Lanka’s Beatrice no more
Sri Lankan Beatrice Ranjini Bandara, who came to compete in Bengaluru in the late 60s and then became Beatrice Hegde - as the State’s daughter-in-law -passed away last Wednesday following a brief illness. She was 70.
Beatrice, who married Shankar Hegde, her classmate at the YMCA College of Physical Education, was a regular in the State squad in the 70s. She excelled in sprints, hurdles and javelin throw. From YMCA, she joined the Sacred Heart School here as a physical education teacher where her favourite students were the famous sisters - Pushpa and Ashwini Nachappa.
“Beatrice represented Mysore and then Karnataka in several Nationals and won medals. She was also selected in the National squad, but due to her Sri Lankan passport she could not represent India. Those days, there was no bar for foreigners representing the State if they resided in the State,” Shankar Hegde told TOI.
“I met her during my course at the YMCA College and got married eight years later, in 1978. She was a regular in the State team from the 1972 Kottayam Nationals. She competed in the 100m, 200m and javelin throw. At the Open Nationals in 1973 in Ludhiana she won the Bronze in javelin throw. And next year in Hyderabad she was part of the State team that won the 4x100m relay Silver medal. The other members of the quartet were Irene Saldanha, Angel Mary and Mary Varghese,” Hegde, former Secretary of Bangalore School Athletics Association, recalled.
Beatrice, who was born in Hambantota studied at the Sacred Heart Girls High School in Galle, was a member of the Ceylon Track and Field Club that visited the Garden City to compete in the C. Prasanna Kumar memorial athletics meet in 1968. Two years later, she returned to Bengaluru to study at YMCA and then settled down here. In Colombo she trained under Nancy de Silva while In Bengaluru, she trained under stalwarts like N. Lingappa, V.R. Beedu and Somasekharappa.
“She was not feeling well for the past few days. We took her to the hospital and conducted a Covid-19 test but that came negative. On 15 July she had a heart attack and was on the ventilator. She passed away on Wednesday and her body was cremated on Thursday,” Hegde said.
The couple’s son, Sandeep and daughter Sahana, who are both settled in Australia, couldn’t attend the cremation.