Sri Lankan achievers in the 1st Malaysian Open Para Athletic Championships in Kuala Lumpur, the precursor to ‘London Paralympics - 2012’ on return to the island Sunday (29) morning were welcomed to a rousing reception at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake.
The team of 23 Sri Lankans, of whom 19 members are from the Sri Lanka Army participating in 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, long jump, high jump, shot-put, discus and javelin events, bagged 9 Gold, 14 Silver and 9 Bronze medals and was rated the 3rd place in the final medal tally when those games for the disable culminated on Saturday (28). In addition civil players secured 15 Gold, 18 Silver and 9 Bronze for Sri Lanka during the tournament.
The Championship tournament held in Kuala Lumpur for four days was represented by differently able Officers and Other Ranks of the Army’s Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI), Gajaba Regiment (GR), Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR), Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) and Sri Lanka Engineers (SLE) Regiments and two new Asian records were made by A.D. Sanath Wasantha Udayakumar (below knee amputee) of SLLI and U.P.P. Sanjaya (arm amputee) of SLSR in the 200 m event (T/F 44 and T/F 46).
Sri Lanka Army’s Paralympics Committee General Secretary Lieutenant Colonel L.R.T.D. Herath and senior officers were at the airport to receive them warmly since it was the first occasion a team of disable army sportsmen secured so many gold, silver and Bronze medals in one single international event for the disable in the history of Army sports for the disable.
The Championship tournament saw Malaysia receive the highest number of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and emerged as Champions while the second and third places went to India and Sri Lanka respectively at the final Medal Tally.