අපි ජයගමු! will be our theme at Quadrangle as we set to cover and promote initiatives to develop Sri Lanka’s Sports and its standards through Crysbro Next Champ along with National Olympic Committee (NOC). Here’s a quick guide to the team representing Sri Lanka at the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics.
By Kiyasha Kohombanwickramage
With just a couple of days remaining for the 2020 Olympics, team Sri Lanka is set to make its 18th appearance, with a nine-member team set to represent the country.
Swimming – 100m butterfly
Event Date: 27th July 2021
Olympic debutant Aniqah Gaffoor (17) is the youngest member of the Sri Lankan contingent to take part this year and will compete in the women’s 100m butterfly event. Gaffoor currently holds Sri Lankan national records in the 100m butterfly event, with the record standing at 1:04.58s and the 50m butterfly event. She aims to crush her own national record by going at 1:03s in the Olympics. Aniqah started swimming when she turned nine. During her time at ELC International School, Malaysia, she was introduced to the FOBISIA Games which is where her love for swimming began.
Aniqah moved to Thailand in 2017 where whe got a school scholarship and swimming scholarship at United World College (UWC). Competing for the first time in Sri Lanka at the 2018 National Age Group Championship, she dominated the podium winning four gold medals and a silver in the under-15 category swimming in freestyle and butterfly events.
Aniqah represented Sri Lanka for the first time in the 2016 SAAC or South Asian Aquatic Championship. She also represented Sri Lanka at the 2019 FINA World Championship in South Korea in the 50m and 100m butterfly.
Swimming – 100m freestyle
Event Date: 27th July at the Tokyo Olympics Aquatic Centre
Gaffoor will be joined by fellow swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe (25), who has represented Sri Lanka at several national and international competitions. With freestyle being his most proficient stroke, Abeysinghe holds all the national records, except for the 200m freestyle record (held by brother Kyle Abeysinghe). He is also considered one of the greatest and most decorated athletes in the history of South Asian Games. Trained under his coach and father, Manoj Abeysinghe, first with Killer Whale Aquatics and then trained and excelled while at Ohio State University, USA he was nominated for the country’s Universality places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (a wild card quota) by the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union and Sri Lanka’s National Olympic Committee.
Abeysinghe, who previously represented Sri Lanka in the 2016 Olympics held in Rio, will make his second appearance at the Olympics and will compete in the men’s 100m freestyle event at the Tokyo games.
Chamara Nuwan Dharmawardana
Event Date: 26th July 2021, Tokyo Olympic Stadium
Chamara Dharmawardena (29), Sri Lanka’s first ever judoka to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics, will be seen representing Sri Lanka once again, at the Tokyo Olympic games. Dharmawardena has represented Sri Lanka in several competitions and holds numerous accolades. He is also set to lead the team out at the opening ceremony of XXXII Olympic Games in Tokyo on 23rd July.
Event Date: 24th July 2021
Veteran Olympian and badminton player Niluka Karunaratne (36) will return to make his third consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games. Karunaratne is regarded as Sri Lanka’s number one and most decorated badminton player. He has represented Sri Lanka both nationally and internationally and also holds a record 24 medals to his name whilst representing the country internationally.
Riffle Shooting – women’s 10m air rifle 0.177 event
Event Date: 24th July 2021
Markswoman Tehani Egodawela (38), who is currently serving in the Sri Lanka Navy, will represent Sri Lanka in the women’s 10m air rifle 0.177 event. In addition, Egodawela has represented Sri Lanka in several international competitions, including the South Asian Games in both 2016 and 2019, where on both occasions, she won bronze in the women’s 50m rifle 0.22 team event. She also holds national records in the women’s 50m air rifle 0.22 event since 2019 and the women’s 10m air rifle 0.177 events since 2018. Egodawela’s countless outstanding performances have enabled her to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Under the able guidance of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, who serves as the President of Sri Lanka Navy Sports Board, the Navy has made a significant contribution to the development of sportsmen and women and their sporting facilities, making avenues for them to prosper at the national and international arena.
Tahani continues to train under the supervision of Captain (Naval Infantry) RA Raymond, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Navy Musketry Pool and she is coached by Master Chief Petty Officer (Retired) UM Premalal. She also has to be mentally conditioned before a meet under the guidance of mental training coach Nandana Weerasinghe and is provided with the necessary equipment including bullets by the Navy under the direction of its commander Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugethenna who is also the chairman of the Navy Sports Board.
Event Date: 03rd August 2021
Equestrian, Mathilda Karlsson (37) will be the first Sri Lankan showjumper to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Karlsson made her international debut for Sri Lanka in 2018 at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco. Born in Sri Lanka and adopted by Swedish parents and living in Germany in 2017 she decided to represent her country of birth Sri Lanka in International meets and in an Olympic Event.
Mathilda is a consistent rider on the Longines Global Champions Tour and a current member of the Global Champions League (GCL) team, the Hamburg Giants.
Gymnastic – Artistic Gymnastic
Event Date: 24th July
Gymnast Milka Gehani De Silva (18) will represent Sri Lanka in the 2020 Olympics, in women’s artistic gymnastics. Milka is one among the pocket of young athletes handpicked, groomed and fostered under the revolutionary Crysbro NOCSL Next Champ initiative..
De Silva has been seen previously representing Sri Lanka in several international games, including the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 and the Junior Commonwealth Games in 2016 where she finished in 6th place. She was also the Junior National Champion from 2011-2014. De Silva will be Sri Lanka’s flag bearer alongside judoka Chamara Dharmawardena at the 2020 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations, becoming Sri Lanka’s youngest ever flag bearer.
Athletics – 800m Women
Event Date: 30th July
Nimali Liyanarachchi (32), one of Sri Lanka’s top sprinters will represent Sri Lanka for athletics in the women’s 800m event and joining Liyanarachchi will be her fellow male counterpart and sprinter Yupun Abeykoon (27) who will represent the country in the men’s 100m event.
Nimali Liyanarachchi has represented Sri Lanka internationally and holds several accolades for her performances, including a gold medal at the women’s 800m final during the South Asian Games back in 2016.
Athletics – 100m Men
Event Date: 31st July 2021
Yupun Abeykoon holds the South Asian and national record in the men’s 100m event, with a record timing of 10.16 seconds. Abeykoon is the first and only Sri Lankan to achieve direct qualification standards for the 2020 Olympic Games. Further, he has represented Sri Lanka in numerous occasions and as of June 2021, Abeykoon reached his career best with a world ranking of 48 and finished in 4th place at the Golden Gala 2021 Diamond League meet, in the men’s 100m event. Yupun Abeykoon also became the first Sri Lankan athlete to compete at the Diamond League.
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