22nd November 2017 14:45:14 Hours
More than 450 differently-able War Heroes who had sacrificed their legs and limbs in the fight against the 30-year long War for Peace this morning (22) began to showcase their multiple sport talents in the Sri Lanka Army Para Games 2017 tournament, inaugurated by the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.
In a rare glittering spectacle, those differently able War Heroes in their colourful sport attire representing eleven regiments, together with four athletes from Republic of Korea paraded the ground tracks to a thundering applause before they assembled in front of the main pavilion before the proceedings got to a start.
Those 450 plus disable sportsmen during November 22 - 24 will compete in more than 50 events during two days. Of them, about 100 disable War Heroes who have been internationally recognized are also participating in the event, together with world-renowned disabled Korean athletes.
Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake as the Chief Guest was received on arrival by the Chairman of the Army Para Sports Committee, Major General Dampath Fernando who is also the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Army Headquarters.
March Past, Lighting of the Olympic Flame and Torch, Declaration of the Commencement of Army Para Games - 2017, Oath taking, etc added colour and significance to the inaugural event.
Lieutenant General Senanayake symbolized the ceremonial beginning of this eye-catching event by reading out the formal declaration to that effect and hoisted the Army Flag as the rhythmic beats of the Army Song played by the Army Brass Band began to rend the air.
The day’s Chief Guest in a special gesture, met the foreign athletes on wheelchairs who are representing the Korean National Federation for Para Athletes and had a couple of thoughts shared with them around the same occasion.
The two-decade old previous Army Disable Sports Meet was renamed in the year 2010 to be called the ‘Army Para Games’ on a concept mooted by the then Commander of the Army to the Army Sports Board.
More than fifty track and field events plus band displays qualify participants to take away around 200 medals towards the conclusion of the two-day long tournament.
Major General Dampath Fernando, Chairman, Army Para Sports Committee delivered the welcome speech. The prize awarding ceremony will take place on Friday (24) before the formal culmination is announced.
Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Security Forces -West, Senior Officers and a large gathering were present at the inaugural ceremony.