Italy-based Sri Lankan sprinter Yupun Abeykoon once again performed extremely well when he finished fourth in the Men’s 100m event with a time of 10.16s at the Florence Diamond League Athletic Championship in Rome, yesterday.
Abeykoon, who competed in the number one lane, missed the Bronze Medal with 0.001s following a very close end to this race, which was eventually decided by a photo-finish.
According to the photo-finish, both third placed runner Emmanuel Matadi (Liberia) and Abeykoon ended with an identical time, but Matadi finished 0.001s ahead to take the Bronze Medal in a thriller.
This was the first time that a Sri Lankan athlete had the chance to take part in the Diamond League, where most of the elite athletes compete.
“All athletes competing in this meet are ranked above the top 35 in the World Rankings and Abeykoon’s fourth-place finish is a creditable performance,” a senior official of Sri Lanka Athletic (SLA) told the Daily News yesterday.
Before this meet, Abeykoon was ranked 75 in the World Rankings and, following this excellent performance, he was able to obtain a total of 1,292 points and moved to 15th place in the Olympic qualifying ranking list.
South African athlete Akani Simbine was placed first with 10.08s, while German athlete Chijindu Ujah with a time of 10.10s was placed second.
However, two top-class athletes, Michael Rodgers (World Rank 6) of the US and Ivory Coast athlete Arthur Cisse (World Rank 13), were placed fifth and sixth respectively in this race.
The top 52 athletes in the World Rankings will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and the final date for qualification is June 29.
Earlier, Abeykoon recorded this season’s best time of 10.15s, which is the South Asian and national record while the Olympic qualifying stand is 10.05s.