It gives a very different feeling when you are going to represent your country in a global event. When it is a tournament or competition that takes it into a different stage. That’s because of your talents, your skills, your knowledge, and your attitude bring pride and prestige to your country. Therefore, it gives a very, very extra different feeling with a mixture of happiness, courage, and fear when our small group of young talent got this rare opportunity to participate as the team representing Sri Lanka in the IAO-2019 or the International Astronomy Olympiad 2019.
This opportunity didn’t come by luck. These are the guys who got the highest marks in the local junior Astronomy Olympiad in 2018. Also, they’ve received special training for participating in this competition too. After a long wait, they have got a chance to show their talent to the world. This year, they had to go to Romania to show their capabilities.
Romania is a Southeastern European country which is located near the Black Sea. One-third of it is covered by mountains while another one-third of it is covered by forests. The culture of this country is based on Roman influence and was a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Russia till 1989. Also, this country is world-famous for the Count Dracula’s castle, which was the setting of the source story of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” book. Romania is a country that has a lot of natural resources and people get electricity mostly from hydropower by the various streams flowing through the country. But these days, it’s the girls in Romania who have become popular worldwide.
Here starts the journey
This time IAO was hosted in the Neamt country, in Romania, which is thousands of kilometers away from Sri Lanka. Therefore, most of the team stayed in relatives’ or friends’ houses around Colombo before the flight to Romania on 19th September. All got up very early in the morning from their beds and came to Katunayake International airport before 2 a.m. with their parents. Prof. Chandana Jayarathne also came to the airport to escort the team as the instructor of team Sri Lanka.
When the flight time came, parents of the team members gave hugs and wishes, while most of them were in a sleepy mood. Because they had to miss them for more than a week, it was somewhat an unbearable thing to them. However, they had started to fly around 2.10 a.m. to Dubai, and they arrived there nearly at 6.00 a.m. Dubai time. But they were too early for the next flight. So, all waited till the airplane docked into the airport.
They saw the world tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, which has 163 floors and a height of 828 m through the glass windows by a distance. All this time, they also saw airplanes landing and taking off from the airport as is dutiful of being one of the busiest airports in the world. Around 9.30 a.m. they started the second part of the journey when the airplane started to take the flight to Romania.
Arriving at Romania
At about 1.00 p.m. local time, they landed at Otopeni international airport in Bucharest after experiencing a nearly 5-hour flight time. But they were still so far away from their final destination. They spent more than 3 hours at the airport until the airplane to Isai arrived. On the way, they had landed in the capital city of Romania which is called Paris in Balkan or small Paris. After a long time waiting, they started flying to Isai, Neamt country. At last, they came to their destination at around 11.00 p.m. Sri Lanka time. Due to the closeness of the winter season, the area was dark early. Then they got into a bus and came to the central plaza hotel in Piatra Neamt which was hosting the competition this year. After a long, long journey, they got to sleep while hoping for a new adventure tomorrow.
This is article 1 of a series of 7 articles. Don’t forget to read article 2!
- Team Sri Lanka -IAO 2019