Australia Sri Lankan soldier Ishan Bandara who hails from Minneriya competing in the Commonwealth Games for the first time made his way to the semi-finals of the Fly Weight 52 kg class overcoming Lesotho’s Thabo Molefe thus assuring himself of a medal in the event the third that Sri Lanka will win in the sport at the ongoing Games. Molefe was at his best to give Ishan a tough time in the first bout landing a few punches to gain points and take control. Ishan got into his stride halfway of the bout and was able to halt the barrage from Molefe.
Ishan knowing that he was on the right path came back for round two with confidence and went on the rampage hitting his opponent who failed to counter the attack. Ishan fought the third round in an excellent manner to collect more points and ended the winner to move to the semi-final. Two days ago competing in the qualifying round with two good wins Ishan said that entering the final round was his first aim. Keeping that in mind he lived to his ambition. “I have overcome the first hurdle my next target is to win the next fight and go for the big one,” he said. Ishan thanked the Sri Lanka Army for the fullest co-operation rendered during his training and Dian Gomes who is taking great pains to improve boxing in Sri Lanka.
“All these results achieved by Lankan boxers is mainly due to the hard work done by Dian Gomes in promoting boxing,” said Ishan. Hopes of another medal from Anusha Dilrukshi Kodituwakku was dashed yesterday when she lost her fight to India’s M.C. Meri Kom in the Light Fly Weight 45-48 kg category. This loss also cost Sri Lanka a silver medal in this category. Kom the well experienced boxer from India was in excellent form to maintain her position as Asia’s Best Boxer. She has won the World Championship title five times in addition to many other titles inclusive of Commonwealth medals.
“This was the hardest fight I had to face because Kom had many years of experience. She used all her experience and skill to outbox me today,” said Anusha. Anusha admitted that she entered the ring with fear. “I knew that she will go flat out to beat me because she was highly experienced and I knew she will try her best to maintain her supremacy.” “Although I lost the fight today I will continue to box for a few more years and try my best to win a medal,” Anusha said. The 35-year-old mother of three who is a member of the Indian Parliament said that her first choice was boxing. “My priority is to have training daily before all my other work.”
Asked when she would retire Kom said, “I’ll keep boxing as long as I win, sorry to say because of my winnings young boxers are very unfortunate to achieve victory. I like a young boxer to come and beat me the day I get defeated will decide when to retire.”
Though Anusha failed to win this fight she was able to add another bronze medal for Sri Lanka.
Hasini Ambalangoda was defeated by a Mauritius shuttler two sets to nil in the women’s singles which was worked off last night.
Sri Lanka faired disastrously in athletics at the Carrara Stadium. Dilhani Lekamage could muster a distance of only 56.02 meters in the women’s javelin throw. Though she completed in all six throws she could not improve on her distance. The best throw she had was in her second attempt which too was below her personal best.
The winner of the event from Australia K. Roberts who had a fine throw was the only athlete to go past the 60 meter mark (63.88 meters) to set a new Games record. Long Jumper Prasad Wimalasiri who leaped 7.89 meters had to content with seventh position. Rumeshika Kumari Ratnayake who qualified for the semi-inals two days ago failed to live up to expectations and clocked a time of 23.16 seconds in the women’s 200 metres.
Jamaica’s runner Jackson clocked the best time for the event 22.28 seconds. The most experienced athlete from Sri Lanka Manjula Kumara competing in the high jump went over the bar at 2.21 meters to qualify for the final round. Yesterday in the final round he was unable to clear the bar set at 2.18 meters and thus failed to qualify for a place in the final.
Sri Lankan shooters Suranga Fernando and Upul Kumara Wijeratne who managed to collect 509 and 508 points respectively in the 50 meter Air Pistol shooting were pushed down to 16th and 18th positions in the overall standings.