Sri Lanka is a wonderful country very famous for its extravagant talents. In fact, Sri Lankan youth have competed and won on the international stage in several instances in the past. Sri Lanka cricket, South Asian Games, Asian Games, and SAARC Games provide fine evidence for this fact. However, the most recent significant win Sri Lanka achieved was at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, which was held in August 2021. This achievement was secured by Dinesh Priyantha Herath. He became a World Record Holder while winning a gold medal in this competition. Thus, we thought of focusing this read on this great Sri Lankan sportsman. Continue reading, and get to know about this wonderful sports-star!
Who is Dinesh Priyantha?
Herath Mudiyanselage Dinesh Priyantha Herath is one of the eminent figures of Sri Lanka who brought glory to his motherland. In fact, he is a Paralympic track and field athlete and he represented Sri Lanka in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. And the interesting fact is that he became the World Record Holder in men’s Javelin throw in the F46 category in the Paralympics this year. Accordingly, he brought glory to the motherland by winning the gold medal for this event. And guess what? He is the first-ever Sri Lankan to win a gold at a Paralympic!
Early Life and Career of Dinesh Priyantha
Born on 15 July 1986, Dinesh Priyantha is the second child of the family. His home town is Anuradhapura. At his 12th age, unfortunately, he lost his beloved father. After the loss of his anchor in life, he faced numerous hardships to keep and continue life. However, after so much hard work, he has succeeded in life now. He is now a 32 years old energetic man with a nice family of three children.
Over the past years of his life, he has served the Sri Lankan Army and then continued his career in the field of athletics. The following sections will brief you about these phases of his life!
Dinesh Priyantha was a talented individual in the Sri Lankan army during the 30 years of civil war in Sri Lanka. He joined the army in 2004. Unfortunately, he was attacked during the last stage of military confrontation between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE. He was a Corporal in the 3rd Gajaba Regiment by then. However, with the gunshot attack in his left arm, he was unable to do the ordinary work. As a result, at the age of 22, he had to retire from the army. Yet, his passion and commitment for the country remained the same. Thus, with lots of encouragement from his Gajaba Regiment, he started his journey as a sportsman in 2012.
His fellow soldiers encouraged him to take part in international-level sports. As a result, he joined Para athletics in Anuradhapura in 2012 representing Gajaba Sports Club under the coach – Pradeep Nishantha. He had a passion for javelin which was his hobby. To become a physically and mentally strong contestant, it took roughly 6 to 7 months to get himself ready. Still, he succeeded in continuing his career in the field of athletics afterward.
In 2016, he first participated in the Summer Paralympic where he won the bronze medal for Men’s Javelin Throw. He won with a distance of 58.23 Meters. With that achievement, he was awarded as the Best Para Sportsman in the 2016 Platinum Awards. Dinesh Priyantha was the second to win a medal after the triumph of Pradeep Sanjaya who was the first Sri Lankan to win the Paralympic medal in the Men’s 400 meters race in T46.
With the 2016 triumph, Dinesh again participated in the 2017 World Para Athletics Championship in Men’s Javelin Throw. There he was successful in obtaining a silver medal. Dinesh Priyantha was the first Sri Lankan to win the Silver Medal in the 2019 World Para Athletic Championships in the 46th men’s category in Javelin with a record of 60.59 meters in distance.
In 2014, Dinesh Priyantha took part in the Asian Para Games which was a major milestone in his journey. He won 6th place in the javelin in 2014, owing to his strong dedication and performance. Afterward, he received the golden opportunity to become the flag bearer representing Sri Lanka in the 2018 Asian Para games. In the year 2018, he was very successful in creating a new record of 61.84 meters in distance in the Men’s Javelin Throw. This paved his way to the 2020 Paralympics!
Dinesh Priyantha at 2020 Paralympics
As you might already know, the 2020 Paralympics took place in Tokyo, Japan. The competitions began on 24th August and concluded on 5th September in 2021. There were 9 Sri Lankan players to represent Sri Lanka.
On 30th August, Dinesh Priyantha was able to win the Gold Medal in Men’s Javelin Throw in F46. As mentioned earlier, that was for the first time in Sri Lankan history for a player to win a gold in the Paralympic. Thus, it was a great moment for all the Sri Lankans. Since he was a soldier who sacrificed the good years of his life on behalf of the country, this was more like a tribute for the soldiers as well.
Apart from that Sri Lanka won another 3 Medals in Men’s Javelin Throw in F64. However, it was the first time that this splendid island won Tokyo’s Paralympics in 2020. Also, he was the first one to win 2 Paralympic medals. Most importantly, he was the only person who was successful to bring a gold medal for Sri Lanka until now in either Olympics or the Paralympics.
The Bottom Line
Considering his great achievement, Sri Lankan Army Commander, Mr. Shavendra Silva promoted him as a Warrant Officer 1 with the permission of the present Sri Lankan president – Gotabaya Rajapaksha. He gained this honor because of his cheerful achievement on both the battlefield and the playground. Apart from that, he won the title of the ‘Most Outstanding Para Athlete’ in the 2019 Presidential Sports Awards Ceremony in Sri Lanka as well. This again proves to us how talented and graceful fighter Dinesh Priyantha was.
Besides, this great achievement of Dinesh Priyantha and his hard journey in life teaches a great lesson to the society and people who live in it. He proves that even the disabled can win this world. Further, he becomes an inspiration for the people with lots of hardship to challenge themselves and to do the best in whatever they do. Also, he proves that no one is perfect, but if one tries, he or she can win the whole world.
After all, the efforts and the dedication of this talented sportsman need no exaggerations. So, let us all wish him all the success in his future endeavors!