By Susil Premalal
Sri Lanka’s first Youth Olympic Medalist Parami Wasanthi Maristella is set to receive a scholarship to Kenya through the courtesy of the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka (AASL).
The AASL is currently negotiating with the relevant officials to make this scholarship a reality.
The main purpose in granting this scholarship is to ensure that the promising athlete from Kuliyapitiya Central would reach her peak form before 2020.
The AASL is hoping that Parami would be able to win a medal for Sri Lanka at the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Japan and at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Kenya.
Parami has shown tremendous form during the last few months while bringing honour and fame to her country following some outstanding performances.
In June this year, she won a Gold Medal in the 3,000 meters steeplechase event in Japan while competing in the Asian Junior Athletics Championships.
In addition, she won the first place at the Youth Olympic Qualification Round in Bangkok, Thailand.
She then won a Bronze Medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
Currently she is third in the IAAF World Rankings in the Under-18 age group category.
Meanwhile, Major General Palitha Fernando, President of the AASL told the Daily Mirror that their prime goal in providing two years of international training to Parami was to ensure that she wins a medal at the 2024 Olympic Games in France.
However, the only hindrance for the 17-year-old at the moment is regarding her studies as she has not yet sat for her GCE Ordinary Level Examination.
As a result, talks are being held with diplomatic officials whether an education and training scholarship could be granted for her stay in Kenya.
The AASL President also said that five international exposures have been provided to Parami during the last few months.
Meanwhile, Sunil Jayaweera, Special Consultant (Sports), Ministry of Education believes that a short term training programme is the ideal for Parami as she is still a schoolgirl. Jayaweera also stressed the importance of providing international training to her coach as well.