Junior Rowing Team Aims for Glory in Asian Championships

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A team of eleven skilled Sri Lankan junior rowers is poised to compete in the upcoming Asian Rowing Under-19 and Under-23 Championships, scheduled to take place in Pattaya, Thailand, from December 14 to 18. Organized by the Asian Rowing Federation, the event will see these young athletes vying against 12 nations, including rowing powerhouses like China, India, Japan, Indonesia, and Iran.

Under the mentorship of National Coach Pedro Sanz, these promising athletes dedicated nearly four months to intensive training at the Diyawanna Rowing Centre. Their preparation aims to position Sri Lanka competitively in the challenging field of international rowing.

Dimuth Gunawardena, President of the Sri Lanka Rowing Association, acknowledged the hurdles faced in securing funds for the tournament and coach payments. Despite these challenges, the resilient team is ready to proudly represent their country.

The selected squad comprises top performers from leading rowing schools in Colombo. The Sri Lanka Rowing Association envisions this competition as a stepping stone to building a formidable team for future Asian events.

Gunawardena expressed optimism, stating, “These youngsters are in excellent shape, and we hope they bring honor to the country. That’s our wish.”

The spotlight shines on Sri Lanka’s boys’ squad, led by the talented Shaylon Gunaratna, who clinched the title of Asian champion earlier this year in the coastal rowing event. Expectations are high for Gunaratna and his teammates as they aim to leave a lasting impression on the international stage.

On the girls’ side, Sri Lanka nurtures a promising team, with Rovynia Wijesekera at the forefront. Already a bronze Asian medalist this year in coastal rowing, Wijesekera brings experience and determination to the team’s quest for success.

The team comprises five female athletes—Nethuki Senanayake, Oneli Chandrasekera, Jaanya Kumarawadu, Rovynia Wijesekera, and Havishka Perera—and six male athletes—Kehan Sooriyarachchi, Disas Sooriyarachchi, Venuk Paduwawala, Mithil Wickramasinghe, Shivanedra Goonewardena, and Shaylon Gunaratne. Eager to showcase their skills, the Sri Lankan contingent is set to make their mark in the championship.

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First Row (from left): Nethuki Senanayera, Oneli Chandrasekera, Venuk Paduwawala, Kehan Sooriyarachchi, Disas Sooriyarachchi, Shivanedra Goonewardena, Mithil Wickramasinghe, Havishka Perera, Jaanya Kumarawadu.
Second Row (from left): Shaylon Gunaratna (athlete), Pedro Sanz (Technical Director of ARASL), Pasan Ranaaweera (Hony.Secretary of ARASL), Dimuth Gunawardena (President of ARASL), Sithira Wickramasekera (Vice President of ARASL), Shanaka Kariyawasam (Assistant Junior coach of ARASL), Rovynia Wijesekera (athlete).
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