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Sunday, 25 December 2011

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Champion athlete Gnanasena Banda in sorry plight, needs help

ATHLETICS: Gnanasena Banda (S.M.G.) - a product of Wickremabahu College, Gampola who joined the Ministry of Sports in 1972, became a National Athletic Coach and quite a prominent person. He followed an advanced athletic coaching course at the Mainz University. West Germany and after that turned out to be quite a prominent coach.


Champion athlete Gnanasena Banda needs help. Picture by Upananda Jayasundera - Kandy Sports Special Corr

The course in West Germany was around nine months duration and with the experienced gained, he had the privilege of coaching Harijan Ratnayake and Asoka Jayasundera - both 400 metres hurdlers and champions and figured prominently at international meets.

Banda was one of Sri Lanka's athletic coaches at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

He trained Harijan Ratnayake and later Ratnayake became a champion at the Asian Championships held in Indonesia in the 400 metres hurdles event.

When Banda went over for the Olympic Games as coach in 2000, the other coaches were Derwin Perera and Sunil Gunawardena. Susanthika Jayasinghe won a medal for Sri Lanka in the 200 metres event and this was after Duncan White's medal winning effort many years back. Susanthika Jayasinghe was trained by Sunil Gunewardena.

Banda became quite prominent as a schoolboy at Wickremabahu College, Gampola. He played cricket, football and also participated in athletics. He captained the cricket team in 1965 and in football, he represented Gampola Rovers for 15 years.

While still in school Gnanasena Banda became a prominent athlete and he came a close second to D.K. Podimahattaya of the Sri Lanka Army in the 100 metres event at the National Championship in 1962.

In that meet Podimahattaya equalled the Sri Lanka record timing of 10.08 second in the 100 metres.

Then later on, Gnanasena Banda showed up prominently at the All-Island Government Services Meet and came first in the 100, 200 metres and also won triple jump event in 1976 after joining the Ministry of Sports. Earlier, he had set a new timing of 22.09 seconds at the Central Province Athletic Meet in 1967.

The feats of Gnanasena Banda were done in the good old days when he was in his prime.

But now, Banda was forced to retire from active participation and coaching after he suffered a "stroke".

He is helpless these days and would be somewhat happy if some financial assistance can come his way to tide over the difficult period he is in.

He can be contacted at residence: 081-2352095 or Mobile: 0777-665686.

 

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