Sunday, January 2, 2011

Para Athletes Make Sri Lanka Proud

U.G.G. L Pradeep won gold in Men’s 400m AND The closing ceremony of the Asian Para Games 2010
The Sri Lankan contingent to the 1st Asian Para Games brought honor and fame to the motherland when they retuned home with medal winning performance. Sri Lanka finished 17th in the overall medal tally with one gold, two silver and six bronze medals to its credit.
They brought not only medals but some lessons to learn for the officials who took the blind eye towards their participation in the event. The timely intervention of Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage paved they way for the Sri Lankan para athletes to head to the Asian Para Games held in the city of Guangzhou from December 12.
The Minister’s move had paid dividends as the Lankans returned with not only medals but most importantly two Sri Lankans were able to register a new world record and a new Asian record during the event and showed the able persons that they could do better with fewer facilities. The authorities concerned should look in to this aspect very seriously and provide them equal facilities as the able athletes who compete in international events.
On most occasions para sports have been associated with the disabled persons from the armed forces. But this time that trend was broken as D.M Kumudu took part in the event as an ordinary civilian. She won a bronze medal in her event — women’s 200m T46 event. The brave woman without her two arms had to compete in the women’s 200m T46 event even though her event was on T45 category since there was no event for T46 category. She clocked the best timing in T45 category in the semifinals (28.67 seconds) and the finals (28.58 seconds) to establish a new world record.
U.G.G. L Pradeep was the winner of the gold medal who competed in the men’s 400m T46 event. Pradeep clocked 51.83 seconds.
R.K.W Chaminda won silver in men’s swimming 100m free style S10 event establishing a new Asian Record. Chaminda clocked 1 minute 03.54 seconds to write his name in the record book. Chaminda also bagged the bronze medal of the men’s swimming 100m back stroke S10 with a time of 1 minute 12.06 seconds.
G .Upul brought Sri Lanka’s second silver medal at the Asian Para Games in men’s badminton BMSTU 4 single event.  Further Lalith Mihidukulasooriya competed in the Men’s 800m T46 and gave Sri Lanka another bronze medal with a time of  2 minutes 10.31 seconds. Nishantha Senevirathne won a  bronze medal in Men’s High Jump F46 by clearing 1.75m.
P.K Dumeera claimed two bronze medals in Men’s Long Jump F44 and Men’s 100m T44. He jumped 5.43 m and clocked 12.47 seconds in his events respectively.
China was placed first in the medal tally with 185 gold, while Japan and Korea remained in second and third slots with 32 and 27 gold medals respectively.
Guangzhou 2010 Asian Para Games is the first sports meet for athletes with a disability after the foundation of the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC), and it is also a gala for athletes with a disability after the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. It’s an Asian sports meet with the commitment “Two Asian Games, equally exciting galas”. During these seven days’ competition concluded on last Monday (20 December) disabled athletes fought for their countries and themselves, their courage and efforts have shown the world the indefectible spirit of Asian athletes.
The Guangzhou Asian Para Games is a grand gathering on a  broad scale. 2,512 athletes came from 41 countries and regions of Asia and participated in 19 sports items, 341 medal items and 145 competition units, and 1,451 registered officials and 1,094 technical officials came with the delegations. 19 games venues and six training venues operated during the games.
The Guangzhou Asian Para Games were of a very high standard. Twenty athletes (including a team of three athletes) from China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka broke 17 world records in archery, cycling, athletics, swimming, shooting and powerlifting.
Apart from that 74 athletes (including a team of three athletes) from Chinese, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Japan, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Malaysia delegations broke 82 Asian records in athletics, swimming, shooting and powerlifting.
According to the medical and functional classification and the games-time medical observation, GAPGOC set up 341 medal items. Thirty-one delegations (76 per cent of the delegations from 41 countries and regions of Asia) took 1,020 medals, including 341 gold medals, 338 silver medals and 341 bronze medals.
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