By Susil Premalal
Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) has decided to form a National Pool in January in preparation for international meets in the next two years.
The National Pool will be training for the 24th Asian Athletics Championship (Hangzhou, China in 2021), Olympic Games (Japan in 2021), Asian Games (Hangzhou, China in 2022) and Commonwealth Games (Birmingham in 2022).
A 27-member elite pool comprising Gold Medallists at the Kathmandu South Asian Games and a 62-member National Pool consisting of outstanding performers in 2019 are training in Colombo and other cities around the country.
The pool has been training for the last two years but because of the Coronavirus, SLA has not been able to assess their standards. However, depending on the performances of the Elite and National Pool athletes at the Athletics Nationals to be held from December 26 to 29, an international pool would be formed in January.
No athlete from Sri Lanka has yet qualified for the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games. The final date to achieve qualification is June 29, 2021. At the moment, two athletes have come closer to achieve the qualifying standard. They are Nimali Liyanarachchi (3,000 metre steeplechase) and Sumedha Ranasinghe (javelin).