2018 Dec 31
Amidst the plethora of tragedies and unbelievable incidents that occurred in Sri Lanka this year, what our beautiful island excelled the most in 2018 is sports. Thanks to a number of talented individuals and committed team members, sports in Sri Lanka has reached new heights this year really putting itself on the mark worldwide, whether it be field, track or even water sports.
So here’s Pulse taking you through the year, providing a glimpse of what our beautiful island and the citizens who represented it achieved this year.
Kicking off the year, the ODI Tri-series between Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka was held in Mirpur from the 15th to the 27th of January at which Sri Lanka won with a whopping lead of 79 runs.
The Ultimate Triathlon
Ironman 70.3 Colombo took place from the 22nd to the 25th of February for the first time in Sri Lanka. The triathlon covered 70.3 miles, as the name denotes and started at Galle Face Green with a 1.9km swim followed by a 90km cycling race and finally a 21.1km running course.
2018 Nidahas Trophy: Tri – Nations Tournament
Keeping things steady, the 2018 Nidahas Trophy: Tri – Nations Tournament was held from the 6th to the 18th of March, to celebrate 70 years of independence in Sri Lanka.
The Commonwealth Games
Sri Lanka competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games which took place at the Gold Coast in Australia from the 4th to the 15th of April. The Sri Lankan team consisted of 139 members out of which 80 were athletes competing in 13 different sports.
Canadian born Anne Marie Ondaatje became the first gymnast to represent Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Games making it Sri Lanka’s debut in the discipline of rhythmic gymnastics.
Sri Lanka mainly won silver and bronze medals in the disciplines of weightlifting and boxing.
Anusha Kodithuwakku Makes History for Boxing in Sri Lanka
Anusha Kodithuwakku made history by being the first Sri Lankan female to win a medal and qualify for the semifinal stage of the Women’s Boxing Event at the Commonwealth Games!
New heights with Netball
Sri Lanka won the invitational netball tournament hosted at the Sugathadasa Stadium in May this year, defeating Singapore, a team known to be Asian champions, with a closely contested score of 72-70!
On the 9th of September, Sri Lanka clinched the 2018 Asian Netball Championship title, defending Singapore with a nail biting score of 69-50. This was also Sri Lanka’s fifth championship title and netball player Tharjini Sivalingam claimed the player of the tournament award.
Johann on Everest
Although not technically a sport, the Lankan Johann Peries took Sri Lanka to new heights, as he successfully summitted Mount Everest in his second attempt this year.
Excelling in Basketball
The Men’s Basketball Team of Sri Lanka secured the title of South Asian Basketball Champions after a clean sweep at the SABA Championship in Bangladesh. Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh (65-34), Nepal (70-57), Maldives (82-57) and Bhutan (71-60). This Championship was the first qualifier for the FIBA Asia Cup which is a round-robin tournament to be held in 2021.
Equestrian in Sri Lanka
This year, Sri Lanka placed third in the Show Jumping category at the 2018 Longines Global Champions Tour, due to the hard work of Sri Lankan born rider Mathilda Karlsson.
More cricket wins!
During the South Africa tour of Sri Lanka for cricket, Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 199 runs in the second and final test match at the SSC Grounds in Colombo on the 23rd of July. With this win, Sri Lanka bagged the test series two – nil.
Conquering the world one step at a time, Hassan Esufally’s goal is to become the first Sri Lankan to run a marathon in all 7 continents! He became the first Sri Lankan to complete the ‘Big 5 Marathon’.
Carrom World Cup
Sri Lanka won the maiden Carrom World Cup title in the men’s team event defeating India, the defending champion at the 2018 Carrom World Cup and also secured 2nd place in the women’s team event.
Surfing the Waves!
September also saw a milestone for watersports in Sri Lanka. The first Surfing National Championship Series took place on the 14th and 15th of September at Arugam Bay’s Main Point where Lesitha Prabath emerged as the First National Surfing Champion of Sri Lanka.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka hosted the 2018 Asian Men’s Volleyball Challenge Cup which was also the inaugural edition on the 15th to the 21st of September. The Sri Lankan men’s national volleyball team placed 3rd in the inaugural tournament.
The Para Games
Sri Lanka recorded the best ever medal tally in an Asian Para Games, at its third inaugural edition held from the 6th to the 13th of October. 13 medals were secured at the event including 4 gold medals and Sri Lanka ranked 14th at the event.
Youth medalist – Parami Wasanthi
Parami Wasanthi Maristela won Sri Lanka’s first ever Youth Olympics medal; a bronze in the Girls’ 2000 Metre Steeplechase Athletics event during the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.
Esports in Sri Lanka
A new generation of elite athletes! 2018 saw the rise of Esports in Sri Lanka, gaining international recognition on renowned platforms.
Team Devils on Wheels at SHEMUD 2018
Shattering stereotypes across the country, the duo Ashvitha Wickrama and Maryse Elle Navaratne represented as Team Sri Lanka, The Devils on Wheels at Shemud 4X4 Women’s Challenge 2018, where they were placed second runners up once more!
The Deaf T20 World Cup
The Sri Lanka National Deaf Cricket team won their maiden Deaf T20 World Cup after emerging victorious at the 2018 Deaf T20 World Cup which took place from the 23rd to the 30th of November, defeating India by 36 runs.
Even more cricket wins!
On the 15th of December, the Sri Lanka Emerging Team defeated India by a close call of 3 runs and won the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, hosted by the Asian Cricket Council.
Lankan Bodybuilding Champion
Lucion Pushparaj, aptly known as the Black Lion of Asia became the first ever Sri Lanka to win the title of World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Champion, at the 10th WBPF World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship, held in Thailand, in the 100kg Men’s Category.
There you go Sri Lanka! A timeline of our nation’s sporting achievements this year.
Is there anything we missed out? Do let us know in the comments!