Sri Lankan Olympic stars of yesteryear | Daily News

Sri Lankan Olympic stars of yesteryear

Ranga Wimalawansa was a specialist in 4X400m relay:
Ranga  Wimalawansa
Ranga Wimalawansa

Ranga Wimalawansa was born on April 17, 1980 in Payagala and had his early education at Holy Cross College, Kalutara.

He took to athletics following the guidance from his school teacher-in-charge Ranasinghe. Having a playground close to his residence was an added advantage and his success at the 1994 Public Schools Meet brought a dramatic turnaround in his career. Wimalawansa was able to join St. Peter’s College in 1994 and there he came under the supervision of veteran Coach Sunil Gunawardena.

He never looked back from there onwards and went on to win the Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 Championships at the Public Schools Athletic Meets.

His maiden international meet was the 1996 World Junior Athletics Meet in Australia but he could not make an impact.

He tasted success in the international arena for the first time when he anchored the 400X4m Relay Team to win the Bronze Medal at the 1998 Asian Championships in Japan while still a schoolboy. He was selected as the Most Outstanding Athlete in the year 2000 and 2001. The 400X4m relay quarter comprising Ranga Wimalawansa, Rohan Pradeep Kumara, V. Ratnakumara and Manura Lanka were able to establish a new Sri Lanka record clocking 3.02.71s in the year 2000. In fact, this record is still in existence. He won the Gold Medal in this event in 2002 and 2003 as well.

He won a Bronze Medal in the 400m event at the 2002 Asian Championships and was a member of the 400X4m Relay Team which won a Gold Medal at the 2006 South Asian Games.

Wimalawansa was a member of the Sri Lanka 400X4m Relay Team that participated at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

The Sri Lanka Team won the first-round heat but they were pushed to the sixth place in the semi-finals.

He retired from the sport in 2007 due to an injury but continued to operate as an athletics coach and later as a businessman. (C.D)