Twenty Nine Year old weightlifter Kurukulasooriyage Anton Sudesh Peiris bagged the Silver for men’s weightlifting in the 62kg category and Sri Lanka’s first Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow. Peiris hails from Sandalankawa in the Kurunegala District in Sri Lanka. He missed the gold medal by just three kilograms to Cyprus’ Dimitris Minasidis. Peiris’ Silver medal on Friday took Sri Lanka’s all-time medal’s tally at Commonwealth Games to 13.
Peiris who was also the Lankan flag bearer at the opening ceremony took his second commonwealth medal with this effort. Earlier at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi Sudesh won a bronze medal in the 62 kg event.
On Friday evening Sudesh had a snatching 123kg and clean and jerk of 150kg. He missed the gold medal by just three kilograms to Cyprus’ Dimitris Minasidis who won the men’s 62kg category with snatching 125kg and clean and jerking 151kg for a total of 276kg. Vaipana Ioane of Samoa claimed bronze with 271kg (115+156).
After winning the first medal for his country at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Peiris wished that at least this time his achievement would be given the due recognition.
“Last time when I won a bronze medal at New Delhi nobody back in Sri Lanka knew of what I did. We train hard with a lot of anticipation but our efforts are hardly given the exposure,” Peiris overjoyed with happiness but with great dejection told the Sunday Times.
Peiris states that it has become habitual and ordinary in Sri Lanka to have folks around at successes and only a handful during hardship. Alumni of St. Mary’s College Negombo, Peiris’ Silver medal on Friday took Sri Lanka’s all-time medal’s tally at Commonwealth Games to 13. Weightlifting has won three Commonwealth Games medals for Sri Lanka. Chinthana Geethal Vidanage who won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Melbourne in 2006 will be one of the weightlifters who will compete today. He will contest in the 69kg category.
Meanwhile the Sri Lanka table tennis players who competed on Friday achieved their best rankings at Commonwealth Games. They moved to ninth from 13th. Lalith Priyantha, the table tennis coach told the Sunday Times that he is pleased that the local paddlers were able to reach their best in rankings.
Track and field events of the Games are set to begin today and nine athletes will compete on behalf of Sri Lanka. The tenth Sri Lankan athlete, high jumper Manjula Kumara’s visa was rejected by the United Kingdom.
Manju Wanniarachchi, who served a two-year ban after failing an anti doping test after winning a gold medal at the New Delhi Games in 2010, will be competing in boxing tomorrow. Wanniarachchi retired after he was stripped off the gold medal he won, but made a comeback after three years.
The Sri Lankan contingent, consisting of 104 athletes and 47 officials is the 15th largest group among 71 countries taking part in Glasgow. The Ministry of Sports has spent an average of over Rs. 200,000 per individual and the whole expenditure on the group is estimated at Rs. 30million. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage commenting on this stated that despite Sri Lanka’s chances in winning medals are minimal, the objective was to give the athletes the much needed international exposure.