By Susil Premalal
The Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) is considering inviting only the top eight ranked athletes for each event at the 98th National Athletic Championship scheduled to be held this year.
The aim of this proposal taken up at the recent Executive Committee meeting of the AASL is to improve the quality of some events and reduce the excess entries in other events. Since Olympic qualifications has been extended from December 31 to June 2021 following the postponement of the Tokyo Games, Sri Lanka’s National Athletic Championship will serve as a selection trial for international competitions.
This will be the first time that the Nationals, which has been open to all previously, will be conducted for only selected athletes. In future, the Nationals will feature only the finalists with preliminary round being held earlier, if this year’s championship where only the top eight would be competing is successful. The top eight would be selected on their performances in the preliminary competitions.
Meanwhile the AASL hopes to stage the 98th National Athletic Championship postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic in December, according to AASL president Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Palitha Fernando.
After reviewing the health situation in the country, the AASL hopes to stage the Nationals at Mahinda Rajapaksha Stadium in Diyagama.
Before the National Championship, the AASL plans to stage a selection trial meet for junior and senior athletes in October.
This is in preparation for the 24th Asian Athletic Championship to be held from May 20 to 23 in Hangzhou, China and the 4th Asian Junior (Under 18) Championship to be held from March 11 to 14 in Kuwait next year in addition to other international competitions.