By Natasha Fernandopulle
When Ananda Wedisinghe hit the mountains to participate in the 25th Foxhill Supercross and the Nuwara Eliya Road Races in April this year, he never quite knew what sort of cruel fate would come his way.
What lies ahead of you can never really be preplanned so when Wedisinghe was injured at this year’s Nuwara Eliya Road Races, in spite of the critical state he was in, no one, not even his family really expected his brilliant and vibrant life to come to such an abrupt end.
Still buoyant following his fantastic performance in the 2016 championships, he was looking forward to a fabulous 2017 racing season when the fatal accident took place which resulted in his untimely death on May 29, 2017. He was 47 at the time of his death.
The news of Wedisinghe’s accident and subsequently his death, sent shockwaves across the island via social media and those who adored him and followed this talented rider’s brilliant career.
Riders, drivers and fans were grief stricken when news of his death came to light. A river of tributes flowed out to his wife and daughter who were by his side at the Kandy General Hospital, throughout the ordeal.
‘Wedda’ as he was fondly known, was pronounced dead on May 29 despite the best efforts of a series of doctors who looked into his case at the Kandy S.I.C.U.
“Ananda was a strong rider and he always pushed hard during his two and a half decade long racing career,” said veteran rider Shane Gunawardena.
Wedisinghe raced against not just Shane Gunawardena but his brother Duane back in the day and even raced with their children Jaden, Aaron and Jacques.
“It is not often do you find a rider who has that kind of endurance,” Gunawardena added and went on to state: “We saw him always pushing to the maximum back in the day, and to date he is a frontrunner. He has crashed many times, and recovered from his injuries with plates and screws putting him back together and thereby seemed invincible so what happened last Monday seems impossible to me,” Gunawardena said.
“All we can say is thank you to Ananda, for what he contributed to the sport,” an emotional Gunawardena signed off.
Wedisinghe is survived by his wife Rumi and daughter Rina.