By Susil Premalal reporting from Polonnaruwa
The athletics championships of the 44th National Sports Festival 2018 conducted by the Ministry of Sports commenced at the District Grounds in Polonnaruwa on Thursday (11).
The Sports Festival was declared open by Chief Guest Faiszer Musthapha, Minister of Sports with 2000 Sydney Olympic Silver Medallist, Susanthika Jayasinghe gracing the occasion as the Guest of Honour.
The opening ceremony was marked with a colourful parade with the participation of athletes and officials representing all nine provinces.
2013 Asian Championship Bronze Medallist Kasun Seneviratne and member of the winning 2001 Asian Championship Netball Team, A.G.L Priyangika had the honour of carrying the Games Torch during the opening ceremony.
Over 1,500 athletes will be participating in the Sports Festival which will conclude on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a total of 12 finals would be worked off today commencing with the Men’s 10,000 metres at 6.30a.m.
In the team championship, defending champions Western Province have once again taken the lead with a total of 83 Gold Medals, 71 Silver Medals and 61 Bronze Medals.
Central Province are placed second with a tally of 33 Gold Medals, 31 Silver Medals and 43 Bronze Medals.