Final call of duty for ex-soldier Herath? | Sunday Observer

Final call of duty for ex-soldier Herath?

12 June, 2021
Priyantha Herath
Priyantha Herath

Priyantha Herath who participates in para sports and who was the only bronze medal winner in the T/46 category at the Rio Paralympic Games, is once again very ambitiously awaiting the day to participate in the Tokyo Paralympic Games too.

At the age of 35 years he knows very well that this could be his last opportunity to win a gold medal in his favourite event, the javelin throw.

The former soldier Herath who hails from Anuradhapura was injured in his left hand during the civil war against the LTTE in 2008 and later took to throwing the javelin only in 2012. He came under the watchful eyes of coach Pradeep Nishantha who guided him to stardom, a commendable achievement in such a short period.

Herath said that the postponement of the Tokyo Paralympic Games by one year would in a way be unfavourable for him. However, he has been training on a small field near his home in Anuradhapura despite all the restrictions on movements of the people. He did this to maintain his fitness levels.

But Herath has now been moved to Torrington Square with the pool of para athletes for further training.

“I am achieving a distance of almost 63 metres during these training sessions in Colombo which is considered good progress.

“Now that I know that I am going to Tokyo I am ambitious of performing well and aiming for the gold medal,” said Herath.

Herath is proud to have won a gold medal at the Asian Para Games and silver medals at the World Championship held in Dubai in 2017 and 2019.

Meanwhile, the newly elected president of the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Lt. Col. Deepal Herath said that so far five athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympic Games to be held from August 24 to September 5.

“Rower Mahesh Jayakody made his qualification mark at the Asian and Oceania qualifier held in Tokyo recently. Samith Dulan has qualified for the javelin throw F44 event and was the second athlete to qualify after Priyantha Herath. There is also an archer and an athlete who are awaiting qualification,” said Lt. Col. Herath.

“Besides these five athletes we are hoping to have another five or six athletes selected by way of wild cards to participate at the Paralympics. These athletes are ranked between one to twelve in the world and the selection will be made by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

“We have a pool of 16 athletes who are currently in residential training at Torrington Square and hope four or five of them will get the wildcard,” said Lt. Col. Herath.