Janashakthi launches rural athlete sponsorship program

Monday, 3 March 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

As part of its commitment towards empowering Sri Lanka’s youth, Janashakthi Insurance recently launched its Rural Athletic Scholarship Program for the sixth consecutive year. The program saw three new young and promising school athletes as well as two outstanding young tennis players being brought into the program. Janashakthi Insurance handpicks these young athletes based on their potential from numerous applications received and from Janashakthi’s own system of scouting for outstanding rural talent. The company’s sponsorship includes a monthly payment as well as an incentive scheme to recognise outstanding performances. Financial support is also provided when selected to represent Sri Lanka overseas. Beyond financial sponsorship, Janashakthi Insurance goes the extra mile for its young athletes by providing technical guidance and motivational programs. The performances of these athletes are continually monitored and inspirational as well as motivational thoughts are fed into their minds on a continuous basis. In addition, Janashakthi Insurance also offers these athletes the opportunity to become full time employees, continuing to sponsor them while they pursuing their promising sports careers. As at present, there are 12 school athletes who receive sponsorship under the program, as well as six who are in the Employee Category. In addition, there are two tennis players who have been brought into this overall Sponsorship Scheme. Proof of the continued success of the program is the stellar performance of the young athletes themselves – those chosen have gone on to excel at local and several international level championships. Last year, Shivanthi Rathnayake was re-appointed Captain of the Junior Women’s team, representing Sri Lanka at the SAARC Junior Athletics Championships in Randhi, India. The team put on their best performance yet, with Shivanthi winning a Gold in the 400 metre event, while her participation in the 4 x 400 relay event propelled it to win a second Gold medal.  Rumeshika Ratnayake won two bronzes in the 100 m and 200 m and gold in the 100m relay; Samith Lakmal won bronzes in the 100 m and 200 m events and a gold in the 100 m relay; Malin Udaya Kumara won a silver in the hurdles and a bronze in Long Jump; Harshini Wathsala won gold in the 400 m relay. Previously Akila Ravishanka won a silver medal at the hurdles event at the Asian Junior Championships in China. Rumeshi Ratnayake, Medhani Wickramasinghe and Akila Ravishanka also participated in the Inaugural School’s Athletics Championships in Malaysia, all of them winning medals at that meet as well, while Rumeshi and Samith represented Sri Lanka at the World Junior Championships. All of the sponsored athletes performed outstandingly well at local national meets, including the Senior Sir John Tarbet and National Schools Games. A number of these young athletes are National Junior Record holders. The Senior Employed athletes won the Championship Segment of the Mercantile Athletics Championships for the fourth consecutive year. “The objective of the rural athletic program is to empower talented youth, giving them the motivation they need to reach their potential. In doing so, not only are they achieving success for themselves, their families and their schools but more importantly, they are also bringing honour to Sri Lanka as well,” said Janashakthi General Manager – Finance and Planning Bertal Pinto-Jayawardena, who is also the Co-ordinator of the Athletes Sponsorship Project. “Sri Lanka has considerable potential in the athletics field, as is clear from the highly talented performances of these young stars. It is a privilege to help them fulfil their potential via this program, which has been continuing since 2007, and in doing so, fulfil Janashakthi Insurance’s own philosophy of contributing to nation building and strengthening the community we serve,” he said.