In keeping with its ongoing endeavour to foster and promote national level sporting stars from school level, Janashakthji Insurance PLC recently extended its patronage of two of its sponsored athletes, on their completing their secondary level education.
They are 19 year old Ishara Sandeepani Dayananda from Ferguson Girls High School, Ratnapura and 19 year old S. Thanuja from Arunodaya College, Alaveddy, Jaffna. Both girls have done exceptionally well and have reached great heights in their respective events during the year in review and during the period of their sponsorship by Janashakthi as school level athletes.
Ishara’s best achievements in 2011 include a Gold medal in 100 meter Hurdles in the Junior National Sports event and Gold medals in the 100M and 200M relay event in the National School Sports Championships this year.
These are considered to be major achievements in her sporting career. In addition, she was also placed 03rd in the 100M hurdles at the National Level championships event and clinched second place in both the 100M and 200M events at the National Youth sports event while still recovering from an injury.
A keen sportswoman and a determined youngster, Dayananda thanks her parents for being her guidance and strength. “I’m grateful to Janashakthi Insurance PLC for recognising and having confidence in my talents these past three years and for backing me along every step of my sporting career.” Outlining her plans for the future, she says that her primary ambition is to represent Sri Lanka in the hurdles and relay events in the Junior and Youth International Games at which I will do my mother land proud.
Ishara previously won the following awards in 2010 – Best Athlete U20 at the Women’s Athletic Championships, Best Female Athlete U20 at the Junior National Championships, Best Athlete of the Meet (Senior) at the John Tarbet Championships, Most Popular Athlete at the National School Games. She also won the Best Female Athlete U20 at the National Youth Sports in different age categories from 2008 to 2010.
Born and bred in Alaveddy, Jaffna, 19 year old S. Thanuja’s story has been one of deep resilience and great triumph against all odds. Born to farmer parents, she lived in a refugee camp at the tender age of three for more than three years.
Thanuja dreamt of being a long jump star and carried on undeterred towards her goal.
The turning point was in 2003 when she was placed second in the U13 District Sports Event. With determination and training, she went on to win Gold in the U15 High Jump event, two years later.
There was no turning back.
Thanuja is today a sporting star in her own right and one with great potential to represent her country in the near future. In fact during her very first appearance in Colombo in 2009, she established a new school national record for pole vault.
She won two Gold Medals in U20 Junior and Senior pole and high jump events respectively at the
2011 All Island Schools track sports events. The list continues with first place in High Jump and Pole Jump at the Senior National Championships, and, third place in High Jump and first place in Pole Jump at the 2011 Junior National Championship.
With the new national school pole vault record under her belt, this young star has now set her sights on bettering her own feat and setting a new Sri Lankan national record.
Her ultimate goal is to represent Sri Lanka at the Olympics and bring greater glory as she has done to her hometown where she is a hero in her own right.
She fondly remembers with gratitude the strengths behind her success - her beloved parents and especially her trainer and guide Siththayia Subashkaran who was with her from the beginning of her career.
The co-ordinator of the Janashakthi Athletic Sponsorship Project and General Manager Finance and Planning, Bertal Pinto-Jayawardena says that Janashakthi is proud and privileged to support these two sporting stars.
“These two young athletes are national treasures in their own right. Given the correct guidance and training, they have the capacity to perform well at international events and thus bring glory to their beloved motherland.”
As part of its social responsibility endeavour, Janashakthi Insurance PLC continues its annual Athletes Sponsorship Programme for the fourth consecutive year.
Under this programme eight outstanding outstation student athletes receive a monthly sponsorship, an incentive payment based on individual performances and overseas travel assistance for any international meets for which they are selected.
In addition, they are also supported with training guidance, technical advice and other such support to enhance their young careers.
Janashakthi has also provided employment to fourth other national level athletes.
“Our message to these two sports stars is - strive with determination and give your best to achieve your life’s dreams. We will do our utmost to enable rising stars to shine brighter. Janshakthi Insurance PLC will always lead the way whereby other public and private sector entities can also come forward and sponsor and promote Sri Lanka’s sports stars and thereby help them fly the Lion Flag at international meets,” Pinto-Jayawardena added.