Benedictines to the fore in Athletics
|St. Benedict’s College displayed its ascendancy in the Sri Lanka Schools Athletics scene with a brilliant all-round performance at the Colombo Zonal Athletics Championship, where the top athletes of all the leading Boys and Girls schools including International schools participated at the Sugathadasa Stadium from 3-5 May.The Benedictines totally dominated the track events and the relays, while coming up with impressive performance in the field events.|
The margin of their superiority was so overwhelming that while the Benedictines amassed 202 points, the joint second placed Josephians and Peterites could muster only 58 points each. Vishaka Vidyalaya won the Girls Championship followed by Ladies College and Gateway College.The top individual performers for the Benedictines were, in the under 15 segment: Uditha Dilshan - First place in 100 meters and Long Jump and second place in 200 meters.
Promoditha Mihiranga won the 100 meters Hurdles event. Their strongest display was in the under 17 segment: Avishka Dananjaya Ratnayake coming first in the 110 Meters Hurdles and Long Jump and adjudged the Best Athlete in the segment. The Benedictines star athlete Sahan Thenuka Rajapaksha won his favourite event 100 meters with ease. In the 200 meters race Benedictines took the top three places with Lalana Madushan first, followed by Shan Thenuka Rajapaksha and Nayagara Auchitya.
Madushan also claimed first place in the 400 meters and Thilan Indrajith and Tharidu Nimesh secured first and second places in the 800 meters. Milal Nethmina Appuhamy came first in Discus Throw. In the under 19 category Sanjaya Prabash Ranaweera won first place in the 110 meters and 400 meters hurdles events. Bawantha Rangana won the 1500 meters Naveen Kavishka won the Discus Throw and Janith Eranga Seneviratne the Putt Shot event. In the under 21 category Ayesh Sandeep continued his good form winning the Javelin Throw.The Benedictines showed their clear superiority in the relays winning all the events except one in all 4 segments.
The only exception being the 4x100 meters under 19 where two of their sprinters were rested due to injuries. Captain Shiran Angelo Jeganathan, Shalika Santhush Weerasinghe, Yohan Danushka Silva joined the sprinters mentioned earlier in the relays to achieve this unprecedented feat. These performances make the Benedictines the clear favourite at the forthcoming All Island Athletics Relay Carnival to be held at the Dutagama Stadium from 24 to 27 May.The Benedictines who have excellent records especially in Football, Hockey, Basketball and Cricket, became a force in Athletics in the last decade.
The person who is mainly responsible for it is the Director of the College from 2003- 2011 Rev. Bro. Granville Perera, who took the initial steps in the mid 2000s , identifying I.D. Premasiri, one of the national coaches and appointing him as the Head Coach, to start the building up process. They had almost instant success winning the All Island School Athletic Championship in 2007. Since then SBC became a force to be reckoned with and has produced several athletes who represented the country at many International competitions including the World University Games in 2015. The hard work put in over the years brought St. Benedict’s to overall No.2 spot in the Sri Lankan Schools Athletics scene in 2015. Winning the Sir John Tarbat Junior Athletics Championship, runners up at the Sir John Tarbat Senior Championship and the Western Province Athletic meet and 3rd place at the All-island Schools Athletic Meet. They ended the season convincingly winning the Saints Quadrangular Athletic Meet. The year also saw the blossoming of some outstanding young talent, like the athletes mentioned earlier and a whole host of promising juniors following in their footsteps. These youngsters have the potential to reach international standards in the next decade or so and some of them have set their eyes in representing Sri Lanka at the Olympiad 2024 and 2028.
All dreams could be realised only if the country is ready to provide them with International standard facilities and expertise. Sadly at this moment there is not a single athletic track which is fit and suitable for proper training and competition. The tracks at Diyagama and Sugathdasa are in poor condition and it is imperative that authorities act fast to arrest the situation. If not, all the enthusiasm, commitment, hard work and sacrifices of the youngsters will not produce the desired results.The Benedictines are privileged to have a member of the staff Nuwan Abeywickrama, a past SBC athlete, who has represented the country at International competitions as their Master in Charge and Junior coach. He is such a meticulous planner and organizer, that one could see him in complete control all the time. Head Coach I D Premasiri who is probably Sri Lanka’s best sprint coach has worked very hard with much dedication to nurture these youngsters who start training at 11 years of age.
Practices start at 6am sharp daily and also on weekends, when necessary. The athletic squad of SBC now numbering 80 also have the services of a Throwing coach Jeewantha Prasad, a Jumping coach Saman Kumara and a physio Marin Amerasinghe who also plays an important role towards the success of the team.The hallmark of the Benedictine athletic squad is its discipline, team work and the excellent work ethics.
It is stressed into them that athletics at SBC is not just an individual sport but also a team sport because they represent the school as a team.
The Director of the College Rev. Bro. Henry Dissanayake always impresses on the youngsters that one competes to bring glory and honour to the individual and pride and recognition to the school he represents.
The person behind all this and one who ensures that “Team SBC” performs to its full potential is none other than the unassuming, dedicated, selfless sports co-ordinator young Brother Pravin Vaz who is indeed an asset to St. Benedict’s College and the Lasallian Brothers.
Extract from Ceylon Daily News - 14th May 2016
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