Vale of Aylesbury runner Cooray wants to complete Olympic hat-trick at Rio 2016

Anuradha Cooray running the London 2012 Olympic marathon Picture: Anupa Madawela
Anuradha Cooray running the London 2012 Olympic marathon Picture: Anupa Madawela

Vale of Aylesbury runner Anuradha Cooray says he wants to make it a hat-trick of Olympic marathons by competing at Rio in 2016.

The popular Greggs bakery worker will go back to his day job of preparing pasties and sausage rolls for the people of Aylesbury this Thursday.

But he insists after a few weeks of rest he will be back in training again and building towards an Olympic marathon farewell in Brazil in four years’ time.

Still on a high after competing against the world’s best and placing 55th from 85 finishers as well as enjoying the magnificent closing ceremony, Cooray said it has been the ‘time of his life’.

“The whole thing has just been wicked, it has been the best thing ever, absolutely brilliant, no-one expected it to turn out so good, it was just quality!” Cooray said.

While the former Sri Lankan soldier was full of praise for the games and the closing ceremony, he did not have such kind words for the marathon race itself.

“The course really was not very good at all. It was stupid to be honest. There were sharp turns every few metres and I said before (in last week’s Herald sport) the times would be slower and they were,” he said.

“They (organisers) were more interested in how it looked on TV and the media than the athletes and the actual race and course itself.

“All the runners struggled, you saw that with Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, the fastest marathon runner in the world, he couldn’t even keep up his pace and came third.

“So all in all I am proud of what I did, I’m a part-time athlete and I am happy with where I finished.”

Cooray, who has competed the 2004 Athens Games and now London, was cheered on by a number of his fellow Vale of Aylesbury club members in London and several spectators from the town as well. He even found time early on to give someone in the crowd a high five.

The whole occasion was enough to help him make up his mind to complete a unique hat-trick of Games in Rio.

He added: “The crowd was amazing, the best I’ve ever seen, there was constant noise.

“Now I just want to have a rest and then I will work towards making Rio my last one.”