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Disability not an obstacle to win a medal, says silver medalist Palitha

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Commonwealth games silver medal winner Palitha Bandara and his coach Dhanushka with NPC officials and Paralympic gold medalist Dinesh Priyantha Herath at the Katunayake Airport. (pix courtesy Sports Ministry media)

Sri Lanka’s Palitha Bandara won Silver in the Men’s Discus Throw F42-44/61-64 Para Athletics event at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games last week. This is the first instance Sri Lanka has won a medal for Para events at Commonwealth Games.

Palitha Bandara and his coach Dhanushka returned home on Monday while Sports Ministry officials, National Paralympic Committee officials and Palitha’ s family members gathered at Katunayake Airport to welcome Palitha and his coach.

Palitha Bandara’s best throw came in his penultimate effort, where he managed a distance of 44.20m which amounted to 944 points. Welshmen Aled Davis (1072 points) and Harrison Walsh (915 points) won Gold and Bronze respectively in this event the same day Yupun Abeykoon won the bronze medal in the 100m.

Actually I did Shot Putt event earlier at International events such as Paralympic Games in Tokyo and Para Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018 .However for this Commonwealth Games there were no shot Put event and I was prepared to compete in Discus Throw event under my coach Dhanushka.I prepared for six months to focus on this event and National Paralympic Committee (NOC) headed by Lt Colonal Deepal Herath National Olympic Committee (NOC) and Sports Ministry gave maximum support, said Silver medalist Bandara.

“My parents, loving wife, children, relations and neighbours always encouraged me. When I was in Sri Lanka Army I met with a road accident but I continued my sports especially throwing events. I am based in Laggala in Matale but as a soldier I have to stay in Colombo and do my sport activities and Sri Lanka Army released me to continue my sports and I am grateful to Army Commander and all senior officials who supported me”.

As a Para athlete we have some difficulties but never gave up and NPC always encouraged us to continue our sport. Actually after I returned from Birmingham I am going back to Torrighton Hostel and work hard for the next Para Asian Games in China next year while taking part in para athletic events in between the Para Asian Games. Disability is not an obstacle to continue my sport and as usual we are determined to compete at International events to bring honour to the country. As a soldier I have good mentality and physical fitness to continue my sport. Now I have to once again focus on Shot Putt event for the next Para Asian Games.

NPC President Lt Colonal Deepal Herath and the team backed me to go forward. We had planned for the Commonwealth Games and went to Birmingham one week before to adjust to the conditions with my coach. We knew our opponent and really worked hard to win this medal. I was thrilled when Yupun Abeykoon won the bronze at the same time and I rushed to meet Yupun, said Palitha Bandara.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022 – 01:00

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