Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, Commander of the Army, reminiscent of his primary school days at Udabadalawa Sudarshana Maha Vidyalaya, Kurunegala where the Commander as a teenager, recorded his first win in an athletic event, paid his tribute to the school this morning (25) after opening its Army-renovated playground.
It all happened a few months ago when the Commander upon his assumption of duties was given a rousing welcome by the school administration, students and veteran citizens in the area since his appointment as the Commander of the Army was a reputation to the school.
Commander of the Army, having observed the dilapidated state of the playground at that occasion made inquiries and promptly pledged his support for complete renovation of the ground with tracks and felts with the support of Army machinery.
Entrusting the task to Major Chaminda Dissanayake, Commanding Officer, 1 Sri Lanka National Guard under the supervision of Lieutenant Colonel Anil Somaweera, Commanding Officer, Headquarter Battalion, Army Headquarters, the Commander wanted the project to be completed in a few months as an incentive to the sports-loving children of the school.
Friday’s arrival of Lieutenant General Ratnayake in Udabadalawa as the Chief Guest for opening of the completely done playground as planned was greeted with honours, accorded by the school’s Cadet platoon after the Commander was received by the Principal at the main entrance to the school premises.
A team of school dancers afterwards conducted the Chief Guest to unveil a plaque in the new playground where he was also invited to make the visit more memorable by planting a tree sapling in the school premises.
Amid religious observances and chanting of Seth Pirith conducted by Ven. Rekawa Jinarathana Thero, the Commander after cutting a symbolic ribbon later on declared opened the renovated playground and attended the brief meeting before an exhibition of relay events, presentation of Karate skills by students, Kabaddi game display and a drill demonstration, took place in the repaired ground.
Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake in his contribution to the gathering recalled his memories and appealed to the students to dedicate to bring successes to the country since it is the commitment and dedication that can bring success.
“It is during my stay in this school for primary studies, I received the first certificate for athletics, having won the first-ever victory in my athletic career. That was achieved through dedication and commitment which helped me in the long run to be what I am today. So, work tirelessly and reach your targets and bring success to the country, making your school proud,” the Commander commented.
In appreciation of the Commander’s support for renovation of the ground, the Principal and students presented a symbolic memento to the Commander before the end of the day’s proceedings.
Provincial Director of Education for Wayamba Province and the Principal addressed the gathering, thanking the Commander for his grateful gesture.
Mr and Mrs Nanda Ratnayake, close relatives of the Commander, residing in the area, Provincial Councillors, Pradeshiya Sabha members, Zonal Directors of Education and a host of invitees were associated with the event.