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Arduous journey for Lankan athletes

Sri Lankan athletes will be travelling for nearly 24 hours to take part in the coming National inter-State athletics championships in Patiala and help the Indian women’s 4x100m relay team qualify for next month’s Olympics.

A few days ago, Sri Lanka Athletics had said that it would not be sending its sprint relay team to India but there was a last-minute change of mind, probably under pressure from the Athletics Federation of India.

‘Went through hell’

“We are sending the women’s relay team too and our athletes will be reaching Delhi early on Thursday.

“We went through hell to send this team because we want to help India,” Prema Pinnewela, the general secretary of Sri Lanka Athletics, told The Hindu from Colombo on Wednesday.

“Because of the flight restrictions, our athletes will be travelling for nearly 24 hours. They have taken a Doha to Delhi flight and from there they will be flying to Chandigarh. They have already reached Doha.”

The Indian women’s 4x100m relay team is currently in the 20th spot in the Road to Tokyo rankings and since there are only two slots available in the 16-team event, India has to post a good time to make the cut.

Postpone women’s 800m

The SLA secretary also revealed that he had requested the AFI to postpone the women’s 800m, by a day, to June 28 to help its Nimali Waliwarsha, who is 57th (only 48 berths available for Tokyo), to climb up the rankings ladder.

The inter-State Nationals, the last qualification meet for the Olympics, will be held from June 25 to 29.

The qualification doors for Tokyo close on June 29.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 7:16:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/arduous-journey-for-lankan-athletes/article34938946.ece

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