Island Newspaper Article

Benedictine Athletes finish 2016 on a high

November 3, 2016, 8:27 am


St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena lay claim to be the unofficial number one team for the year 2016, displacing Maris Stella College, Negombo by winning four important titles and finishing close runners-up in two other events. St. Benedict’s started the year winning the Colombo Zonal Athletic Championship convincingly beating all other leading schools.

Next they annexed the Western Province Athletic Championship, the Province being the strongest in the country, following up the glamourur event of the schools Athletics calendar, the All Island Schools Relay Carnival at Bogambara, Kandy and then capping it all with a glorious victory at the Sir John Tarbet Junior Athletic Championship held at Embilipitiya recently where over 7000 athletes from every nook and corner of the country took part.

St. Benedict’s finished close runners-up at the All Island Schools Athletic Meet and the Sir John Tarbet Senior Athletic meet mainly due to injuries to some of their top athletes.

Bens also won the inaugural Josephian Relay Championship.

The hallmark of the Benedictine success has been their strategy of approaching every event as a team. Efforts made to instill this idea into the minds of the athletes are bearing fruit with the juniors in particular, with some senior taking little more time to imbibe it fully. However their total domination in the relay events show that they are moving in the right direction. At the Junior Tarbet meet their victory was entirely a team effort with just one individual Gold, together with other placing a strong contribution from relays and substantial amount of points gathered through the merit points earned by the Juveniles, namely under-13s and under-12s all tallying up to 64 points, 11 points ahead of St. Joseph’s College with Maris Stella College with distance 3rd.

St. Benedict’s star athlete Sahan Rajapaksha was unfortunately sidelined for the most part of the season with a leg injury .He should come back strong and fit in 2017. The emerging stars of 2016 were the all round athlete Avishka Dananjaya Ratnayake, a brilliant hurdler, long jumper and a sprinter, the Junior sprint champion Santhus Weerasinge, who won two Golds at an international meet in Russia and the Gold Medal winner of under-15 Discuss throw Sasanka Wijesinghe.

The athletes who should be mostly credited for the team’s success is the captain Shiran Angelo Jeganathen, who led by example and being a source of great strength to the indomitable Master-in-Charge and Junior Coach Nuwan Abeywickrema .

Team Mentor Old Ben Sriyal de Silva, an outstanding past athlete and All Island Schools Coloursman, made a significant contribution towards bringing St. Benedict’s College to the top in Schools Athletic scene, working very closely with the sports co-ordinator Rev. Br. Pravin Vaz, coaching and support staff and taking care of the needs of the individual athletes. Rev Br. Henry Dissanayake, Director of the College and Benedictines in Sri Lanka and overseas, who have readily supported and closely followed the progress of the team.

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