Asian Games and Asian Junior Athletic selection trials from Feb. 10

Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) already made plans to focus on Asian Games and Asian Junior Athletic Championship when they will conduct first selection trials on February 10, 11, 12 at the Sugatadasa Stadium in Colombo. The National championship 2022 which will be held on April 8-10 also consider as the final selection trial for the two major events. The 19th Asian Games will be held from September 10 to 25 in Hangzhou, China while Asian Junior Athletic Championship is scheduled to be held in June in South Korea.

According to the Vice President of SLA G.L.S. Perera this is to mark SLA centenary celebrations while we are ready to focus more on athletes’ progress for international events such as Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Athletic Championships. Especially SLA headed by Major General Palitha Fernando more concerned about junior athletes progress and Sri Lanka is also ready to host the 4th South Asian Junior Athletic Championship before junior Asian and world events. This is going to be a good move for the juniors to get more exposure from the South Asian Junior event in Colombo. The event will be conducted by Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) in collaboration with the South Asian Athletics Federation (SAAF).

Sri Lanka first hosted the inaugural South Asian Junior Athletics Championship in 2007 and again in 2018, while India had hosted the regional events in 2013 in Ranchi. On both occasions, the South Asian Junior Championship was held at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, and the upcoming event on May 19 and 20 is expected to take place at the same venue. At the last event held in 2018 in Colombo, India topped the medals tally with 20 golds, followed by Sri Lanka, who won 12 gold, 10 silver, and 19 bronze medals. “Our target is to give more boost for the junior athletes and get ready for the international events,” said SLA Vice President G.L.S Perera.

Through this regional event, Sri Lanka was able to discover many athletic talents that went on to bring glory to the country in the recent past and Aruna Darshana, Dilshi Kumarasinghe, Amasha de Silva, Parami Wasanthi, and Shelinda Jansen are a few of the talented athletes found from this regional level event and this year too SLA hope to give more exposure to get talented athletes for the major international events. Over 350 athletes from the South Asian region are set to compete at this meet and it is going to be a good opportunity for local junior athletes before the Asian and World Youth Athletic Championships.

SLA has already formed National and Elite pools to give requirements for the athletes while Sports Ministry already made arrangements from High-Performance Committee through the National Sports Council to give more support to the athletes. Especially the long-distance athletes already get their training in upcountry (high attitude training).

Meanwhile, SLA will conduct a half marathon on January 22 to start their centenary year celebrations. “The 21km race also going to be more competitive while India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives athletes already confirmed their participation for this event,” said SLA Vice President G.L.S Perera.

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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