Swimmers Abeysinghe, Gaffoor recommended for Tokyo Olympics

Two champion swimmers Matthew Abeysinghe and Aniqah Gaffoor have been recommended by the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8.

According to a senior official of the SLASU, the names of Abeysinghe and Gaffoor have been recommended from the wildcard system for the Olympic Games.

Abeysinghe, the 25-year-old US based Sri Lankan swimmer set up a new record while winning seven Gold Medals at the last South Asian Games (SAF) held in Nepal in 2019.

He has already bagged 18 medals at the last two South Asian Games (10 at 2016 and eight at 2019), which is also a new record for a Sri Lankan swimmer.

Abeysinghe started swimming under the guidance of his father Manoj Abeysinghe, and is presently studying in Ohio State University in US.

Abeysinghe also represented Sri Lanka at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 100m freestyle and if he gets an opportunity this will be his second Olympic representation.

Abeysinghe first represented the country at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India where he set up a new Sri Lankan 400m freestyle record, which was previously held by Julian Bolling. He was the youngest swimmer to represent Sri Lanka as a 14-year-old at this meet.

In 2014, he had the opportunity to represent the country at the Summer Youth Olympics and the same year he participated at the FINA World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Abeysinghe was a member of the Sri Lanka 4x100m freestyle relay team, which qualified for the finals for the first time at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Gaffoor is also in contention for the Tokyo Olympics as the more experienced Kimiko Raheem has pulled out from the line-up due to injury issues.

Gaffoor is hoping to compete in the 100m butterfly event having won the Silver Medal and a Bronze Medal (100m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay) at the last SAF Games in Nepal.

She also represented the country at the 2019 World Aquatic Championships in South Korea.

Manoj Abeysinghe is most likely to accompany the two Sri Lankan swimmers as coach, subject to approval.

(Daily News)

Previous articleSri Lanka’s COVID death toll crosses 1,000
Next articleParliamentary debate on Port City Bill to begin today