Commonwealth Games medal winners felicitated | Sunday Observer

Commonwealth Games medal winners felicitated

28 August, 2022
Medal winners (from left) Dilanka Kumara (weight lifting), Nethmi Fernando (wrestling) and Palitha Bandara (para athlete) pose with their medals
Medal winners (from left) Dilanka Kumara (weight lifting), Nethmi Fernando (wrestling) and Palitha Bandara (para athlete) pose with their medals

Medal winners at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022 were felicitated by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) officials on Thursday.

Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva Secretary of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs was the chief guest and made the first presentation of a memento to Palitha Bandara who won the silver medal in the discus throw for Para athletes.

The second memento was handed over to weight lifter Dilanka Kumara by Suresh Subramaniam and the third to Yupun Abeykoon who won a bronze medal in the 100m dash. In his absence Sanjaya Gamlath received the memento from Maxwell de Silva the Secretary of NOC.

The fourth and final memento was presented to the female wrestler Nethmi Fernando who became the youngest at 18 years to win a medal, the bronze. This presentation was made by Amores Sellar the group manager Marketing of Crysbro.

Their coaches too accompanied the athletes and were presented a letter of recognition.

In a short speech Suresh Subramaniam president of the NOC said that in all 71 countries participated and Sri Lanka were placed 31 which in his opinion was great.

“Many people have different opinions but we must always have different opinions otherwise we will not be able to achieve what we have and going to achieve,” said Subramaniam.

Secretary of the NOC Maxwell de Silva revealed the amount of work done by his team at the NOC in their endeavour to help and boost the standards of athletes even during difficult times.

“We held long discussions with Crysbro about sponsoring athletes and they agreed to a program named ‘Next Champ’ to be implemented. This program was begun about two and a half years ago and they selected 20 athletes to be given Rs. 40,000 monthly allowance to meet their expenses so that they can concentrate on their training with peace of mind. The target is to make these athletes reach international level,” said Maxwell.

“Finances were difficult to find to take this contingent which most people said were too big. The Sports Ministry said that they can support only 28 athletes. Sri Lanka Cricket also donated a large sum to help out. We had to find the rest of the finances from sources outside this country. We spoke to the Commonwealth Games Federation and other European countries who offered generously,” added Maxwell.

Weightlifters were given special treatment and were sent overseas for further training. They won a gold medal at Gold Coast, Australia, but this time it dropped to just a bronze medal which is disappointing.

“The NOC will look to support other sports like athletics, wrestling, judo and gymnastic. Gymnast Milka is training in Japan with our assistance. Help will continue with the hope of winning a medal at the 2024 Olympic Games. Rs. 100 million will be raised by the NOC to help these athletes,” said Maxwell de Silva.

It was a special moment for those who brought medals to Sri Lanka according to Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Secretary to the Sports Ministry.

“I am proud to say that the fastest man in Asia is from Sri Lanka, said Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva.

“We have to look at all avenues on how to develop sports on a daily basis. What we can do today should be better tomorrow. We also have to make a system that will help upgrade the coaches who can focus on improving the athletes to international standards and bring more medals,” added Harsha de Silva.