui-Jun Li of Taipei led the competition until the last round with her opening throw of 52.27m but was robbed of the Gold by Dilhani who came out with her best throw in the fifth attempt.
Pushpakumara collects two medals
Long distance runner R M S Pushpakumara won Gold in the men’s 3000m Steeple Chase clocking 8:59.70. Pushpakumara came ahead of Indonesians Atjong Tio and Elizar Gamashi to clinch pole position. Earlier Pushpakumara finished third in the Men’s 5000m. (By Sudarshana Peiris)