Niluka Karunaratne becomes 6th Sri Lankan to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

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National badminton champion Niluka Karunaratne will be representing Sri Lanka in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.Sri Lanka’s number one shuttler Niluka Karunaratne yesterday qualified to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games after maintaining a superior World Ranking during the last few months.

The two-time Olympic shuttler is the 6th Sri Lankan to qualify for the major international multi-sport event pushed back by the COVID-19 outbreak last year.

In February this year, the 36-year-old announced his retirement from all local events but continued to eye international arena with Tokyo Olympics in mind.

The announcement came shortly after Karunaratne claimed his 17th title at the 2020 National Badminton Championship.

Hailing from Galle, Karunaratne took up badminton at the age of 08. He received his primary and secondary education at Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda and Royal College, Colombo. Karunaratne won his 17th title at the 2020 National Badminton Championships, prompting the announcement.

Karunaratne was also the captain of the Sri Lankan contingent to the 2012 Summer Olympics.Claiming the first international win in 2011 at the Puerto Rico International, Sri Lanka’s most decorated shuttler has bagged a total of 10 international titles so far.

Sri Lanka’s most decorated shuttler has a total of ten international titles after winning her debut in 2011 at Puerto Rico International. Karunaratne also served as the captain of the Sri Lankan Olympic team in 2012.

This will be his third appearance in the Olympic Games after his participation in 2012 (London) as Captain and in 2016 (Rio de Janeiro) respectively.

He defeated the Japanese number one (World Rank No.8) and qualified for the pre quarter-finals (best of 16) at the 2012 London Olympics. Niluka who is currently ranked 41st in the Men’s Singles, has also represented the country in Commonwealth Games on five occasions and the Asian Badminton Championships on two occasions. (D.R)

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