Colombo, Sri Lanka, October 13, 2020: Ranjit Weerasena, who was President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka from 1980 to 1982, passed away on Tuesday, October 13. He was 78.
Weerasena, known fondly as the "Gentle Giant", was also President of the Sri Lanka Athletics Association - a position he first held when he was 37, and the youngest person to do so. He was also a council member of the Asian Athletics Association from 1998 to 2007.
As a schoolboy at St. Peter’s College in Colombo in 1958, Weerasena came to prominence on the athletics field in the discus throw. He reigned as national discus champion for 12 years and held the Sri Lankan record from 1964 to 1975.
At the 2016 Presidential Sports Awards ceremony Weerasena won the Lifetime Achievement Award. He received his award in a wheelchair from then President Maithripala Sirisena.
Weerasena said at the time: “It is important to value an individual based on his performances. And his importance must be valued when the individual is living. Not when he is dead and gone. I have not won such an award before. I felt a great gratitude when I got this award from the President himself.”
Weerasena was left bed-ridden for the last decade after suffering a major stroke.
He is survived by his wife Asoka Samarawickrema, a former national netball and hockey player.