Journey of Dinesh Priyantha Herath | Sunday Observer
The Golden Spear:

Journey of Dinesh Priyantha Herath

12 September, 2021

The journey of Dinesh Priyantha Herath, who made the Sri Lankan name shine before the whole world was not a journey on a glittering carpet. It was full of thorns, pains, and dedication. His endurance and immense courage were what made this journey a success. We heard the encouraging story behind the journey to the gold medal in Paralympics 2020, from Dinesh’s beloved wife Ishanka Madhuwanthi.

Born in a small village called Kagama in Ipalogama, Anuradhapura, Dinesh was educated at Kagama Dhatusena Maha Vidyalaya. Ishanka Madhuwanthi is now very proud of Dinesh’s journey when recollecting memories of his rough path to the Paralympics 2020.

Ishanka was known to him since she was a child because Dinesh was her cousin. They became lovers when she was at the age of 16. However, Ishanka’s dad didn’t like it when they first found out about this love. Yet, with utmost hope that one day this love story will win, both Dinesh and Ishanka let their bond get much stronger.

Dinesh Priyantha Herath won the first-ever Paralympic gold medal for Sri Lanka in the javelin throw event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on August 30. It was a javelin throw in the F46 category. It is of course the greatest achievement a para-athlete can achieve in his life. Dinesh achieved this victory as a result of immense commitment. None of this was built overnight. The gold medal at the Paralympics is the result of an infinite sacrifice. This is how the road to all that was paved.

“Dinesh wanted a job with his economic and family background at the time, so I did not dare to oppose his decision. He joined the Army in 2005 with my blessings” Ishanka said.

As time passed by, the love birds received blessings from their parents too, including the parents of Ishanka.

“With our parents’ blessings, we got married in April 2008. At that time Dinesh was serving in Kilinochchi. In November of the same year, it was learned that he had been hit by a mortar during the humanitarian operation in Kilinochchi. As a result, his left arm was injured. I will never forget the moment that I saw him injured.”

Dinesh received treatment for the injury for about four years. Then in 2012, he was selected for the Gajaba Regiment Para Sports Team.

He has been competing in Army Para competitions since then in sports such as javelin throw and put shot and he finally left the Army in 2014. Then he participated in the 2016 Rio Paralympics and bagged the bronze medal showcasing his immense potential as an athlete.

Later he won a silver medal at the 2017 London World Paralympic Championships, a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Para Athletics Championships in Indonesia and a silver medal at the 2019 Dubai World Para Athletics Championships. After various titles and accolades, his aim was the Paralympics gold medal. With that determination, he competed in the javelin throw event at the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Dinesh’s mother is very happy with the fame that her eldest son has brought to the country. Also, his sister and brother and relatives in the village are proud of Dinesh.

“Even before going to the competition, Dinesh had great faith in his heart that he could win the gold medal. He practised with the firm belief that he would bring the gold medal to Sri Lanka. He was a man who tried to rise with all the obstacles in life; Someone who suffered a lot to live a good life today. I think he was strengthened by that suffering. Today is the time for Dinesh to happily recall every experience he had in life. Now our only future lies on our three children. We want to give them a good education and also the freedom to move forward in whatever field they want”.

“There are no words to describe the joy I feel as someone who has seen the journey of Dinesh since childhood. I’m very proud of my husband”, Ishanka said.

Translated by Rajitha Jagoda Aratchchi