Sri Lanka’s pole vault sensation Anitha Jegathesewaran failed to maintain her reputation as she painted a poor picture at the All-Island National School Games Athletic Championships which continued at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy yesterday.
The 19-year-old athlete from Mahajana College Jaffna came into the limelight by creating a new Sri Lanka record in the Women’s pole vault event at the recent National Sports Festival worked off at the Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna. However, this time she was completely off colour and managed to clear only 3.30 metres in the Girls Under-21 event in contrast to her record breaking performance of 3.41 metres at the National Sports Festival.
Even then, she had the satisfaction of winning the Gold Medal and also established a new meet record while erasing the previous best of 3.17 metres held by A. Pavithra of Arunodaya College Jaffna in 2014. Earlier, Anitha warmed-up for this event by securing the third place in the Girls Under-20 hurdles final. But she was completely disappointed of her failure in her pet event and later vowed to bounce back with an improved performance in her next outing.
“I am really sad and disappointed with this effort but I will definitely comeback strongly and prove my true potential in the coming week’s” emphasized a tearful Anitha who has also qualified to enter the Sabaragamuwa University in Physical Science.
Anitha of course began her campaign for the pole vault title under pressure and was not one hundred per cent fit as she was suffering from a slight fever. However, now there is a strong feeling as to whether her performance at the National Sports Festival in Jaffna was just a fluke and also whether the wind-gate did help her to go beyond the Sri Lankan record on that occasion.
Meanwhile, Coach Sinniah Subashkaran said that Anitha was recovering from a serious bout of fever and was unable to produce her best in the pole vault final. He also said that Anitha’s participation in the Girls Under-20 hurdles event was only considered as a warm-up for her pet event and not with the intention of winning a medal. Anitha was later scheduled to compete in the Girls Under-20 javelin throw final.
The second meet record of the day was set up by Anurudha Srimal of Berrewaerts College Kandy who produced a time of 13.6 seconds in the Under-15 Boys 100 metres final. He bettered the previous record of 13.73 seconds held by Sudara Weerakoon of Wickremashila MV Giriulla in 2004.
This five-day meet has already come into severe criticism from various categories for poor organizing and the latest setback was the non availability of even the basic facilities for media personnel.