12:04pm on Saturday 6th July 2024
The Air Force Colour Awards Ceremony 2022-2023 was held yesterday (05 July 2024) at a gala ceremony at the Eagle's Lakeside Banquet and Convention Hall. The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General Kamal Guneratne (Retd) along with his lady Mrs. Chitrani Guneratne graced the occasion.

Every two years, the Air Force Colour Awards ceremony shines a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of sports personalities within the Sri Lanka Air Force. This prestigious event pays tribute to the dedication, sacrifice, and hard work of all involved in the realm of sports disciplines in the SLAF. This year, a 37 sports disciplines were under evaluation, with 355 sports personalities nominated for the coveted 555 SLAF colours. Additionally, 61 exceptional athletes who showcased extraordinary performances during the review period were honored with the Golden Eagle Awards.

The first formal Air Force colour Awards ceremony was held in 1964 by the Royal Ceylon Air ForceIn that, colours for 1962 and 1963 had been awarded along with the Trophy for the Most Outstanding Sportsman of the Year termed as the Varatharasa Memorial Trophy, in memory of Late Flight Lieutenant Appapillai Varatharasa who died due to an air crash in China bay. Accordingly, FlightSergeant Bertie Ekanayake was crowned the first winner of prestigious ‘Varatharasa Trophy’ in 1962. The first woman to have won SLAF colours was Leading Aircraftwoman Hadunsuriya KMPK who won colours for Shooting in 1985.

The Group Captain Roger Weerasinghe Memorial Trophy for Most Outstanding Upcoming Sports Personality was awarded to Corporal Perera LRD for Netball in the year 2022 and Lady Officer Cadet Savindi JMS for Swimming in 2023. Leading Aircraftwoman Coorey MPSS for Boxing in 2022 and Sergeant Ranasinghe OU for Cricket in 2023 bagged the Flight Lieutenant Priya Abeyweeragunawardana Memorial Trophy for the most Outstanding Sportswoman. Flight Lieutenant A Vartharasa Memorial Trophy for the Most Outstanding Sportsman was awarded to Sergeant Dharmawardana RCN for Judo in 2022 and Leading Aircraftman Jayathilake SMM for Weightlifting in 2023.

Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Udeni Rajapaksa, along with his lady Mrs. Enoka Rajapaksa, Chief of Staff of the SLAF, Air Vice Marshal Sampath Wickremaratne, members of the Air Force Board of Management, the Director General Sports in the Ministry of Sports, senior officers, sports editors and most importantly, the family members of the sports achievers, were present at this grand ceremony, which honoured the keen sportsmen and women in various sports disciplines.

SLAF Academy China Bay and SLAF Station Colombo was awarded the Vernon Rajapaksha Trophy for being the Best Unit in Sports of the Year 2022 and 2023, respectively.

The outstanding Sport of the Year, which is honoured by the President Air Force Sports Council Trophy, was awarded to the Women’s Boxing team for 2022, the Women’s Cricket team for 2023, the Men’s Volleyball team for 2022 and the Men’s Water Polo team for 2023.

Meanwhile, the Air Chief Marshal DC Perera Memorial Trophy for the Most Dedicated Sports Personality of the Year award was presented to Corporal Rathnasekara MR (Coach Taekwondo) for 2022 and Flight Sergeant Jayawickrama CC (Manager Weightlifting) for year 2023.

Finally, Chief Guest of the Colour Awards Ceremony 2022–2023, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), addressed the gathering, expressing his inspiring thoughts at the felicitation ceremony.



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