Sports

Yupun – Third among the best

By Chathura Ranasinghe

Yupun talks to ‘The Morning Sports’ after grand feat

I am really happy to compete today (on Tuesday) with world’s best runners at present. They are really good sprinters.

Other than the Italian competitor (Freider Fornasar who finished at 10.61), each and every one of the others is a champion.

My only hope is to improve my timing better in the future events that I am going to take part in”

Top three to the front. (from left) World Junior Silver Medallist Filippo (2nd / Italy / 10.07 sec.), Commonwealth Games defending champion Akani Simbine (1st / South Africa / 10.02 sec.), and South Asia’s record holder Yupun Abyeykoon (3rd / Sri Lanka / 10.24 sec.) running at the 2020 Gala Dei Castelli at Bellinzona, Switzerland

Mudiyanselage Yupun Abeykoon of Sri Lanka has brought credit to his motherland for a second time in eight days.

On Tuesday (15) in Switzerland, he ran his pet 100 metres sprint event in 10.24 seconds to win third place. That was at ‘the 2020 Gala dei Castelli’ which is a World Athletics Bronze Level Series meet held at Stadio Comunale Bellinzona, Bellinzona, Switzerland.

Yupun’s timing was one-tenth of a second slower than that of his South Asian record-breaking run (10.16 seconds) made last Tuesday (8) at ‘the Anhalt 2020 competition’ held in Paul Greifzu Stadium, Dessau, Germany. But what he ran yesterday was a more competitive race that featured priced sprinters of world stage at present.

Yupun among top rivals

Among the leading participants this Tuesday were Akani Simbine of South Africa who is the defending champion of Commonwealth Games. He won first place at 10.02 seconds. Then there was World Junior Silver Medallist Filippo Tortu from Italy who clocked 10.07 seconds to become second on Tuesday.

Notably, the 2012 London Summer Olympics 100m finalist Churandy Martina of Netherlands also took part in the event on Tuesday. He finished sixth with a time of 10.54 seconds. In 2012 London semi-finals where Martina improved his personal best to run at 9.91, Justin Gatlin ran a 9.82. In the final, Martina placed sixth, behind Usain Bolt, posting a 9.94.

First time after 1990s

Reports from Switzerland revealed the biggest focus before the race was on Simbine, Tortu, and Abeykoon. The three ran ‘together’ close to each other and they were almost together up until 50 metres of the race.

It is reportedly for the first time that a Sri Lanka athlete has run alongside top contemporary European and African sprinters and placed among top three after the decade of 1990.