By Inshaf Caffoor
Sri Lanka’s star swimmer and South Asian Games medalist Matthew Abeysinghe qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics when he clocked 50.53 in the Men’s 100m Freestyle event at the Hong Kong Swimming Circuit championships creating history to be the first ever to achieve an Olympic standard timing.
The Sri Lankan national swimming champion participating in the final qualification event ahead of the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics finished the 100 m freestyle event with a timing of 50.53 seconds to get his qualification ticket to the games. The minimum qualifying time for the event was 50.70 seconds and Matthew came in 17 milliseconds ahead.
For the past few decades, all of Sri Lankan swimmers have found their way into the Olympics via the wild card system. This is the first occasion where a swimmer from Sri Lanka has gained direct entry to the Olympics in the sport of swimming and it marks a start of a new journey for the twenty-year-old Abeysinghe.