Earlier this week on Monday (30), Sri Lankans started the week on a groundbreaking news, on their fellow Sri Lankan – Dinesh Priyantha Herath – skyrocketing to stardom. He rose to heights faster than that of a javelin at the Olympic Stadium in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, concluding today. Sri Lanka’s latest successful son [...]


Olympians and top personalities hail Herath


Earlier this week on Monday (30), Sri Lankans started the week on a groundbreaking news, on their fellow Sri Lankan – Dinesh Priyantha Herath – skyrocketing to stardom. He rose to heights faster than that of a javelin at the Olympic Stadium in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, concluding today.

Sri Lanka’s latest successful son of the soil, is now the proud owner of not one, not two, but ‘four feats’, effortlessly flashing in the local and international headlines.

Only the fourth medal-winning athlete in the history of the country, Olympics and Paralympics combined, he heroically and handsomely entered the local and global history books. Locally- he emerged as a national hero winning the nation’s maiden Paralympic gold medal and during that process, setting a renewed personal best.

Globally, he shattered and established a – new world record – for his striking throw, firing it as long as 67.79m. Man-of-the-moment, dashing Dinesh, placed the country on a pinnacle of height, prompting the spotlight on Sri Lanka.

The Sunday Times sought the reactions of stars from Olympians to past cricketers and from those who directly contributed to the development of para sports in Sri Lanka, on one of the greatest achievements in the island’s sporting chapter.

Dr. Nagalingam
Olympian in 1952 and 1956
“The javelin thrower’s gold in the Paralympics is a great achievement and the government should reward him. The woman Paralympian, coming eighth in the 100m, and whatever her performance in the long jump on September 3, should be commended and rewarded, too. Such rewards will encourage other para sports persons in the country to participate in para sports. I noticed that Sri Lanka has wheelchair tennis.”"All responsible for governing para sports, with the help of the private sector, should encourage all those who would physically qualify for para sports from all the 25 districts. The absence of Tamil Paralympians is as visible as the absence of Tamil Olympians representing Ceylon and Sri Lanka since I did in 1952 and 1956.”

“Sports can be one of the avenues for reconciliation of our divided society. In the post war period to present, I see no tangible evidence of promoting sports or para sports in the North and East.  Beside the natures cause of disabilities, the 30-year war has caused many healthy persons with disabilities.”


Susanthika Jayasinghe
Sri Lanka’s second Olympic silver medalist
“It’s an out of the ordinary victory!! What is more valuable than the gold is the record. He went to the Olympics as a disabled sportsperson, but the dedication he has devoted and the great performance he is enjoying won’t be treated as a trivial triumph by me of course. It’s more valuable to me than my own victory. I appreciate that a lot. Though he is a wounded warrior, he still created a ‘world record!’. It’s indescribable to me. Fullest appreciation and value should be showered upon him. He has bought the pinnacle of achievement even surpassing us. Despite his limitations, he has pulled off the most superior of success.”"He is now 35. Given the age limitation, we still can’t expect the sun and moon from him. But using this one-of-a-kind win, we can market the sport since there is significant value lying with it. He has set himself as an epitomiser of an athlete. This also applies to the other hale and hearty athletes, failing to achieve their targets, in spite of having everything. I would like to alert all the coaches in our country about the value of a skillful sportsman we have. The creation of a world champion.”

“To the same extent, we are hailing him as a national hero, we cannot forget the part the coach has played also. I, Susanthika Jayasinghe, as an Olympic silver medalist, say this with authority, javelin throw is an out-and-out technical affair. Without the technique, the javelin is not going to reach the distance. Hence, the coach has to be praised for imparting the technical aspect. I also say that coaches should be given greater value and should be held accountable for creating world champions.”

“He will be receiving a rousing reception by the government, sports ministry and the army. If invited, I too, will share my heartiest wishes. However, that aside, I hope and pray, he will be given the due privileges he is due of.”


Col. Deepal Herath President, National Paralympic Committee
“We are incredibly proud of Dinesh for making Sri Lanka continuously proud over the years and Dulan his personal best throw at the Tokyo Para Games. It is a testament to the contingent working as one team to achieve this herculean goal.” 


Sidath Wettimuny
Former Sri Lanka cricketer
“Oh, unbelievable! Fabulous! Words cannot express the importance and what it means to Sri Lanka. Because, when you win things of this nature, you set benchmarks and it makes people coming after him aspire to reach those heights and people start to believe that they can do that. And, in that sense, it’s beyond words. I hope we recognise that.”


Ranjan Madugalle Former Sri Lanka
cricket captain
“It’s a tremendous achievement and a great honour for the country and actually he is a trail-blazer. I’m sure he will inspire many more to achieve the heights that he has and bring fame to the country. We need to applaud him as he is an inspiration to the nation. He has set the benchmark for all the others to follow.”


Namal Rajapaksa
Minister of Sports, former
Sri Lanka rugby captain
“It was a defining moment for our nation when the Sri Lankan national anthem echoed across the arena as Dinesh won this historic gold medal. We are incredibly proud of his achievement. I would also like to commend the relevant officials and coaches for enabling these athletes to achieve greatness at a global platform, their commitment and dedication has been exceptional.”


Supun Weerasinghe
Group Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata PLC, sponsor ofParalympic team
“This historic win by Dinesh and Dulan is a testament to all Sri Lankans on what can be achieved with dedication, perseverance and discipline. Above all, this is a true testament for the years of dedication and the trust Dialog Axiata had on our para athletes, that they can conquer the world. Now that Dinesh has created history, never to be broken, I, firstly as a Sri Lankan and as a team member of Dialog Axiata, take great pride to have been part of this historic journey with the National Paralympic Committee and Army Para Games for the last two decades. We remain committed to nurturing Sri Lanka’s champions of tomorrow to reach the pinnacle and bring more glory to our motherland.”


Maj. Gen. Rajitha Ampemohotti
Chef de Mission, Paralympic team
“Our Paralympians have performed admirably and have brought glory to their country by winning consecutive medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Despite restrictions to training due to the COVID-19 pandemic the team has worked hard to do what it takes to climb the podium and we are incredibly proud of their achievements.”


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