This is the story of the brave ones, the ones who stepped into the sun to show Sri Lanka that they are ready to stand tall, to compete despite their challenges, and to defy the perception that their abilities are less than “normal.”
Sashi Madushanka lost his sight in 2009 due to an accident. Khalid Oshman went blind in 2012. Shaki Edirisinghe is hearing impaired. Thalawarige Punchibanda hails from a region called Dambana and took a giant step to conquer the unknown sea. They also supported each other: Shaki swam with one arm while other continuously rhythmically drumming on the water to keep his buddy Khalid from getting lost.
Each story was truly unique & heart-warming, and their determination to complete in the internationally recognized Ironman 70.3 Colombo was truly inspiring, and their performances breathtaking to watch.
They showed many a Sri Lankan that what separates the impossible from the possible is attitude, determination and spirit. A little acceptance and guidance can work miracles – and thanks to Julian Bolling and Denis Crassier, these men realized their potential.
We wish to note that there may’ve been many like our friends mentioned in this article, who we could not touch on, and they may have had equal or greater endeavors to share. Nevertheless, we are truly thankful to their contribution to showing that the world can be a better place with little steps of acceptance and encouragement.