Sri Lanka President Meets Asian Games Gold Medalist Tharushi Karunarathna
Tharushi Karunarathna, a distinguished student-athlete in Sri Lanka, who recently clinched a gold medal in the women’s 800m event at the esteemed Asian Games, was granted the honor of an audience with Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the illustrious Presidential Palace in Kandy on Sunday morning (November 05).
Tharushi Karunarathna was received with a grand welcome to the Presidential Palace, coinciding with the formal presentation of credentials to the newly appointed ambassadors to Sri Lanka. In the midst of this auspicious occasion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe took the opportunity to introduce Tharushi Karunarathna to the newly accredited ambassadors, solidifying the international recognition of her remarkable achievement.
Furthermore, 76 dedicated students currently enrolled in athletics at the Sports School of Walala A. Rathnayake Central College, where Tharushi is pursuing her education, were invited to join this momentous event. The student-athletes, along with the school’s principal, athletic coach and six dedicated teachers, were all present to commemorate this remarkable feat.
President Wickremesinghe, deeply appreciating the exceptional talent exhibited by Tharushi Karunarathna, conveyed his heartfelt congratulations for her historic accomplishment, marking the return of a gold medal to Sri Lanka at the Asian Games after a hiatus of 21 years. Following the formalities, the President engaged in an enriching conversation with Tharushi and the aspiring athletes from the Sports School, imparting words of encouragement and wisdom.
The Sports School of the Kandy District, established in 1995 at Walala A. Rathnayake Central College, has consistently achieved national and international recognition for its outstanding contributions to athletics. The institution proudly holds the distinction of nurturing athletes who have represented Sri Lanka across all tiers of international competitions, from the South Asian junior level to the grand stage of the Olympic Games.
President Wickremesinghe expressed his keen interest in further enhancing the athletic skills of the students and sought information regarding the required facilities. It was revealed that a substantial sum of 220 million rupees have been allocated for the comprehensive renovation of the sports ground, including the construction of a 200 meter track featuring eight lanes, a 300-meter training lane and four straight running lanes spanning a distance of 130 meters.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe promptly instructed the Governor and Chief Secretary of the Central Province to expedite the construction project, which is scheduled to unfold in two phases, ensuring completion within two years, with funding commitments to be provided by the Central Government.
In addition, a noteworthy allocation of 10 million rupees have been earmarked for the immediate refurbishment and essential requirements of the sports ground under the Chief Secretariat of the Central Province.
As a gesture of wisdom and guidance, President Wickremesinghe advised the students to maintain a harmonious balance between their athletic pursuits and their academic endeavors. He congratulated them for their contributions and wished them success in all their future undertakings.
The President also graciously participated in a group photograph with Tharushi Karunarathna and the students from the Sports School, capturing this memorable moment for posterity. Professor Maithree Wickremesinghe, who graced the occasion with her presence, engaged in a warm and friendly exchange with Tharushi, offering her blessings and well-wishes for the promising future that lies ahead, both in academics and athletics.
Among the notable attendees were Governor of the Central Province Mr. Lalith U. Gamage, Principal of Walala A. Rathnayake Central College Mr. Dhammika Herath and Tharushi Karunarathna’s parents, who were all present to share in the joyous occasion.
In a noteworthy addition to the event, the students were accorded a unique opportunity to visit the Presidential Palace in Kandy, an experience that will undoubtedly be cherished by them for years to come.
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