Wanniarachchi ends Sri Lanka’s 60-year wait

NEW DELHI, October 10, 2010 (AFP) – Manju Wanniarachchi on Sunday guaranteed Sri Lanka their first Commonwealth Games boxing medal in 60 years after easing through to the semi-finals on points. The 30-year-old saw of Kenya’s Nicholas Okoth in the bantamweight quarter-finals, putting him through to the last-four and a guaranteed bronze.

“This is Sri Lanka’s first boxing medal since 1950, so this is great for us. It is historic,” said manager Dian Gomes.

“He (Wanniarachchi) has come a long way. In the 2006 Commonwealth Games he lost in the quarter-finals. So finally he is among medals for his country.”

Wanniarachchi, who lost in the final of the Commonwealth Championships to England’s Iain Weaver earlier this year, was virtually speechless.

“I am so happy that I am not able to explain anything. I will give my best in the next bout.”

He takes on Botswana’s Tirafalo Seoko, who beat Namibia’s Sakaria Lukas.

“I picked up the pace (scoring eight points in the third and final round), but my opponent didn’t have many weak points,” said Lukas. The other bantamweight semi-final will be contested between Sean McGoldrick of Wales and Louis Julie of Mauritius.

“I am reall