The joys of Dilanka Isura Kumara’s bronze medal were short-lived for the Sri Lankan contingent. The crisis-hit country suffered further embarrassment after two members reportedly went missing after Day 5’s action. While their names are not public yet, initial accounts suggest that a female judoka and manager of the judo team were the escapees. The Sri Lankan camp has notified the relevant authorities, with Birmingham Police pursuing the runaway duo. 

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Judging by reports, the judoka and manager made their exits after her first-round loss on Monday. As per the Commonwealth Games‘ official website, the only Lankan female judoka in action on Monday was Chamila Dilani Marappulige. The 31-year-old suffered a crushing 0-10 loss to Welshwoman Ashleigh-Anne Barnikel in the 48-kg category.

The reasons behind their escape are unknown, but it left the 110-member strong contingent shook. The Sri Lankan Chef-de-Mission Maj. Gen (retired) Dampath Fernando has taken drastic measures to prevent more such incidents. The passports of all members of the Lankan cohort have been seized and lie in Major Dampath’s possession.   

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Along with 110 participants, the island nation has sent 51 officials to the Birmingham Games. The Judo team comprises three men- Priyankara Wimukthi (60 kg), Chamara Repiyallage (73 kg) and Rajitha Pushpakumara (81 kg)- and two women- the runaway Marappulige and Hiruni Imesha Withana (78 kg). All athletes and officials were granted a 180-day visa for the Commonwealth Games, but a couple will possibly stay on for longer.  

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Indian judoka Sushila Devi Likmabam won silver in the 48-kg category, losing to Michaela Whitebooi in the gold-medal clash. The Manipuri defeated Harriet Bonface and Priscilla Morand en route to the finals but narrowly lost to her South African counterpart. The 27-year-old has two Commonwealth silvers and a gold at the South Asian Games, making her India’s most successful judoka.