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Remembering the legends

Sunil was an athletic coach par excellence

It is time to remember athletes who brought honour and glory to Sri Lanka and it is for this purpose that Dialog Telekom in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Pubic Recreation pays tribute to over 200 athletes in over 15 disciplines on July 15 at the BMICH.

Dialog Telekom has been a prominent sponsor of Sri Lankan Sports and is committed to developing talent in Sri Lanka to international standards.

Having hung up his spikes at just 28 years Sunil Gunawardena went into coaching to give back to a sport he still has the deepest respect for and which he unabashedly admits, made him what he is today.

His pursuit of bringing out the best in others and helping others reach their full potential was realized in the producing of speed stars such as Damayanthi Darsha, Mahesh Perera, Ranga Wimalawansa, Rohan Pradeep Kumara and many more.

The vast experience Sunil gained over the years enabled him to guide Sri Lanka's sports further by representing the country as a coach at the Asian Games, Manager at the World Games and Chef De Mission at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

He then took up the responsibility of President of the Athletic Association and Vice President of the National Olympic Committee in 2001.

And keeping very much to the trend of today of powering stars of the future Sunil says "I have dedicated my life to athletics but I still feel I can give back much, much more. I will do so till I know deep in my heart that I have given it my all".

After much success as a world class sprinter Sunil Gunawardena found himself at the 1974 Asian Games with a bold decision to make. The Sri Lankan relay team was one man short.

He either had to give up his pet events and compete in the 400 M relay, an event he had never done before or go for a sure medal in the individual race. Sunil took the challenge without any hesitation and won the Gold for Sri Lanka in the 400 M relay, a feat unmatched to this day by any other team.

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