Air Force’s Muthusami Sivarajan and Navy’s Velu Krishanthini won the men’s and women’s marathon titles respectively at the 46th National Sports Festival organized by the Ministry of Sports in Kataragama and sponsored by Nestle Lanka Limited, which took place on Friday (26).
This is the first time an Air Force athlete has won the national marathon title.
Sivarajan won the 26-kilometre men’s race in a time of 2 hours 29 minutes and 29 seconds while Krishanthani clocked a winning time of 2:55:30 in the women’s race.
Both the men’s and women’s marathon winners hail from the Central Province giving the first medals of the 46th National Sports Festival to this province.
Sivarajan has been taking part in marathon events at national level since 2013 but this is the first time he has emerged champion.
Hailing from Punduluoya in Nuwara Eliya, the 34-year-old achieved a personal best time.
“It is amid much hardship that I race in the marathon. I don’t have a proper pair of shoes to run in a
national marathon. I don’t have sports gear or special nutrition supplements. It is from the salary given by Air Force that I manage my expenses with my family,” said Sivarajan.
“I have never taken part in the National Sports Festival before this. I am happy to win the gold medal after participating for the first time. My next objective and challenge is to win a medal by participating in
an international marathon,” he said.
Women’s champion Krishanthi is a 34-year-old runner who won the marathon gold medal seven years after winning it at the 2014 National Sports Festival. She was placed second when the National
Sports Festival marathon was held last in 2019.
Hailing from Udapussellawa in Kandy, since 2014 she represented Sri Lanka at international marathon events being placed fourth at a Chinese invitational international meet. She has also pursued her career despite facing many hardships.