It was an unforgettable night for 15 of the most outstanding sportspersons in fifteen sports and the athletes of three outstanding sports performances for 2022. The SportUnleash School Sports Awards 2022, sponsored by SportUnleash, the organization which scientifically identifies the sports talent of children between the ages of 9 and 11, and organized by SPORTSINFO, was an event that made a profound impact on the landscape of the sports arena of Sri Lanka.
Making its debut as the first-ever annual national schools sports award ceremony in Sri Lanka, the event was held at the BMICH on Monday, 23rd January 2023. This brainchild of Thilan Rangana, the Chairman of SPORTSINFO, backed by the former National Record holder Talavou Alailima, Chairman of SportUnleash and founder of Power World Gyms, is the explosive partnership that brought to life this Sports Awards, which without a doubt will be a prized event for champion athletes each year.
The chief guest of the event was the Minister of Education, Hon. Susil Premajayantha who highlighted the timely need for a change in the country’s education system, stressing that it is paramount that a child’s education and sports should go hand in hand to build a healthier and more productive nation. The former Minister and present Member of Parliament, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne was the guest of honor for the event. Many heads of Sports Associations, Principles of leading schools, Sponsors of Sports, and Captains of business were also present.
“If we plan to impact the world in sports, then we must identify the sports talent of our children at an early age and support them throughout their school sports journey. These winners were the best of the best in 2022, and their sports talent has been proven for years; their resolve, determination, passion, and grit have been tested by fire to be the best in their sport for 2022. There is absolutely no doubt that these are the athletes who will bring honor to Sri Lanka in the next ten years. If there are athletes that a sponsor should back, it is these winners, as their investment will provide the best return for their brand and organization,” added Talavou Alailima.
Thilan Rangana of SPORTSINFO said that “for years, we have seen only a couple of sports recognizing their best athletes. However, I believe that if Sri Lankan sports is to achieve its potential, we must honor the performance of all school sports, as they are the cradle of our future National sports performances. Today we have achieved that vital milestone, and we will strive each year to make this event a special day for our future national champions so that they will never give up their sport but keep driving themselves to achieve their very best for Sri Lanka”.
For 2022, the following Athletes were awarded the Most Outstanding Award. ATHLETICS – Track events Nadun Kaveesha Bandara of Royal College, Colombo, and Ashmika Keshan Korala of Yoshida International School, Sapugaskanda, for Field Events. BATMINTON – Viren Nettasinghe of St. Peter’s College. BASKETBALL – G. G. Minoli Mariya Direkze of HFC Bambalapitiya. BOXING – Pasindu Umayanga Mihiran, Nalanda College. CHESS – L. M. Susal T de Silva, Nalanda College. CRICKET -Dunith Wellalage, St. Joseph’s College. KARATE – C. A. Tharuki Sashindi, Sapugaskanda Visaka Vidyalaya. NETBALL – Hiruni Heshani, HFC Kurunegala. ROWING – Shaylon Shayan Gunaratna, Asian International School. RUGBY – Dinupa Seneviratna, D. S. Senanayake College. SWIMMING – Ganga Seneviratne, Visaka Vidyalaya. TENNIS – Dinara de Silva, St Bridget’s Convent. VOLLEYBALL – Kavishka Madushanka, Rajasinghe Central College, Ruwanwella. WRESTLING – Nethmi Ahinsa Fernando, Welpalla Sangharathana Maha Vidyalaya, Giriulla. COACH – T. S. Suranga Kumara. SPORTING SCHOOL – Nalanda College.
The Jury Medals for Sports Excellence, headed by Co-Chairman Dr. Harsha Abeykoon and Rear Admiral Prof. Shemal Fernando, were awarded to Danindu Chirath Sellepperuma of Ananda College and Vishmi Gunaratne of Rathnawali Balika Vidyalaya, Gampaha for their noteworthy performance in cricket for 2022, and to Tharushi Karunarathne of A. Ratnayake MMV, Walala in Athletics.
Photo Captions: The group photo of the award winners.