Champion athlete Gnanasena Banda in sorry plight, needs help
ATHLETICS: Gnanasena Banda (S.M.G.) - a product of Wickremabahu
College, Gampola who joined the Ministry of Sports in 1972, became a
National Athletic Coach and quite a prominent person. He followed an
advanced athletic coaching course at the Mainz University. West Germany
and after that turned out to be quite a prominent coach.
Champion athlete Gnanasena Banda needs help. Picture by
Upananda Jayasundera - Kandy Sports Special Corr
The course in West Germany was around nine months duration and with
the experienced gained, he had the privilege of coaching Harijan
Ratnayake and Asoka Jayasundera - both 400 metres hurdlers and champions
and figured prominently at international meets.
Banda was one of Sri Lanka's athletic coaches at the Sydney Olympic
Games in 2000.
He trained Harijan Ratnayake and later Ratnayake became a champion at
the Asian Championships held in Indonesia in the 400 metres hurdles
When Banda went over for the Olympic Games as coach in 2000, the
other coaches were Derwin Perera and Sunil Gunawardena. Susanthika
Jayasinghe won a medal for Sri Lanka in the 200 metres event and this
was after Duncan White's medal winning effort many years back.
Susanthika Jayasinghe was trained by Sunil Gunewardena.
Banda became quite prominent as a schoolboy at Wickremabahu College,
Gampola. He played cricket, football and also participated in athletics.
He captained the cricket team in 1965 and in football, he represented
Gampola Rovers for 15 years.
While still in school Gnanasena Banda became a prominent athlete and
he came a close second to D.K. Podimahattaya of the Sri Lanka Army in
the 100 metres event at the National Championship in 1962.
In that meet Podimahattaya equalled the Sri Lanka record timing of
10.08 second in the 100 metres.
Then later on, Gnanasena Banda showed up prominently at the
All-Island Government Services Meet and came first in the 100, 200
metres and also won triple jump event in 1976 after joining the Ministry
of Sports. Earlier, he had set a new timing of 22.09 seconds at the
Central Province Athletic Meet in 1967.
The feats of Gnanasena Banda were done in the good old days when he
was in his prime.
But now, Banda was forced to retire from active participation and
coaching after he suffered a "stroke".
He is helpless these days and would be somewhat happy if some
financial assistance can come his way to tide over the difficult period
he is in.
He can be contacted at residence: 081-2352095 or Mobile: 0777-665686.