Published on: November 5, 2023

President Meets the Asian Games Gold Medalist Tharushi Karunaratne in Kandy

Tharushi Karunaratne, a distinguished student-athlete, who recently clinched a gold medal in the women’s 800m event at the esteemed Asian Games, was granted the honour of an audience with President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the illustrious President’s House in Kandy this morning (05).

Tharushi Karunaratne was received with a grand welcome to the President’s House, 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 Karunaratne 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 Karunaratne, 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. Ratnayake 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 endeavours. 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 Karunaratne 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. Ratnayake Central College Mr. Dhammika Herath and Tharushi Karunaratne’s parents, who were all present to share in the joyous occation.

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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