Manjula Kumara Wijesekara sparked medal hopes for Sri Lanka at the ongoing XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia when he qualified for the men's high jump final round with an impressive 2.21metres performance at the Carrara Stadium yesterday. Manjula recorded 2.15 meters height in his first jump and when going over the bar at 2.18m he could not clear it in his first attempt. Coming back for the second attempt, he made no mistake in clearing 2.18m comfortably.
With the bar set at 2.21 metres, Manjula came up with a superb glide over the pole to book his berth in the final round.
An elated Manjula soon after his achievement said that today he was not completely fit but made every effort to do his duty to the country. He further said the foot injury he suffered in Sydney has not completely healed.
" It is for the great effort by my physio and the support given by the Sri Lankan Athletics management I had the opportunity to compete here today. With every one supporting me, despite my injury I consider it my duty to perform to the best of my ability and try to win another medal for Sri Lanka. I feel confident and will do my best to achieve this target".
Lankan swimming ace Matthew Abeysinghe created a new Sri Lanka record in men's 50 metres Freestyle event (22.65secs) during the preliminary round of the XXI Commonwealth Games continued in Gold Coast, Australia yesterday.
He was placed 13 among the 18 swimmers who were qualified for the semi final round. Matthew erased his own previous national record of 23. 22secs which he established in last year's South Asian Games in Colombo. Matthew's brother Kyle took 23.73secs to be placed 27 out of 45 preliminary round contestants. The third Lankan competed in 50 metres Freestyle event at Gold Coast, Cherantha de Silva took 24.36secs to finish.
Vinoli Kaluarachchi competing in the preliminary round of 50 meter Back Stroke had a time of 31.02secs. Vinoli’s poor timing pushed her to the 8th slot and will miss the next round as only four swimmers will qualify from each group to the next round.
Boxer Ishan Ranjeeva S. Bandara who made his international debut in the ring entered the quarter final round beating Nauru’s Yochen Cook on points yesterday.Bandara, an Army boxer lived up to the gallant Army spirit fighting with perseverance until the victory is conquered.
In the first bout it looked like Nauru boxer was on his way towards moving to the next round. Cook was in full control of the bout evading Bandara’s left and right jas successfully.
The second round has been crucial for both boxers and Bandara fought fiercely at the early stage towards the winning path. But with Bandara facing a slight setback during the latter stage, Cook was quick to take the maximum advantage and earn some quick points. At the end of the second round both boxers stood strong with almost equal points.
Third and final round saw Cook baffled in an unstoppable barrage of strikes from Bandara. This led Cook to lose his grip on the fight while earning more points to Bandara. Even though Cook made a comeback after a while it was too late and not enough to get over his opponent.
Soon after the victory speaking to the media Bandar admitted that he had a bad session during the second round but was able to overcome his opponent with sheer determination.
"When I sensed my fault, I decided to go all out to make sure I beat Cook in the following round. This worked well making it my day," he explained.
"This was my first appearance in an international event of this nature and I thought it is my duty to bring good results for my country. My presence here at Commonwealth Games became a reality with the support of my elder brother who introduced me to boxing. I took up to boxing after joining the Army where they gave all necessary training and other facilities for me to give my fullest commitment to boxing. Now the time has come for me to pay gratitude for all their support. I am determined to perform well and grab a medal for my country".
Saman Abeywickrama competing in the 105kgs Weightlifting finals did not impress as he failed in four out of six lifts. Abeywickrama was only able to lift 138kgs in his second 'Clean' attempt and succeeded in lifting 175kgs in 'Jerk' after two faulted attempts. He was placed overall ninth. Weightlifting is the only medal winning sport event for Sri Lanka so far at the XXI Commonwealth Games bagging one silver and two bronze medals.
Sri Lanka Beach Volleyball pair M.L. Asanka Pradeep Kumara and Y.H. Sashimal Malintha Yapa who entered the Gold Coast Games with fine Asian region record put up a dismal performances with losing all three Group matches played so far. Lankans savoured their last defeat going down to Sierra Leone in straight sets (17-21, 20-22). With these three consecutive losses they will return home with no success.
Laknan Shooters T. Suranga Fernando and Sanduni Perera failed to live up to expectations when they placed 20th and 15th respectively in the men's 50m Air Pistol Shooting event. Om Mitharwal of India with a total score of 584 placed first while Suranga was way behind the leader earning 563 Points. Sanduni competing in the same event women's category won the fifteenth place.