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‘Golden Girl’ Tharushi receives warm welcome at Airport

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Winning Gold medal at Asian Games is a great achievement while as an under 19 athlete Tharushi Karunaratne created history with her 800 m gold medal, said Susantha Fernando the proud coach of Tharushi Karunaratne at the Katunayake Air Port after the welcome ceremony organised by Sri Lanka Athletics and Sports Ministry.

I think most important thing is to protect Tharushi and I am always with her and we have to support her long journey. We can’t produce Olympic medalist overnight. Olympic medal is any athlete’s ultimate goal as same as Tharushi’s, added coach Susantha Fernando.

As the coach my duty is to protect her and give my advice to improve her achievements. I knew coach can’t do everything and I must say coach can’t get all credit after athlete winning a medal. We have to realize these two facts, said Susantha. As a coach we have to update everyday while our lessons have to go with modern technology. Most important thing is to recognise the talent. Tharushi’s talent was found when she was 12 years. She came to Walala A Rathnayake MMV Manikhinna close to Kandy town. She had lot of difficulties.

Some countries today stop all competitive sport from below 12 years. We also have that rule but it is not applicable, said Susantha. I have to pay my gratitude to Walala A Rathnayake Principal Dhammika Herath, my PT Education school coachers. They all back Tharushi and their generous support always very important.

Coches’ participation at this type of International meets is very important. I appreciate Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe who added my name to this tour in the last minute. My presence in this Games gave me success results while Tharushi Karunaratne won 800 m gold and women’s 4 x400 really bronze becoming the only Sri Lankan athlete to take two medals at this Asian Games, added Susantha Fernando.

As the head coach of Walala A Rathnayake MMV I have to give this message. We have lot of difficulties especially athletes haven’t proper ground to training and their nutrition issue is also very important to consider. They got very little amount of allowance. Tharushi Karunaratne’s father is a three wheel driver and mother is a house wife. Tharushi, her brother and younger sister are having financial difficulties and we saw some financial assistance given to her after this achievement. We knew we can find more ‘Tharushis’ from Walala A Rathnayake MMV and talent search and good Infarstructure facilities are more important to produce athletes. Sponsors, Sport Ministry, National Olympic Committee, Sri Lanka Athletics all should get together to produce next Olympic medalists.Tharushi ‘ s first task is to get Olympic qualification and then go for the medal and we already have plans to go this journey carefully, concluded coach Susantha Fernando.

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