As international track & field events including the postponed 2020 Olympics prepare to get underway, Sri Lanka’s athletes have received an important boost in the form of the Ritzbury Mawbimata Weerayek initiative. Ritzbury, Sri Lanka’s No.1 brand of Chocolates from CBL Foods International (PVT) Ltd, has a longstanding tradition of fostering sporting talent in the country and as the next step on this mission, will be supporting 18 of country’s best and brightest prospects in athletics to reach greater heights and bring glory to the motherland. The media conference to announce the initiative was held on 4 March 2021 at the Taj Samudra in Colombo.
Ritzbury has a proud 15-year long history of supporting sports in Sri Lanka, including athletics, squash, swimming, rugby and tennis. By putting the sportsperson first and foremost, over the years, the brand has become synonymous with success in the Sri Lankan sports arena, elevating the profiles of national sportspersons whilst providing them the resources and financial support to excel at home and abroad. Key amongst these initiatives in track and field events has been Ritzbury’s longstanding support of the Ritzbury Sir John Tarbat School Athletics Championship, the all-important stage where the next generation of Sri Lankan national athletes are identified.
Whilst sports promotions usually focus on the international arena, as a local brand with strong grassroots connections, Ritzbury understands that fostering sporting talent begins in an athlete’s formative years. It is this ethos that has driven the brand’s programs to support tournaments like the Ritzbury Sir John Tarbat School Athletics Championship, which has benefitted many local athletes who have gone on to represent Sri Lanka on the international stage.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Nilupul de Silva, General Manager (Marketing) at CBL Foods International said, “As the No. 1 chocolate brand in the country, it is apt that we are supporting Sri Lanka’s No. 1 athletes. Too often our athletes are forced to abandon their dream of an Olympic podium finish due to various hardships. It is our sincere hope that through the Ritzbury Mawbimata Weerayek initiative, our athletes can overcome these hurdles and sprint towards the Olympic gold. We are committed to continuing and expanding this program in the years to come”.
Former national sprinter and Sri Lanka record holder, Ineka Cooray Wickremesinghe, currently a member of the selection committee at the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka said, “As an athlete who was fortunate enough to compete on the international track, I am grateful to Ritzbury for the support, motivation and encouragement they continue to give to our young athletes, even through the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am confident that the Ritzbury Mawbimata Weerayek program will help produce the country’s first Olympic gold medalist in the future”.
Many of Sri Lanka’s brightest prospects in athletics hail from rural areas and often compete in less-than-ideal circumstances lacking financial and professional support. Ritzbury views the support of these budding young talents as an integral part of the brand’s corporate social responsibility agenda and takes great pride in the brand’s association with the future champions of the nation.
De Silva said in conclusion, “All heroes need their support crew, through the Ritzbury Mawbimata Weerayek program, we are grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to be part of the support team of the next generation of Sri Lankan heroes”.