February 19, 2020
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    Nimali, Gayanthika set to provide ideal start to Sri Lanka’s campaign

    April 20, 2019

    A healthy rivalry for supremacy in middle and long distance running commenced when they were schooling at remote Sooriyawewa and it grew into the most looked forward to battle at National Athletics Championships from the time Nimali Liyanarachchi shifted to the 800 metres from steeplechase to compete against her school alumni Gayanthika Abeyratne. This battle went a step further when they started brushing shoulders at the Asian level in the women’s 800 metres.

    In Liyanarachchi Sri Lanka has an athlete defending a gold medal for the first time in many years when the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships commences in Doha, Qatar on Sunday. Abeyratne will want to better the silver medal she won behind Liyanarachchi at the last edition. Their competition will be one of the looked forward to events in Sri Lanka’s prospective on day one.

    "She (Nimali) is doing well and I am also confident. I am happy to compete against her because whoever wins it will be good for Sri Lanka," Abeyratne told The Island. ccording to IAAF statistics the Sri Lankan duo are among the top performers of the region. They earned their qualification by producing mpressive performances at the selection trials held in February and March.

    Liyanarachchi clocked 2:02.83 seconds to win the first trial held in February. Abeyratne was placed second in that trial for a time of 2:03.36 seconds. When they met again in the second trial the result was similar with the time achieved being slightly different to the previous one. Liyanarachchi clocked 2:02.65 seconds. Abeyratne returned a time of 2:03.62 seconds.

    Apart from competing in the 800 metres Liyanarachchi will also compete in the 4x400 metres. The others in the team are Nadeesha Ramanayake, Upamali Ratnakumari and Dilshi Kumarasinghe. The athletes from Sooriyawewa have provided local fans with lot of entertainment throughout the last few years with their tight contests. It will be interesting to see how they continue to thrill the fans when they compete once again on a different soil. The heats of the women’s 800 metres will be conducted at 11.00 am Sri Lanka time on Sunday. They wi

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