Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chandrika’s impressive feats brighten country’s prospects in Asian Games 2014

Sprinter Chandrika Subashini is making steady progress towards her personal best after overcoming a bad patch plagued with sicknesses. With a busy international schedule coming up, her recent form indicates that she could be Sri Lanka’s brightest prospect in athletics in 2014 where the country will compete in at least three major International Multi Sports events.

Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Lusophony Games are some of the major international sports events that Sri Lanka will be competing in 2014. Going by her recent form, Subashini is the leading contender in the female category in track and field, having overcome a rather disappointing phase.

Subashini registered a record breaking feat in Malaysia last week. She clocked 52.86 seconds to win the gold medal with a new meet record mark in the women’s 400 metres at the Malaysian Open Athletics Championships. She also took gold in the 200 metres with a time of 24.10 seconds. Currently, the sub 53 seconds is the medal winning range in the women’s 400 metres at Asian level. The gold medal of the recently held Asian Athletics Championship in Pune was decided for a feat of 52.49 seconds. While China’s Zhao Yanmin won gold with that timing, the silver and bronze medalists took more than 53 seconds to finish.

However at the Asian Games the competition will be much fierce than it is at Asian Championships. Yet there is all likelihood of medals being decided for sub 53 seconds performances. Except at the Busan Asian Games (2002) 400 metres, which was the fastest race of the Asian Games history, with Sri Lanka’s Damayanthi Dharsha establishing a games record (51.13 secs), silver and bronze medals had been decided by performances between 52.10 to 53.00 seconds during the last decade.

The former Senanayake MV, Madampe athlete has a personal best of 52.36 seconds in the 400 metres. However, she has not come closer to that mark after producing it in 2008. The closest the Sri Lanka Air Force athlete came to that mark was when she clocked yet another sub 53 second performance at the World Military Games. After coming closer to the personal best there was anticipation that she would go on to qualify for Olympics. But it eluded her and with hurdler Christine Merrill improving her personal best and Sri Lanka record in the run up to the Olympics the latter was selected as country’s wild card entrant. As admitted by Chandrika herself she had been unlucky whenever she was getting back to her form.

This year she was gearing up to do well when she was hit by dengue. She had to pull out after the first leg of the Asian Grand Prix and on her return she could not do well.

She found her rhythem back at the National Sports Festival where she was declared the best athlete in the female category. In a repeat performance she also won the best athlete’s title at the National Athletics Championship 2013.

Going by present standards she is the best female athlete that Sri Lanka has.

Undoubtedly the best sprint talent to emerge after the retirement of reputed sprinters Susanthika Jayasinghe and Damayanthi Dharsha, the diminutive athlete has been carrying the hopes of Sri Lankans at international competitions though her impressive feats have not been able to garner the support that many of her Sri Lankan counterparts have received.

Recently, the Sports Ministry awarded a car to Sri Lanka’s national pole vault champion for improving a lowly placed Sri Lankan record in the women’s pole vault. While the pole vaulter took away a car, Subashini who was adjudged the best athlete of the same meet had to be content with a motor bike. A few moons ago authorities awarded a new house to a female sprinter who had won a gold at a regional meet. She had neven been able to challenge Subashini at local or international level.

Despite her performances not being properly recognized by local authorities, Subashini has continued to impress and continues to remain country’s best female sprinter.

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