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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Issuing of a stamp is a great honour for our athletes, says SLA Chief

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The Sri Lanka Athletic (SLA) Centenary Commemorative stamp was issued to mark World Postal Day yesterday at the Postal Headquarters Auditorium in Colombo and Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena was the Chief Guest on this occasion conducted by the Sri Lanka Posts Philatelic Bureau.

Sri Lanka Athletics President Major General Palitha Fernando said this is a red letter day for Sri Lanka Athletics, The SLA centenary commemorative Stamp is the only stamp issued by Sri Lanka Philatelic Bureau to mark the world Postal day and it is a great honour for the SLA. We planned to issue this stamp on April 7 but due to the Country’s situation on that day the event had to be postponed. However, today to mark World Postal Day Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana came here to issue this stamp.

Athletics is the best results produced by Sri Lanka at International level. In the 1948 Olympic 400m hurdles silver medal was won by the late Duncan White then in 2000, Susanthika Jayasinghe won the 200m silver medal in Sydney. Sriyani Kulawansa silver medal in the 100m hurdles at the 1998 Commonwealth Games while the latest addition to the Commonwealth Games, bronze medalist Yupun Abeykoon the Asian fastest sprinter and Asian Games and Asian Championship gold medalists, Sugath Tillekaratne, Damayanthi Darsha and the most International medal winners produced from Sri Lanka athletes (SLA). Especially more than five lakhs of athletes from the divisional secretarial level, district level, Provincial level, and National level are involved in this sport while the highest participation for the International meets and highest International medals bring honour to the country. The history of hundred years did well to get more success said SLA Chief.

Winning silver or bronze medals at Olympics, Commonwealth or Asian Games is not an easy target. At the final of the event, our athletes have to run with other seven athletes, and finally winning a medal from this final is a huge achievement. Susanthika won the Olympic silver medal from the four billion population in the world while Yupun also won the Commonwealth Games bronze medal from the 2-3 billion population and this could not be underestimated and as Athletic administrators, we are doing a voluntary job but our task is to produce more medal winners said Major General Palitha Fernando.

The State Minister of Sports Rohana Dissanayake said, for the service of Susanthika, Darsha, or the Sriyani the issuing of a stamp is not enough and we humbly request President Ranil Wickremesinghe to give an order to produce more stamps for the athletes who gave their service to athletics who have brought honour to the country. Late Duncan White, S.L.B Rosa the veteran athletes brought honour and fame to Sri Lanka while Ranathunga Karunananda the long-distance athlete didn’t abandon his race in Japan and his name is included in the Japanese and Sri Lanka school textbooks for his heroic effort at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

He is widely known as the most spirited loser in history. He could have easily stopped his race before the last two rounds in the 10, 000m event but finally, he finished as the best loser of the event. I think all athletes who excelled have done a tremendous job for the country and we must appreciate them this type of stamp is a great honour for them.

The State Minister of Media Shantha Bandara said this athletic stamp is the 2538 stamp in Sri Lanka designed by Shantha Rohana while as a former National school coloursman I must really appreciate all the coaches who produced International medal winners from athletics.

The coaches, Sports Administrators, all the former Sports Ministers, present Sports Minister, Sports officials, and even the Physical Education teachers at schools did an excellent job promoting this sport to bring good results and we have to appreciate all Shantha Bandara is a Volleyball and Karate Instructor.

The centenary Commemorative stamp is designed with pictures of two Sri Lankan Olympic silver medalists Duncan White and Susanthika Jayasinghe.

The Secretary to the Sports Ministry Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Secretary of Mass Media Transport and Highways Anusha Palpita, Post Master General Ranjith Ariyaratne and Sri Lanka Athletics senior officials, Susanthika Jayasinghe the Olympic Silver medalist, Asian Gold medalist Damayanthi Darsha and the senior officials of the Postal Ministry graced the occasion.

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