Schoolgirl Dulanjalee creates high jump history, wins gold
SA GAMES: Sixteen-year-schoolgirl, Dulanjalee Ranasinghe
created history by winning women's high jump gold for Sri Lanka on the
second day of the athletic competition worked off at Sugathadasa
Stadium, Colombo yesterday.
Ranasinghe, a student at Devi Balika Vidyalaya, cleared an impressive
height of 1.71m to take the gold medal while her Sri Lanka team mate
Tharanga Vinodanai accounted for the silver with 1.68m.
Dulanjalee Ranasinghe - Pic: AP
It was after 15 long years that Sri Lanka won a women's high jump
gold medal at SA Games, after that memorable double gold medals in high
jump and 100m hurdles by Sriyani Kulawansa in 1991 at the very same
venue when Sri Lanka hosted the fifth edition of the Games.
Ranasinghe said her hard work and dedication brought her success. "I
made a lot of sacrifices and worked hard for this. Even I had to take
time off my studies and make a lot of effort to fulfil my dream. I am
happy that I could make a contribution towards Sri Lanka's gold haul,"
she said after her triumph.
Her coach, Dileema Peterson, a Sri Lankan gold medallist at the 1985
South Asian Games, was all delighter after her Devi Balika student's
"This is a gift given by the God. I went to church on Tuesday and
made a vow. We have been blessed with a gold medal," she said. Peterson,
one of Sri Lanka's leading athlete turned coaches, has put a lot of
effort to sharpen the skills of young Ranasinghe.
"She has been training under me for the last four years. At the very
early stages I identified the talents she had and though that she would
bring glory to Sri Lanka one day. Those dreams have come true today,"
Incidentally, Peterson is the only former Sri Lanka SA Games female
gold medallist to produce another gold medallist at SA games.
Rohan Pradeep Kumara, who won his second successive gold within 24
hours was a jubilant man. The former sailor clocked 46.33 to win men's
400m gold, ahead of compatriot Prasanna Amarasekera.
"It was great to win again. There was good competition at it was
always nice to have that type of competition. It is even nicer to face
that sort of competition and win," he observed.
The gold medallist in men's Javelin throw, Kingsly Gunatillake of Sri
Lanka Navy said his life long dream came true with the triumph. A
product of Tholangamu Central College, Gunatillake paid tribute to the
Commander of Sri Lanka Navy and his fellow sailors for supporting him.
"When I did not have a job, it was Sri Lanka Navy which gave me
support to reach this level," he said. It was former Royal athlete and
ex-AASL Vice President Shemal Fernando who spotted Gunatillake's talents
when he was the Navy Athletic chief.
"I must thank my school coach Sisilton Hettiarachchi who taught me
the basics. Commodore Shemal Fernando and Commodore Colombage too helped
me a lot to sharpen my skills," he said.
Sri Lanka sprint queen Susanthika Jayasinghe, who did the anchor lap
for gold medal-winning women's 4 x 100m Sri Lanka team said she was
confident that she could complete a golden triple.
"As I said things are getting back to normal. I am regaining my old
I am confident than ever before and my aim right now to become the
fastest woman at the 10th South Asian Games and complete three gold
medal," she said. With women's 200m and 4 x 100m golds, the 30-year-old
celebrated sprinter only needs women's 100m title to fulfil that dream.