Athletes empowered by Ritzbury ‘Mawbimata Weerayek’ bring glory to Sri Lanka at the Asian Athletics Championship 2023

Ritzbury, Sri Lanka’s favourite chocolate brand, sponsored yet another 13 Sri Lankan national athletes under the Ritzbury ‘Mawbimata Weerayek’ initiative. The team displayed several record-breaking performances at the 25th Asian Athletics Championship, organised by the Asian Athletics Association which took place in Bangkok, Thailand from 12th to 16th July 2023.

At the Asian Athletics Championships, 18-year-old Tharushi Karunarathna, the current Asian Junior Champion, secured the gold medal in the 800m race with a time of 2:00:66 minutes. She set several records, including the New Asian Championship record, Asian Leader in both Junior and Senior categories, South Asian Junior Record, Sri Lanka Record and Sri Lanka Junior Record. This achievement marks the best performance by a Sri Lankan junior athlete. In the same event, Gayanthika Abeyrathna won a bronze medal.

Additionally, the men’s 4x400m relay team, consisting of Aruna Darshana, Rajitha Rajakaruna, Pabasara Niku, and Kalinga Kumarage, won the Gold Medal, setting a New Asian Championships record and a New Sri Lanka Record. Their performance also increased their chances of qualifying for the World Championships. Meanwhile, the women’s 4x400m relay team, comprising Nadeesha Ramanayaka, Sayuri Mendis, Nishendra Fernando, and Tharushi Karunarathna, achieved a New Sri Lanka Record and secured the highest medal position in the history of Sri Lanka’s women’s 4x400m relay.

Notably, Sri Lanka won Three gold medals, one silver, and three bronze medals overall at the championships.

Since 2011, Ritzbury has been identifying aspiring Sri Lankan athletes by becoming the sole sponsor of Ritzbury Sir John Tarbat Athletics Championship. The sponsorship benefits more than 15,000 athletes per year. As an extension of the sponsorship, 15 of the most skilled and high potential athletes who took part in the championship were further financially supported by Ritzbury to reach national level athletics. Ritzbury “Mawbimata Weerayek”; the said scholarship  programme; was initiated in 2019 as an extension of school level athletics, to support national level athletes with the aim of bringing  back the glorious era of athletics in the nation. The support rendered by the initiative has contributed significantly to the growth and improvement of athletics in the country and has been recognized as a key contributor in uplifting sports in the nation.

With Sri Lanka having its best-ever campaign at the Asian Athletic Championships, ranking 4th in the overall medal tally, achieving the highest medal count, setting two Asian Championships records, five Sri Lanka records, one South Asian Junior Record, and one National Junior record and with 11 out of the 13-member team winning medals, it is clear that Ritzbury’s efforts to develop athletics in Sri Lanka has paid off.

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