R. A. Anoma Karunawansa of Eastern Province proved her supremacy in women’s pole vault event by setting up a new Sri Lanka record of 3.31 metres to bag the gold medal on the opening day of 39th National Sports Festival (NSF) final stage at the spectacular Jayathilaka Stadium in Nawalapitiya yesterday. Anoma erased her own previous Sri Lanka record of 3.30 metres which she established at the 2012 NSF. Northern Province’s J. Anitha and R Kaveri cleared 2.80 metres to win the silver and bronze respectively.
Anoma, an old girl of Namalthalawa MV in the Ampara District, represents Sri Lanka Navy. She has shown a great improvement in recent times to emerge strongly at the national level. Just after her record leap, Jubilant Anoma said, “I am so happy to improve my own record. This is my gift for husband Kariyawasam and coach Rohitha Fernando for all their scarifies and support. I must also thank Navy Commander for his assistance in my success. I am confident of performing much better with a modern pole. I am using a borrowed old pole and do not get the chance to use different poles according to different heights. Anyway I hope to improve this new record at the forthcoming National Athletics Championship in September”.
The opening event of the day, men’s 10,000 metres final saw D. Layanal Samarajeewa of Central Province completing the race in 30:36.86 minutes to win the gold while A.M.J Bandara from the Uva Province won the silver with a timing of 31:10.78 minutes. Bronze medal went on to B.U. Vijitha Kumara of Southern Province who finished the race in 31:21.33 minutes.
Southern Province’s Gayanthika Abeyrathna took 17:14.89 minutes to win the gold medal in women’s 5000 metres final, followed by A.N.L. Ariyadasa of Sabaragamuwa Province clocking 17:18.75 minutes to win the silver. H.A.T.C. Hemamali (Sabaragamuwa Province) won the bronze with a timing of 17:32.90 minutes. D.S Ranasinghe (SP) threw a distance of 62.80 metres to win men’s Javelin throw gold medal while Western Province’s K.P.K Ranathunga cleared 67.09 metres to clinch the silver. R.M.S.J Ranasinghe (SGP) won the bronze medal, throwing a 66.38 metres distance.
The women’s 4×100 meters relay final was won by North Western Province team who reached the finish line in 47.66 seconds. Western Province won the silver clocking 48.07 seconds while the Central Province came team completed in third with a timing of 48.58 seconds.
Central Province emerged victorious of the day one’s final event by winning the men’s 4×100 relay. They took 41.11 seconds to grab the gold while North Central Province completed in second with a timing of 41.87 seconds. Bronze medal went on to North Western Province team clocking 41.97 seconds.
It has been a very colorful inauguration ceremony at the Jayathilaka Stadium where Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne participated as the chief guest. The combined three Forces and Police band along with various traditional and contemporary music dance acts entertained a packed crowd at the stands. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage emphasized the importance of sports to emerge as a strong nation.
“Under the Mahinda Chinthana programme a National Sports Policy has been introduced for the first time in Sri Lanka and huge investments have been made to develop sports sector of the country. Sri Lanka is heading to a new era with a sporting culture and a strong sports economy where everybody gets involved with,” the Minister said.