South Asia’s fastest Yupun Abeykoon, perhaps the only sprinter to clock Asia’s best timing in Men’s 100m in the recent years, has withdrawn from the upcoming 19th Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8. However Abeykoon was part of the approved list by the Ministry of Sports, [...]


Yupun’s withdrawal a major blow for Sri Lanka at the Asian Games

asian games

South Asia’s fastest Yupun Abeykoon, perhaps the only sprinter to clock Asia’s best timing in Men’s 100m in the recent years, has withdrawn from the upcoming 19th Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8.

Sprinter Gayanthika Abeyratne (right pic) and golfer Anura Rohana (top) will lead the Sri Lanka team

However Abeykoon was part of the approved list by the Ministry of Sports, upon the recommendation of the National Selection Committee, which included a total of 106 athletes and 48 officials, including seven from the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and six medical personnel. This list does not include the team officials of the Women’s Cricket team as well as the Men’s Rugby 7s team, who will contest under the Olympic Confederation of Asua (OCA) flag.

Abeykoon, who clocked 9.96secs in Switzerland on July 2022, has been warming up for the regional multi-sport event, even skipping a few appearances at the Diamond League and World Championships due to an injury, has now confirmed that he will forego the Asian Games as he had been ‘dedicated to his recovery and rehabilitation under expert guidance for the past three months’.

Abeykoon had undergone his final fitness check earlier this week, but his chances of winning a medal has diminished according to the athlete.

“After carefully evaluating the required timings to secure a medal in the Asian Games, considering past results, personal records, and the current form of competing athletes, along with my current physical condition and the limited time remaining, it is with deep sadness that I must inform you of our decision, following extensive discussions, not to participate in the Asian Games,” Abeykoon had shared on social media platforms of his decision.

“While competitions are undeniably important for winning and gaining experience, there come moments when health takes precedence. The Asian Games is a significant competition in our region, but my primary aspiration was not simply to participate but to emerge victorious. I put in every effort possible, but the time needed for a full recovery and the intervals required for ongoing treatment significantly affect training capacity. Those familiar with sports injuries understand the risk of rushing back into intensive training too soon, which could lead to further setbacks,” he further explained.

Yupun Abeykoon will be out of action for a while

With the absence of a potential medal winner, the focus will now shift on the Men’s 4x400m Relay team and Women’s 400m sprinter Nadeesha Ramanayake and Women’s 800m stars Tharushi Karunaratne and Gayanthika Abeyratne, who has been bestowed the honour as a flag-bearer at the opening ceremony alongside golfer Anura Rohana, a silver medallist at the Asian Games 2002 in South Korea.

Hopes will be laid highly on wrestler Nethmi Ahinsa, the youngest Sri Lankan athlete to win a Commonwealth Games medal, when she won a bronze in Birmingham last year.

Of the sports Sri Lanka will be represented at the Games, which include athletics, archery, aquatics, badminton, boxing, chess, esports, judo, karate, squash, taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, yachting, rowing, golf, beach volleyball, men’s and women’s cricket, the island nation could be guaranteed with medals from two cricket teams. Though the men’s rugby 7s team has the potential to claim at least a bronze medal, they go under the AOC flag, due to the world ban imposed on Sri Lanka Rugby.

This year 483 gold medals will be at stake as 12,500 competitors from 45 countries vie for glory during the 15-day regional sports extravaganza. However, the competition will begin on in reality on September 15 with the advent of the women’s cricket competition, where the low ranked teams will compete to book their berths in the quarter-final against the top four teams – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from September 21.

The opening ceremony will be held on September 23 at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou, China. The Sri Lanka contingent will travel to Hangzhou in different groups, according to the schedules of their respective sports disciplines.

Squads approved by National Selection Committee
Athletics:Yupun Abeykoon (withdrawn), Kalinga Kumarage, Aruna Darshana, Ushan Thiwanka Perera, Pabasara Niku, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan, P.L. Kodikara, Rumeshika Ratnayake, Nadeesha Ramanayake, M.T.D. Karunaratne, Gayanthika Abeyratne, Sarangi Silva, Dilhani Lekamge, M.J.H. Uththara, B.S.L. MendisOfficials: Lal Chandrakumara (Manager), I.M. Ranasinghe (Head Coach), Susantha Fernando (Coach), Vimukthi de Zoysa (Coach – Relay), Claudio Licciardella (Coach), Y.K. Kularatne (Coach), Matteo Galderisi (Physiotherapist)

Athletics: Sajeev de Silva, A.S.W. Kumara, A. Wijesinghe Karunaratne

Officials: S.A.B. Rajapaksha (Manager/Coach – Compound), N.S. Seneviratne (Coach – Recurve)

Aquatics: Mathews Abeysinghe, Akalanka Peiris, Ganga Seneviratne

Officials: Manoj Abeysinghe (Coach)

Badminton: Viren Nettasinghe

Officials: Roshan Nettasinghe (Manager/Coach)

Boxing: Rukmal Prasanna

Officials: Harsha Kumara (Head Coach), P.C.K. Jayathilake (Asst. Coach)

Chess: Susal de Silva

Officials: M.A. Chithraratne (Manager)

Esports: Mohamed Azmy, Ishara Fernando, Watshan Dharmasiri, Mohammed Ranji

Officials: Raveen Wijesingha (Manager)

Judo: R.C.N. Dharmawardana

Officials: A.P. Pathirana (Coach)

Karate: A.H. Hettiarachchi, D.A. Fernando

Officials: Chaminda Manohara (Coach), Keerthi Basnayake (Manager)

Squash: Ravindu Laksiri, Chanithma Sinaly, Wakeel Shamil

Officials: Eranda Geeganage (Manager)

Taekwondo: C.S. Liyanage, I.P. Kumari

Officials: C. Punchihewa (Manager), M.R. Ratnasekara (Coach)

Weightlifting: M.C.I. Dissanayake, Y.D.I. Kumara

Officials: R.B. Wickramasinghe (Coach), Rukshan Gunathilaka (Coach)

Wrestling: P.N.A. Fernando

Officials: Suranga Kumara (Coach)

Wushu: P.N. Balawardana, Nipun Shanika

Officials: Abbas Shiebak (Coach)

Yachting: Taalya Tranchell, T.K. Nanayakkara

Officials: W.P.K. Janaka (Coach)

Rowing: Nuwan Sampath Sagara, Mohamed Nafiran, Chandrakumani Liyanage, Shiwangi Wehihenage

Officials: Pedro Lopez (Coach), A.M.M. Alagiyawanna (Coach)

Golf: N. Thangarajah, Mithun Perera, Anura Rohana, K. Prabagaran

Officials: Lal Wickramathunga (Manager)

Beach Volleyball: Chathurika Madushani, Deepika Bandara

Officials: K.A. Thakshila (Coach)

Rugby: Srinath Sooriyabandara, Heshan Jansen, Tarinda Ratwatte, Chathura Seneviratne, Gemunu Chethiya, Adeesha Weeratunga, Ramesh Fernando, Dinupa Seneviratne, Anjula Hettiarachchi, Darshana Dabare, Akash Madushanka, Adam Gaudar, Raveen de Silva, Kavindu de Costa, Sudaraka Dikkumbura

Men’s Cricket: Shevon Daniel, Lasith Croospulle, Thanuka Dabare, Ashen Bandara, Movin Subasinghe, Sahan Arachchige, W.R.S. Fernando, Kahiru Udara, Ahan Wickramasinghe, Sachitha Jayathilake, M.N.V. Silva, Lahiru Samarakoon, Ranitha Liyanaarachchi, M.A.I.D. Wijesundara, Nuwan Thushara, L.P.P.M. Kumara, M.N.K. Fernando, Kavishka Anjula

Officials: Avishka Gunawardana (Head Coach), Upul Chandana (Asst. Coach), Sajeewa Weerakoon (Support Coach), Vinothen John (Manager, P.A.K. Wattegama (Physiotherapist)

Women’s Cricket: Harshitha Samarawickrama, Chamari Athapaththu, Vishmi Gunaratne, Nilakshi de Silva, Imesha Dulani, Anushka Sanjeewani, N.S. Seneviratne, Kavya Kavindi, Achini Kulasuriya, Oshadi Ranasinghe, I.P. Fernando, Kaveesha Dilhari, Inoka Ranaweera, M.K. Dasanayake, Udeshika Prabodhini, S.S. Pattidura, A.T. Sewwandi, R.S. Silva, G.M. Shehani

NOC Officials: Nishanthe Piyasena (Chef de Mission), Reshika Udugampola (Deputy Chef de Mission/Lady Chaperon), Erandika Gunawardena (HQ Team Official), Ruwan Alahakoon (HQ Team Official), Chalani Dayarathna (Administrative Official), Hansika Wijayagunasekara (Administrative Official), S.R. Pathiravithana (Press Attaché)

Medical Personal: Dr. Chathuranga Ranasinghe (Chief Medical Official), Dr. C.A. Edirisinghe (Medical Officer), R.P.H.P. Perera (Masseur), U.G.S.K. Rukkatthanadeniya (Masseur), K.R. Wijesinghe (Masseur), H.N. Damayanthi (Masseur)

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