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We all know that the winner of any race is the player who gets the most attention. But, do you know that sometimes Defeater may be the man of the match? It was an extraordinary event. It happened in Japan in the Summer Olympics in 1964.
There were 29 athletes competed in the 10000m race at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. R. J. K. Karunananda (Sri Lanka), who competed at No. 67, had been in poor health the day before. Although Karunananda entered the race to represent his country, the focus of the whole world was on Australia’s Ron Clark. The biggest challenge for Ron Clark came from Billy Miles of the United States and Mohamed Gammadu of Tunisia.
The race consisted of 25 rounds around the 400-meter Tokyo Stadium, and by the time the first 10 rounds were completed, Karunananda was just over one round away from the other players. Ron Clark – Billy Miles and Mohammed Gammadu took full control of the race, and when the final round began they were three rounds ahead of Karunananda. After a very hot competition, Billy Miles of the United States set a new record by finishing the race in 28:24:04 minutes. Mohammed and Clarke finished second and third respectively in 28:24:08 and 28:25:08 minutes respectively. Billy Miles was the world record holder and winner. So he was the spotlight and all the journalists gathered around him.
Some of the contestants, who were far behind the first contestants, abandoned the competition. The organizers were also aiming to set the track for the next race. But to their surprise, Karunananda was the last player still racing on the track.
Amidst the insulting, mocking, and laughter of the audience, Karunananda began to run for around alone. Over the next round, the protests and sarcasm faded away, and many wondered who the player was. Silence spread throughout the stadium, and the spectators were surprised. As the final round began, the slow, applause ringing slowly grew, and the entire stadium cheers. When Karunananda reached the final meter, all the spectators got up from their seats and applauded the young man for this wonderful and courageous man. Karunananda finished the race in 32 minutes 21 seconds. Special thing was, there was only 4 minutes difference between him and the first place player. The world media forgot the winner of the competition Billy Miles and rallied around Karunananda.
I’ve come to represent my country in the Olympics. The law of sports is not only a victory. Participating in sports is important. It was an Olympic theme, so I completed all the rounds of my sporting event and played it perfectly. while Seeing defeat, I ran for my country.
–R. J. K. Karunananda (Sri Lanka)
The Government of Japan highly appreciated by Karunananda perseverance and courage. As a lesson, they included his story in as the first lesson in one of the Japanese 5th-grade school textbooks.
Sources – SIlumina News Paper