“We had a special plan for a special result” | Sunday Observer

“We had a special plan for a special result”

5 September, 2021
Dinesh Priyantha Herath with his coach Pradeep Nishantha
Dinesh Priyantha Herath with his coach Pradeep Nishantha

“We had a special plan and managed it very systematically from 2017. That is the success story behind this Tokyo Paralympics,” said National Paralympic Committee (NPC) President Lt Colonel Deepal Herath in an exclusive interview with the “Sunday Observer”.

The 16th Paralympics was the most successful Games for Sri Lanka who won a gold medal and a bronze medal. Both Javelin throwers Dinesh Priyantha Herath clinched the first ever gold with a world record while Samitha Dulan won the bronze medal.

"This was a remarkable performance and also created a new chapter for Sri Lanka sports. Discipline and dedication were always very high and they always focused on the Tokyo Games. We had a target to take more than one medal from the Tokyo Games and the athletes were able to prove it.

"I think our plan really worked out. Going back to the year 2017, I had to work as an NPC Sports Promoting officer. We started with a National pool after the National Para Games and we formed a Technical Committee to assess athletes performances.

"Major General Rajitha Ampemohotti who was the former NPC President handled the athletes Data records. We have conducted assignment tests for all athletes and coaches once in three months and explained their progress as well as their developments and weaknesses.

"Major General Ampemohotti kept track of athletes progress according to his Data reports which always. All athletes and coaches under this technical committee and some times we had to take a tough decision to change the coaches benefit of the athletes' development," said Lt Col Herath.

"Our first task was the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakartha where we won 15 medals including six golds the highest at the Asian meet. The results proved a success of our plans and we all realized that Assignment tests once in three months was very important to go forward," revealed Lt Col Herath.

In 2019 at the World Para athletic championships in Dubai, Dinesh Priyantha Herath won the Javelin Throw T-46 silver medal while Samitha Dulan ended with a fourth place finish and both of them got direct qualifications for the Paralympics.

Herath was injured at this meet but recovered well in time.

Currently the Paralympians are with a 40-member pool and are focussed on the next Asian Para Games and the next Paralympics in Paris 2024.

"The commitment of the athletes, coaches and NPC officials have combined to produce maximum results and we can all hope to look forward to future events with a good plan like we did for the Tokyo Games," said the NPC President.