Matthew Abeysinghe, competing in the Men's 100m Butterfly final, bagged a total of three gold medals on Day 1
By Naushad Amit in Nepal
Ace swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe, who holds the record for the highest number of gold medals won by a Sri Lankan athlete at the South Asian Games (SAG), began his quest by bettering his own record and bagged three gold medals on the first day of Swimming Competitions of the 13th SAG at the International Sports Complex in Satdobato, Kathmandu yesterday.
Abeysinghe added three more gold medals to his increasing collection by winning the Men’s 200m Freestyle final and the Men’s 100m Butterfly, before teaming up with Akalanka Peiris, Stephan Perera, and Kavindra Nugawela to take custody of the Men’s 4x100mFreestyle Relay event to complete a triple treat on the fifth day of the 13th SAG.
Competing under protest, due to the appalling conditions, which includes the below-average temperature of the water of the swimming pool, the Lankan swimmers did well to complete the first day with a tally of seven medals. Besides the three gold medals claimed by Abeysinghe, Sri Lanka bagged a silver and three bronze medals.
Abeysinghe was unconquerable by other competitors, who already knew that the gold medal was not theirs when the Sri Lanka ace swimmer hit the waters, which was 2 to 3 degrees below the temperature standards of FINA, the World Governing Body for Swimming.
Abeysinghe clocked 1 minute 48.92 seconds to claim the Men’s 200m Freestyle gold and finish ahead of the two Indians who clinched the silver and bronze medals. Kushagra Rawat bagged the silver with a timing of 1 minute and 49.64 seconds, while his team-mate Ananda Anil Kumar finished third with a timing of 1 minute and 51.55 seconds.
In the Men’s 100m Butterfly final Abeysinghe clocked 53.65 seconds to win the gold, followed by India’s Mihir Ambre, who won the silver with a timing of 53.74 seconds. Bangladesh’s Nobi Nahid bagged the bronze medal finishing the race at 55.25 seconds.
The Sri Lanka 4x100m Freestyle team clocked 3 minutes and 19.07 second to win the gold medal ahead of India and Bangladesh. India clocked 3 minutes and 20.50 seconds to claim the silver, while Bangladesh bagged the bronze medal completing the course in 3 minutes and 20.50 seconds.
Despite the Sri Lanka swimming team management’s negative response on competing after inspecting the overall standards of the venue, the organisers went ahead with the competition, as their Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team clinched the silver medal. The Sri Lanka team that won the silver medal included Bhakthi Karunasena, Sandu Savindu Jayaweera, Ganga Seneviratne and Hiruki de Silva.
The women’s relay team clocked 4 minutes and 00.18 seconds behind India, who won the gold with a timing of 3 minutes and 55.17 seconds, Nepal claimed the bronze medal coming in at 4 minutes and 07.97 seconds.
In addition Sri Lanka swimmers claimed three bronze medals in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke, Women’s 200m Breaststroke and Women’s 100m Butterfly finals.
Kiran Jayasinghe won the bronze medal in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke while Ramudi Samarakoon bagged finished third in the Women’s 200m Butterfly. Aniqah Gaffoor won the bronze medal in Women’s 100m Butterfly final.