South Asia's fastest sprinter Yupun Abeykoon out of Asian Games
Based in Italy, Yupun suffered the injury at the start of the season. An official said they are hopeful he will be at his best during the 2024 Games.
COLOMBO: South Asia's fastest man Yupun Abeykoon has withdrawn from the Asian Games due to a hamstring injury. The Sri Lankan sprinter was considered a medal contender in 100m and 200m events at the quadrennial event scheduled to begin in Hangzhou, China on September 23.
"Very unfortunate information we received yesterday from Yupun. He informed us that he is not going to participate at the Asian Games as he has not recovered fully from the hamstring injury he suffered six months back," Palitha Fernando, Athletics Association of Sri Lanka, told this daily during a meeting at his office in Colombo.
The sprinter won a 100m bronze medal at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games finishing the race in 10.14 seconds. In June 2022, he became the first South Asian to run a 100m race under 10 seconds. His timing of 9.96s is the fastest time ever recorded by a South Asian, the fourth-fastest by an Asian.
"He has written to the Athletics Association and also spoken to me about it. He said he could turn up and run but could not win a medal because of the injury. Earlier he did not compete at the World Championships, or Asian Championships to focus on the Asian Games but this unfortunate development meant now he has to miss it," added Fernando.
He was the brightest hope for the Island Nation to win their first track and field medal at the quadrennial event since 2006 when Susanthika Jayasinghe (silver in 100m and bronze in 200m) and the men’s relay quartet of Rohan Pradeep Kumara, Rohitha Pushpakumara, Prasanna Amarasekara and Asoka Jayasundara won a bronze in the Doha Asiad.
Based in Italy, Yupun suffered the injury at the start of the season. Fernando said they are hopeful he will be at his best during the 2024 Games. "He is now targetting the Paris Olympics. We are confident that he will participate in a couple of competitions in the European circuit to get ready for the Olympics," he signed off.