The 15th Army Para Games - 2012 saw its ceremonial culmination Thursday (16) evening at Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium, instilling a new glimmer of hope among more than 1000 differently able War Heroes who showcased their unbeatable sport skills in the past three days.
The tournament that covered 115 track and field events came to a climax with athletic and relay events taking the centre-stage in the past three days (August 14 -16).
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army showing a keen interest in the final closing ceremony arrived at the venue on the invitation of the Chairman of the Army Para Sports Committee Major General K.J Alwis.
The day’s Chief Guest was Minister of Sports Hon Mahindananda Aluthgamage who was received on arrival at the venue by Commander of the Army.
The colourful band display, presented by Army bands at the occasion, renting the air with soothing melodies added colour and glamour to the event as all 1000 plus participants lined up for the much-awaited prize awarding ceremony.
The Gajaba Regiment team as they did in the year 2011 emerged overall champions in all track and field events and cheers dominated as the victory was announced.
It was the time for accolades. Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, together with the Chief Guest, congratulated each winner separately and gave away awards to them, as the final phase of the event was drawing nearer.
Minister Aluthgamage spoke high of the Army’s achievements not only in the field of warfare, but also in sports. During his brief address he said the Army’s contingent for the forthcoming Para Olympics is the biggest representation from Sri Lanka. At the same time, he reminded a request he personally made to the Commander of the Army earlier with regard to the conduct of Para Olympics away from the capital. He said that he would be glad to host it in Nawalapitiya next time.
Minister Aluthgamage added that the Army should seriously consider of holding the Para Olympics with the participation of reintegrated ex-combatants. Such a sports festival would give a good message to the world, the minister opined.
The entire three-day tournament showcased talents of those 1000 plus War Heroes who have done their part for the country, a sacrifice that cannot be matched with any other.
The three-day tournament (Aug 14-16) was comprised of Track and Field events. Wheelchair Tennis, Cycling, Wheelchair Marathon, Volleyball, Hand Ball, Air Rifle Shooting, Archery, Badminton, Swimming, Long and High Jumps, Shot Puts, Javelin and Discus throwing, Power Lifting, Cricket, Beach Handball, Table Tennis, Weight-lifting, etc were among the major events. All these tournament events in this year’s Army Para Games - 2012, started on 24th May before the finals began.
Major General K.J Alwis, Chairman, Army Para Sports Committee raised the vote of thanks and praised the War Heroes for their excellent contribution to the success of the event. Commander of the Army opened the games on Tuesday (14).
The two-decade old previous Army Disable Sports Meet was renamed in 2010, to be called the Sri Lanka Army Para Games, on a concept mooted by the Commander of the Army to the Army Sports Board.
More than 1000 disable War Heroes are used to turn this platform to display their multiple sport talents in track and field events every year, in the company of many other fellow-sportsmen who remain internationally recognized.