22nd September 2016 17:21:01 Hours
None other than the Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, together with a host of distinguished statesmen, Ministers, Secretary Defence, Commander of the Army and senior state officials, were at Colombo Kingsbury Hotel Wednesday (21) evening to offer their best wishes and greetings to Sri Lanka’s Paralympic Bronze Medal (Javelin Throw) winner, Corporal Dinesh Priyantha Herath (retd) of 3 Gajaba Regiment who returned home last evening (21) from Brazil.
Soon after the medalist landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport Wednesday (21) evening, senior Army officers, including Major General P.M.R Bandara, Director General Army Sports, Major General A.W.M.A.W.N. Ranawana of Gajaba Regiment, Brigadier G.J.A.W Galagamage, Director Sports, and officials of the Ministry of Sports, former fellow-soldiers in the Gajaba Regiment, other well-wishers and relatives garlanded him and warmly, received him as Gajaba Regiment band, rent the air with salutary melodies as he walked out of the terminal.
He was afterwards conducted to the Kingsbury Hotel in a motorcade where he and other Paralympic participants were felicitated at a special ceremony, sponsored by Dialog Axiata PLC and the Paralympics Sports Committee.
Corporal Dinesh Priyantha (retd) competing in the F 46 category of the Javelin Throw in the Paralympics 2016 in Rio recorded a remarkable feat of 58.23 m and became the 4th sportsman to have brought a medal home from the Olympics and Paralympics.
This special felicitation ceremony at the Hotel, headed by the Prime Minister, Chief Guest for the occasion, was attended by Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, Deputy Minister of Sports, H.M.M Harris, Secretary Defence, Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary to the Ministry of Sports, Mr D.M.R.B Dissanayake, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Chairman, Sri Lanka Paralympic Committee, Mr U.R Rodrigo, several senior officials at the Ministry of Sports, senior Army officers, spouse and children, relatives and representatives of the sponsors.
Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, appreciative of his achievement gifted the medalist with a cash cheque of Rs 1.5 million and Rs 250,000/= to his coach, Rohitha Fernando on the occasion. In addition, Ms Amali Nanayakkara, Dialog Axiata PLC Group’s Chief Marketing Officer honoured him with a cash gift of Rs 1.5 million and his Coach with Rs 250,000/=.
The medalist, a father of two children was quoted, having said that it was the Army officers who motivated him to continue the sports after he abandoned it. “I worked hard during the last six months and I saw my family members only four days during the past six months. After the battle injury, it was the Army officers who dragged me for training,” he had gone on record saying.
During the felicitation ceremony at Kingsbury Hotel, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara spoke high of the training being given to the Army soldiers. He in his brief speech to the occasion remarked “The self confidence and the belief which Sri Lankan Army soldiers possess are the key points to achieve this great feat. Look forward to 2020 Tokyo Games as the government will fully support you,” the Minister quipped.
Dialog Axiata PLC sponsored the whole journey of the nine-member Sri Lanka Paralympic team to the Para Games in Rio.