Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Priyantha Herath established a new World Record and won the gold medal in the Men’s Javelin Throw – F46 event at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo with a throw of 67.79m.
This is the first gold medal by a Sri Lankan at either an Olympic or a Paralympic Games event.
Herath’s third throw eclipsed the previous Olympic and World mark which was set by India’s Devendra Jhajharia who established it during the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
35-year-old Herath who won bronze in 2016 pipped Jhajharia for the gold medal in Tokyo.
Jhajharia had to settle for silver with his throw of 64.35m.
Sundar Singh Gurjar of India won the bronze medal in the event with a 64.01m throw.
Priyantha, who kissed the Sri Lankan flag after claiming victory in Toky said, “I am very happy because my main dream came true. I have no words to describe (the feeling).”
“This is the best example for Sri Lankan para athletes,” the 35-year-old athlete added.
Whilst this is a historic achievement for all Sri Lankans, there is one person that Priyantha dedicates this gold to: his wife
“I have three children and my wife looks after them very well. She motivates me. Our youngest child is only eight months old. (My wife) has done everything. She has given me freedom to do sport. I thank my wife for this gold.”
Priyantha was serving in the army until a gunshot wound in his left arm derailed his army career. He stayed in the hospital for more than four years but took up sports when he recovered.
“When I was a schoolboy, and (later) in the army, I didn’t play any sports. After I got injured, I was in hospital for more than four years. I had three gunshots to my arm during the war in Sri Lanka in 2008.
“Because I was in an infantry regiment, most of my friends also got injured the same day. So they were in the hospital chatting to each other.
“After I recovered, I wanted to play a sport as a recreation. My wife was a maximal boost for me.”
His decision to take up athletics was not in vain. Today, he stood on that track as a champion and a true Olympian.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has risen to 42nd in the Medals Standings at the 2020 Paralympic Games after Dinesh Priyantha Herath won a gold medal in the Javelin – F46 event with a world record throw of 67.79m.
This was the first medal for Sri Lanka at the 2020 Paralympic Games. At least 45 countries have won at least one gold medal so far at the Tokyo Games.
Meanwhile, China continues to top the Medals Standings at the Tokyo Paralympic Games with 47 gold medals.
China has also secured 30 silver and 29 bronze medals for a tally of 106. Great Britain has 24 gold, 19 silver and 19 bronze medals and is placed second while the United States is placed third in the standings with 15 gold medals, 17 silver and nine bronze medals.
A total of 75 countries have won at least one medal thus far at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Meanwhile later today, Sri Lanka’s Dulan Kodithuwakku and Chaminda Sampath Hettiarachchi will feature in the Men’s Javelin Throw – F64 finals.
The duo will commence their pursuit for Olympic glory when the event gets underway at 3.30pm at the Olympic Stadium.
(Inputs from https://olympics.com)