My first tar­get is SAG Gold- Marathon cham­pion Dham­mika

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - BY SUSIL PREMALAL

Pradeep Dham­mika Arunasiri, the Marathon Cham­pion at the 45th Na­tional Sports Fes­ti­val held in Anu­rad­ha­pura last week, told the Daily Mir­ror that he has two tar­gets. The first is win­ning the Gold Medal at the South Asian Games (SAG) to be held from De­cem­ber 1 to 10 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The other is de­pend­ing on the tim­ings in Nepal, to qual­ify for the Olympic Games to be held in Ja­pan next year.

Dham­mika fin­ished with a time of 2 hrs. 29 min­utes, 16s. This is the third time that he has won the Marathon Cham­pi­onship at the Sports Fes­ti­val.

He won it in 2014, 2017 and the third was this year. He rep­re­sents the Sri Lanka Navy. He was born in Ma­haillu­pal­lama, Anu­rad­ha­pura.

Ac­cord­ing to his per­for­mance, the Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion of Sri Lanka (AASL) has de­cided that Dham­mika and sec­ond placed win­ner D.G.D. San­daruwan, the de­fend­ing Na­tional Cham­pion, will be in­cluded in the SAG Na­tional Pool.

Dham­mika says that he did not have com­pe­ti­tion this year and there were less par­tic­i­pants. “Be­cause of this I could not im­prove my tim­ing.

“My best tim­ing is 2 hours, 20 min­utes, 58s se­cur­ing tenth place. I achieved this at the Asian Marathon Cham­pi­onships 2017 in China”, he said.

“I was in­jured for one and a half years. Other than that due to the April 21 dis­as­ter, I had duty at a stretch as such I could not do any train­ing”.

The Marathon Sri Lanka record is 2 hours,13 min­utes, 47s set by Anu­radha In­dra­jith Cooray at the 2015 Lon­don Marathon.

In the his­tory of Sri Lanka Ath­let­ics the first Marathon Record is 2 hours, 22 min­utes 07s setup by Wi­malasena Per­era in 1967.

At the South Asian Games, the first Sri Lankan to win the Marathon Gold Medal was V.K. L. Sa­ma­ras­inghe at the 1989 Islamabad Games.

Pradeep Dham­mika Arunasiri

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