Lankan athletes shine in Asian GP

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

With Chinese athletes sidelined due to the SARS scare, Sri Lankan players have reaped financial rewards at the first two meets of the four-leg 2003 Asian Grand

Lankan athletes shine in Asian GP

Colombo:

With Chinese athletes sidelined due to the SARS scare, Sri Lankan players have reaped financial rewards at the first two meets of the four-leg 2003 Asian Grand Prix athletics series. Sri Lankan athletes have accumulated US$40,750 so far from the series opener at Hyderabad, India and at yesterday's meet at Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo. With two more stops in Bangkok and Manila, Sri Lankans are likely to earn more than US$50,000 between them. And regional athletics authorities are hoping there will be more on offer next year if the series attracts major sponsors. The current prize money may not compare with European or IAAF Grand Prix standards or the earnings of Sri Lankan cricketers, but it is big windfall to local athletes who get limited opportunities in the big league. The Lankan athletes have already earned more prize money than ever. Olympic bronze-medal winning sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe has already earned three times what she received for getting the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Athens, 1997. Jayasinghe, along with Asian Games triple gold medallist Damayanthi Darsha and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sriyani Kulawansa, have taken places in a few IAAF ratified European and Asian Grand Prix meets during the last few years but they have earned marginally. Jayasinghe and male sprinter Rohan Pradeep Fernando have earned US$6,000 each from the current series and stand a good chance of doubling that next week when the Asian Athletics Association's circuit winds up in Thailand and the Philippines this week. The Asian series, which was launched last year with three meets, has been expanded to four cities with a Sri Lankan leg included for the first time. The Asian track and field governing body offers prize money up to US$3,000 for a winner, US$1,250 for runner-up and US$500 for a third place at a GP meet. (AP)



Topics : Athletics
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