Claims 8 medals at the National Rowing Championships
Rising higher from a successful series of performances in 2017 and 2018, Gateway College excelled at the Sri Lanka Junior, Intermediate and Senior National Rowing Championships, 2019 with a medal tally of a gold, three silver and four bronze medals. The ages of the skilled oarsmen and oarswomen ranged from 13 to 18. Skipper Praveen Piyadasa, after a series of three well-executed 2000m races between the heats and the finals, qualified for an intense race in the Men’s Intermediate Sculls against Sri Lanka Army, University of Colombo (UoC), and Sri Lanka Navy. Praveen finished in third place, against a serious line-up of oarsmen, just three seconds behind Hashen Hettigoda of UoC who was once holder of the course record at the Diyawanna Rowing Course.
He then proceeded to clinch the prestigious title of Schoolboy Sculler at the Senior Championships two weeks later, beating oarsmen from Royal and S. Thomas’ becoming the best oarsman in the schools circuit. Praveen was also placed third in the Men’s Under-23 single sculls event. Despite great differences of age and character, in arguably the most difficult event where each oarsman rows with just one oar, the Boys Under-18 coxless pair Ayyoob Aslam and Shakkya Dassanayake won a silver and qualified for the Junior National Pool. In the single sculls which is a battle of self and mind, Anushri Udamulla and Isumi Wanniarachchi achieved 3 medals between them, with 13-year old Anushri achieving a silver.
Isumi Wanniarachchi, who is her partner in the Double Sculls, pulled off a strong performance in the Under-16 Single Sculls, finishing a very close third. Isumi and Anushri finished third in the Girls Under-16 Double Sculls, competing with girls who are two years older to them, in a race where all medalists were within 10 seconds of each other. Under the careful direction of experienced coach Sharen Kannangara and assisted by Kemil Peter, an oarsman of repute, the Gateway team displayed immense capacity to bring out the best in each member of the team.
Encouraged by the commitment of the young rowers, the Directorate of the school added two new boats – Wintech Pair Double Scull convertible and a single Scull, to its fleet of six boats that included two Fours that can be converted to Quadruple Sculls, two pairs that can be converted to Double Sculls and two Single Sculls that are named after the famous battleships of the past - Victory, Invincible, Challenger, Endeavour, Yamato and Mayflower. The school has a coaching and umpiring launch too. The two new boats are named after their Founder Mr. R.I.T. Alles and their very first coach, Ajith Goonewardene. Last year, Gateway invested in a new pier in the waterway adjacent to the school to encourage rowing in the school.