When it came to international games festivals such as the Olympics, Commonwealth or even the Asian games, we expected Sri Lankans to shine in the athletics department. The stars to watch out for were Susanthika, Darsha, Sugath, Rohan Pradeep, etc.

Well that is definitely not the case any more. Manju Wanniarachchi made history today by winning the gold in boxing (56kg division) at the Commonwealth games. Check out the thrilling battle to be number one below……

It is thrilling  to the core to see an awesome achievement such as this. I plan to watch this video over and over again 🙂

The other sport in which the land of the lions had success in is weightlifting. Chinthana Vidanage, did us proud once again by getting the Silver in the 69kg division. He broke the 300kg barrier just like he said he would, but he had moved up a weight class and so had to settle for second place. Still a very impressive performance. The good thing about Chinthana moving up a weight class was that he made room for one Anton Sudesh Peiris Kurukulasooriyage in the 62kg division. This young man made maximum use of the opportunity and landed a Bronze medal for himself. My  utmost congratulations and respect goes to these amazing sportsman who have done themselves and the country proud.

That being said, the thing that jumped out the most about these winners is their age. Well that and the fact that they competed in strength based sports; which you would not usually associate a Sri Lankan with. Manju, aged 30, boxed against two teenagers in the Semi and Final matches.  Chinthana is 28 (meaning he was 24 when he won gold back in 2006) and his event was won by a 22 year old. Sudesh is 25 and his event was won by a 20 year old.[These ages maybe off by a year due to lazy calculations while half asleep….. apologies if they are]

It’s not too much of a big issue and I don’t want to take anything away from these amazing men who have done so much. But it just makes you wonder, what if they were given a chance earlier….

Nevertheless, they are here now and they are winning which is what matters the most. Here’s to many more victories to come!