Sri Lanka’s visually impaired athletes shine with gold and silver triumphs at the South Asian International Games

4th South Asian International Games

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4th South Asian International Games

On the afternoon of January 26th, two accomplished visually impaired athletes from Sri Lanka who showcased their prowess at the 4th South Asian International Games in Chennai, India, returned triumphantly to Katunayake International Airport.  

Asanka Dissanayake, hailing from Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa, distinguished himself by securing Gold medals in both the visually impaired 5,000-meter Running event and the 5,000-meter Walking event. Additionally, he claimed a Silver medal in the 3,000-meter Walking event. 

Khalid Osmond, a resident of Kolonnawa, exhibited his excellence in the Open category Of Visually Impaired Boxing under 70 kg. He emerged victorious in a thrilling final against an Indian opponent, clinching the coveted Gold medal. Osmond also showcased his versatility by attaining a Silver medal in the 5,000-meter Visually Impaired Race. 

In an exclusive interview with Mr. N. N. Dhananjaya, the Coach of Khalid Osmond from Agoge Boxing Academy, he expressed immense pride in Khalid’s outstanding achievements at the 4th South Asian International Games. Mr. Dhananjaya revealed that Khalid embarked on his training journey with him three years ago, and remarkably, he has not charged Khalid a single penny for his coaching services.

Coaching a visually impaired athlete presented unique challenges for Mr. Dhananjaya, requiring innovation in training methodologies. Given the absence of specific tournaments for visually impaired players, Khalid had to engage in sparring sessions with other boxers under Mr. Dhananjaya’s guidance. This adaptive approach to training underscores the dedication and resilience of both the Coach and the Athlete. 

Remarkably, Khalid Osmond took the initiative to apply for the South Asian International Games independently, showcasing his determination and self-motivation.  

In a poignant revelation, Mr. Dhananjaya shared that Khalid was not born visually impaired; instead, his impairment resulted from an injection mishap that occurred 15 years ago. Khalid’s journey overcoming such a challenge exemplifies not only his personal strength, but also the unwavering support and guidance provided by his Coach. 

The 4th South Asian International Games unfolded from January 20th to 22nd, providing a platform for these remarkable athletes to showcase their skill and determination on the international stage. Their impressive achievements not only bring honour to themselves, but also contribute to the pride and recognition of Sri Lanka in the realm of sports.