The athletic events of the Asian Games in which Sri Lanka hopes to win medals will begin today at the Glora Khan Karno ground. Aruna Dharshana and Kalinga Kumara of Sri Lanka will take part in the 400 metres heats in the morning followed by the Long Jump event in which Janaka Prasad Wimalasiri is scheduled to take part. Hiruni Wijeratne will be seen in action in the 10,000 metres events in the evening.
The Lankan athletes who practiced yesterday were confident of winning medals in their respective events. The last athletic medals won by Sri Lanka at an Asian Games was in 2006 when Susanthika Jayasinghe bagged a Silver and Bronze medal and the 4x400 metres relay team won a bronze medal.
Sri Lanka coach Sajith Jayalal expressed confidence that the Lankan athletes will bag a few medals as they have taken part in many international meets recently which has given them the much needed foreign exposure.
“We have a good chance of winning a medal in the 800 metres event as the top athletes of India are not taking part in this event. Hiruni Wijeratne who has undergone training in the United States in the 10,000 metres event and Aruna Darshana (800 metres event) who was trained in Kenya are favourites to win medals in their events.
Hiruni said that that she has increased her speed which has helped her to break the Sri Lanka record. She hopes to run in the Chicago marathon in October.
In the badminton events Sri Lanka's Niluka Karunaratne lost to New Zealand's Koshit Pretprof by 12/21 and 12/21 and his brother Dinuka Karunaratne beat Macowogiw by 21/14 and 21/15 to enter the final 16. He will meet Angus Lon of Hong Kong on Saturday. Dinuka said that he took today's game lightly but he hopes to give off his best against the Hong Kong player.
Kavindi Sirimanna will meet Thailand's Newon Endapel in the pre-quarter final in the single's event while Sachith Dias and Buwaneka Gunatilake will confront Rizwan Asam and Suhiri Ali in the men's doubles today.
The Sri Lankan 3x3 men's basketball team beat Vietnam (21/7) but lost to host nation Indonesia (12/18) while the women's team was due to meet Korea and Syria on Friday night. The Sri Lankan men's hockey team registered their first win by beating Hong Kong by 4 goals to 1 while the men's volleyball team will take on China in the last game of the first round.