Sri Lanka’s Top Swimmers Compete for Doha Dream

Kyle Abeysinghe 1

In a major effort to secure positions for four skilled swimmers at the upcoming World Aquatic Championship in Doha, the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) is set to kick off a Selection Trial at the Sugathadasa Stadium Swimming Pool on Saturday, beginning at 8:30 AM and lasting for three hours.

Sri Lanka has a fantastic chance to send two male and two female swimmers to the esteemed World Aquatics Championship in Doha, scheduled from February 2 to 18, 2024. What adds to the excitement is the prospect that two out of these four swimmers might also qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

For this crucial Selection Trial, SLASU has set clear criteria, allowing only male swimmers with 650 or more FINA points and female swimmers with 600 FINA points to compete. Additionally, swimmers currently training in foreign countries will be considered based on their timing for the selection.

One notable participant grabbing attention is Dilanka Shehan, who underwent training in the USA for Open Water Swimming. SLASU is optimistic about his chances of securing a spot in the Open Water Championship, which is happening simultaneously with the World Aquatic Championship in Doha.

Due to many swimmers training overseas, the Selection Trial is expected to feature fewer than 15 participants. Among those training abroad are swimmers like Akalanka Peiris, Minagi Rupesinghe, Ramudi Samarakoon, and Dhinal Weerasinghe.

In the male category, the competition for the two available spots is expected to be intense, with contenders like Kyle Abeysinghe and Akalanka Peiris vying for selection. Akalanka is currently overseas. Matthew Abeysinghe will not be participating in this selection trial as he has already qualified from the Asian Games. On the female front, the battle for the two spots will feature swimmers such as Ramudi Samarakoon, Ganga Seneviratne, and Hiruki de Silva.

Notably, Ganga Seneviratne stands out as the highest FINA point earner among the female swimmers for Sri Lanka, scoring 696 FINA points in the 100m Backstroke at the Singapore Nationals. On the male side, Matthew Abeysinghe has an impressive 800 FINA Points for the 100m Freestyle in the World Aquatic Championship in Fukoka.

Akalanka Peiris boasts 757 FINA points in the 50m Backstroke at the Asian Games. Meanwhile, Ramudi Samarakoon, currently training in Hungary, has 634 FINA points in the 200m Breaststroke at the Nationals this year. The competition is heating up, and all eyes are on these talented swimmers as they strive to make their mark on the World Championship stage.

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