Sri Lanka team named for Olympics

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Team Sri Lanka for the London Games. The team captain is not in the picture as he is overseas training.

The National Olympics Committee today announced the final team to represent Sri Lanka at the London Olympics which begins later this month.

According to the media unit of the National Olympics Committee, badminton player Niluka Karunaratne will captain the Sri Lanka team while senior vice president Deva Henry will be the Chef de Mission.

Others in the Sri Lanka team are Heshan Unamboowe, Reshika Udugampola Anuradha Cooray, Christine Merrill, Thilini Jayasinghe and Mangala Samarakoon.

London 2012 will feature 36 different sports, of which 4 will include athletes from Sri Lanka. Those sports are: Athletics, Badminton, Shooting, and Swimming.

 

Profiles of some of the team members:

 

Athletics:

 

Anuradha Indrajith Cooray, Men’s Marathon

Anuradha will be competing in Marathon, one of three road events in the Athletics competition (the other events include the 20km Race Walk and the 50km Race Walk). The marathon distance is 26.2 miles, or 42.4 km, and is a grueling race throughout the streets of London, ending near Buckingham Palace in central London. The event will take place on 12th August.

This will be Anuradha’s 2nd Olympic performance, as he previously competed at the 2004 Games in the marathon event as well. He is one of two athletes on this year’s Sri Lankan team who has achieved qualification standards for 2012 (B-Standard Qualification Time). Every Olympic Committee may enter one athlete for each event on the athletes program if he/she has achieved the A or B-standard. Anuradha was able to secure his 2012 berth this way.

 

Badminton:

 

Niluka Karunaratne, Men’s Singles

Niluka will compete in the Men’s Singles as one of the 38 athletes in this event. The men’s singles event will take place at Wembley Arena, starting on 1st August 2012 in its preliminary stage: rounds of 16. Each player will play everyone else in their group and the winners will qualify for the knockout stage of the competition. This will whittle down to a final taking place on 5th August.

In addition to Anuradha Inrajith Cooray, Niluka is the only other Sri Lankan athlete to have achieved qualifying standards for London 2012. The Badminton World Federation ranking list is used to determine qualification. Niluka competed in various events and obtained a cumulative world ranking of 47th place. This ultimately led him to qualify for a prized position at the Olympic Games.

 

Shooting:

 

Mangala Samarakoon, Men’s 50m Rifle Prone

Olympic shooting falls into three disciplines: rifle, pistol, and shotgun. Mangala will represent Sri Lanka in the 50m Rifle Prone event, which means he will aim at a 10-ring target from 50m away, while in a lying down position. This event will take palace on 3rd August.

Only athletes who have attained the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) can be entered in an event on the Olympic shooting program. As per every sport, there is a specific quota of athletes for the Olympic Games. There are cases in which quota places are not used, in which case they can be re-allocated. This can happen in three ways: an unused quota place by the International Federation, the Host Country, or a Tripartite Commission Place. These spots are re-distributed to the National Olympic Committees with the largest number of MQS athletes that have not yet qualified for a quota place for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka was awarded a re-allocated quota place by the International Shooting Sport Federation, and as a top shooter in this country, Samarakoon secured the Olympic berth.

 

Swimming:

 

Heshan Unamboowe, Men’s 100m Backstroke

Reshika Udugampola, Women’s 100m Freestyle

Heshan is the recipient of an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, awarded by the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, allowing him the chance to train at the Nunawading Swimming Club in Melbourne, Australia. He was also selected as the male athlete from Sri Lanka for the Asian Swimming Talent Identification Project organized by the Olympic Council of Asia, providing further training opportunities in Bangkok. Reshika has also been provided with the rare opportunity to train abroad, and she has been spending time in Melbourne as well, working hard leading up to the Games.

For individual qualification to the Olympic Games, at least one of the FINA Bureau established Standard Entry Times must be achieved. These include either an Olympic Qualifying A-Time (OQT) or the easier FINA/Olympic Selection B-Time (OST). Universality places are a secondary chance for qualification awarded to Olympic Committees whose athletes have shown a high performance competency and achieved the minimum requirements. Both Heshan and Reshika’s performances at the 14th FINA World Championships led them to an invite by FINA to compete at the Olympic Games on universality places.

Preparations for the London Games are well on track and it looks like this Olympiad is going to be one to remember. The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka would like to offer official congratulations to the Sri Lanka Olympic Team on their achievements.