By Susil Premalal
The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) is to make a formal request to World Athletics, formerly the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), to award the bronze medal in the Women’s 800 metres to Sri Lanka’s Gayanthika Abeyratne who finished fourth in the event at the 2019 Asian Athletic Championship held in Doha, Qatar.
The athletics world governing body decided to strip all medals won by gold medalist Gomathi Marimutthu representing India, after she tested positive for banned substances. As a result, the bronze medal in this event should automatically go to fourth-placed Abeyrathne, said AASL president Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Palitha Fernando, who has officially written to the IAAF to correct this anomaly.
Marimutthu won the 800m gold medal at the Asian championship clocking a time of 2:02.70. Sri Lanka’s Abeyratne finished fourth in a time of 2:05.74. China’s Chunyi Wang won silver while Kazakhstan’s Maratia Mukasheva claimed the bronze.
Marimutthu has been provisionally banned for four years since March 18, 2019 but has the option of appealing to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports).
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is eyeing the possibility of another medal upgrade in the 4x400m mix relay event at the Asian Championship after a member of the gold medal winning Bahrain team Salwa Eid Naser was provisionally banned by the IAAF’s Athletic Integrity Unit for three whereabouts violations when she competed at the World Championships in October. Sri Lanka were placed third in the event. Vidusha Lakshani was the only medalist for Sri Lanka at the championship in the triple jump.