By S.R. Pathiravithana reporting from the Gold Coast
Twenty-nine-year old soldier J.A. Chathuranga Lakmal became the first to prove their Commonwealth medal winning abilities when he took possession of the Bronze medal after a ding-dong battle with his closest rival Gururaja of India -- the Silver and the Bronze separating each other by a mere one kilogram at the Carrara Weightlifting centre at Gold Coast, on Thursday (5).
The three medal winners were a cut above the rest from the very beginning; lifting kilogram to kilogram, until the ultimate winner Muhammad Azroy Hazalwa from Malaysia broke away in the snatch segment with the competition record of 117kgs. From that point onwards it was a tussle for the silver between Gururaja and Lakmal.
In fact at one point one wondered if it was Lakmal who would walk away with the Silver when Gururaja faltered the snatch at 111kgs. But, Gururaja made amends to that folly in the Clean and the Jerk, by a mere one kilogram.
Lakmal, a father of two sons had his early education at Ukgalboda MV but did not have any inclination of taking up to the sport that has given his life a new dimension now.
He said “My early life was uneventful, I was just another block of the village background. But, once I joined the Army, things changed. The officials from the Army who always have an eye for a promising athlete recognised my ability to go ahead in weightlifting.
“Initially I got a good measure of my abilities when I won the ‘silver’ in the Commonwealth Weightlifting. Even there the tussle was between the three of us who ended successful here. But at that point I won the Silver. This time though I finished with the bronze and I had a better weight total here and I feel there is still a road ahead for me in this sport.”
When asked when his ultimate goal was Chathuranga’s automatic reply was, “To take part in the Olympics and win a medal there.”
Meanwhile Lankan squash player Ravindu Laksiri beat Romit Parshottan (Fiji) in a first round tie.
In the table tennis competition, India thrashed Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Women's Team group match.
Manika Batra hardly broke a sweat in her 11-3, 11-5, 11-3 victory over Erandi Warusawithana in the first singles before Sutirtha Mukherjee made it 2-0 up for India with an easy 11-5, 11-8, 11-4 win against Ishara Manikku Badu.
Sutirtha then paired with Pooja Sahasrabudhe in the doubles to notch up a 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 win against the Sri Lankan duo of Hansani Kapugeekiyana and Ishara Manikkubadu to wrap up the tie in style.
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