A talented schoolboy athlete from a low income group in Kataragama has won a gold medal in an international sports festival held in Bangalore, India and has brought fame to Sri Lanka. He is Kasun Wanigasekera, 19 year old student of Sellakataragama Maha Vidyalaya, a rural school without any facilities for sports. This young lad representing Sri Lanka at the D.K.D. Junior Track and Field International Sports festival held in Bangalore, India from 7 to 9 December 1918 won a gold medal in the Long Jump event and was adjudged the Best Athlete in the Under 20 category. Kasun was selected to participate in this sports festival based on his performances for winning first places in the 100 metres and shot putt evens at the track and field meet held at Diyagama International Stadium.
Last year competing in three international meets Kasun had won a silver medal and three bronze medals. In 2015 this up and coming athlete won a bronze medal in a meet held in India. He had won 168 certificates at school level and 78 certificates in national level. Kasun is not only an athlete, he had excelled in cricket as a fast bowler and a fine goal keeper. He is also a member of the school’s volleyball team. But the irony is that Kasun’s father had to obtain a loan of Rs. 100,000 from the Kataragama Bank of Ceylon to meet the expenses of his son including for sports equipment and travel expenses.
Kasun speaking to the Education Times said ‘I have no suitable shoes for my sports practice and even nourishment that other sportsmen get. My father is the sole bread winner of the family without a proper income and running errands to meet to make both ends meet. With sports side by side, I sit for the A/L exam this time. My dream is to bring fame to my motherland like Susanthika and Duncan White. My poor father is the greatest strength behind my successes. My humble appeal is to any generous gentleman or establishment to come forward in giving a helping hand to me as a sponsor to enable me to fulfill my dream’.