The North & East Ritzbury Sir John Tarbat Junior Athletics Championship concluded triumphantly at Jaffna’s Dorreiuppa Stadium on October 4, 2023. This event, while celebrating its success, also championed a deeper message of empowerment, diversity, and inclusivity across Sri Lanka, further boosting Sri Lankan youth opportunities.
The overall championship for girls was secured by Dehiattakandiya National School with an impressive total of 81 points, earning them the title of champion. Bharathy Vidyalaya-Valluvarpuram claimed the runner-up position with 47 points, while Vembadi Girl’s High School secured 3rd place with 45 points. On the boys’ side, the championship title was clinched by Pallai Central College, amassing a total of 77.5 points. St. Xavier’s Boys College earned the runner-up position with 75 points, and Manipay Hindu College secured 3rd place with a commendable 52 points.
Recognising individual excellence, the Best Athlete of the Year for Girls was awarded to V. Thenisha from Saivapragasa Ladies Colleage, who achieved an impressive 4.83m in long jump. Similarly, A. Romexson Lambert from St.Anne’s Colleage -Vankalai was honoured as the Best Athlete of the Year for Boys, having achieved a remarkable 5.66m in his long jump event as well. It is noteworthy that this year, over 1,000 athletes from the North and East participated.
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Ritzbury, Sri Lanka’s favourite chocolate brand of Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), has always been committed to encouraging and developing young athletes. Recognizing the need to expand its reach and provide equal opportunities, Ritzbury took the initiative to organise the championship in Jaffna to reignite the passion for competition, determination, and grit among the students in the North and East regions, all while breaking down geographical barriers and promoting cultural inclusivity.
Nilupul de Silva, General Manager – Marketing of CBL Foods International Pvt Ltd, shared his thoughts on the significance of this event, stating, “We noticed that the participation of students from the North and East in the Sir John Tarbat Junior Athletics Championship was considerably lower than in other provinces. To address this imbalance and promote inclusivity in Sri Lanka’s sporting arena, we felt compelled to go to their regions and encourage the participation of these talented young athletes. Our aim was to ensure that every athlete from every corner of Sri Lanka has the opportunity to showcase their athletic talents.”
Furthermore, in an effort to encourage participation, winners were awarded with trophies, medals and certificates before the final, this is something that does not usually happen in regional events. As the championship drew to a close, the winners earned the honour of advancing to the prestigious 51st Ritzbury Sir John Tarbat Athletic Junior Championship. This illustrious event, with its rich history, has been a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s school level sporting heritage, and Ritzbury’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of athletes ensures that this legacy continues to thrive.