• December 10, 2022

The Bright Stars Of Sri Lanka Athletics

In the recently concluded South Asian Games, the Sri Lankan Athletic contingent brought home an impressive tally of 15 Gold Medals, 12 Silver Medals and 8 Bronze Medals. This bears testament to the immense potential amongst our very own boys and girls. Fitness & Sports is proud to feature some of the bright stars of our Sri Lankan Athletics Team and share their story and vision towards making our Motherland proud in the world of athletics in the future. Here are the stories from the young stars themselves.

Dilshi Kumarasinghe, Medals Won at 2019 South Asian Games:

3 Golds

Dilshi Mahesha Sharmali Kumarasinghe is 20 years old hailing from Digana, Kandy. Her events are the 400m and 800m. At the 2019 South Asian Games, Dilshi won 3 Gold Medals in the 400m, 800m and the 400m Relay. Dilshi is a member of the 4X400m Relay team that established the Sri Lanka Record in 2019.

Fitness & Sports: How did you take up athletics and when did you realise the 800m is your race?

Dilshi Kumarasinghe: I started athletics in 2014 at my school, Walala Rathnayake MMV. My school coach was Mr. Susantha Fernando. Initially I ran the 100m and 200m then moved to the 400m. Eventually the 800m became my main race and I run the 400m to support my 800m. However, I train for both the 800m and the 400m.

F&S: Describe how you balanced school work with training?

DK: During my school years I stayed in the school hostel though my home was 1 ½ km away from the grounds. In the hostel I used to wake up at 4 a.m. and train from 5 a.m.till 7 a.m. School was from 7.30 a.m. till 3 p.m. Right after school I would train again in the afternoon and then return to the hostel and do my schoolwork. I would go to bed at 10 p.m. but during exams I would stay up till 12 or 1 a.m. This way I was able to pass all my exams.

F&S: Describe the training for 800m?

K: Currently, I have 2 coaches to train me. My Head Coach is Mr. Susantha who was my coach from my school days and my Assistant coach is Ms. Inoka who is a retired Army Coach. The day’s routine is made by my Head Coach. My schedule is as follows. Warm up & stretching followed by the main workout which is usually something like 3X600m and 5X1000m followed by a warm down and stretching and then it is all about hydrating and refuelling my body.

F&S: You won 3 Gold Medals at the recent South Asian Games, what are your future goals and what is your plan to achieve them?

DK: I expect to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games and eventually to win a medal at the Olympics. I am targeting the 2024 Olympics. My current time for the 800m is 2:4.23 seconds and the qualification time for the Olympics is 1:59 seconds. The 400m Olympic qualification time is 51 seconds and I am currently running 53.40 seconds. This year I want to run a 52 second 400m and a 2:02 seconds 800m. My Head Coach will structure my workout accordingly to help me achieve this goal.

F&S: Who do you wish to appreciate those who have supported and encouraged you?

DK: I thank my Parents, my coaches Mr. Susantha and Ms. Inoka, the Sri Lanka Army who look after me and my sponsor the Ceylon Biscuits Limited company.

S.P. Aruna Darshana, Medals Won at 2019 South Asian Games:

2 Golds

S.P. Aruna Darshana is 21 years old hailing from Seruwawila, Trincomalee. At the 2019 South Asian Games, Aruna won Gold at the 400m and 400m Relay. He holds the Asian Junior Record for 400m of 45:79 seconds

Fitness & Sports: Describe your childhood and how you started athletics?

Aruna Darshana: I started athletics at my village school in Matale in Grade 8. Now I train in Kandy and come to Colombo for competition. My childhood village is in the interior of Seruwawila in Trincomalee. We had very little basic facilities, so my childhood was very tough. I grew up with my Parents and 3 brothers. At school I went for athletics practices and I also played Elle and cricket. I was selected to run the 400m at school.

F&S: Describe the training for 400m?

AD: I warm up by jogging 4 rounds of the ground then I do my stretching. My morning workout consists of running 3x300m. In the evening I run continuously for 20 minutes.

 

 

F&S: What are your future goals and your plan to achieve them?

AD: I hope to participate in the next Asian Games and try to win a medal. I am aiming to win a medal at the 2024 Olympics. To qualify for the Olympics I have to run 400m in 44:90 seconds. I have to train hard for this.

F&S: Who do you wish to appreciate who have supported and encouraged you?

AD: I thank my parents and brothers, my coach Mr. Rajakaruna and all those who have helped me get to where I am today.

Lakshika Sugandi Gonapala, Medals Won at 2019 South Asian Games:

2 Golds, 1 Bronze

Lakshika Sugandi Gonapala is 28 years old and she won Gold in the 100m and 100m Relay and Bronze in the 100m Hurdles at the 2019 South Asian Games.

Fitness & Sports: Describe the training for the hurdles?

Lakshika Sugandi Gonapala: The training for the hurdles is very complex because it involves both running and jumping simultaneously and as a result there is a greater chance of getting injured doing this activity. To compete in the hurdles you have to have a great deal of focus and a lot of commitment to master this art. The competition is very high for hurdles and one needs to stand strong and determined in the face of these overwhelming odds in order to succeed.

F&S: How do you prepare mentally before a race?

LSG: Right before a race I am one hundred percent focused. I don’t look around. I completely ignore my surroundings and I don’t care about any person around me or anything that is happening around me at the time right before I race. My mind is fixed solely on the race in front of me. That is my mental preparation.

F&S: When did you take up athletics and how did you chose to run the hurdles?

LSG: I first started athletics at my school House Meets. In 2009 I enlisted in the Sri Lanka Army as a soldier. I participated in the Army Athletics Championships and then I was selected by coach, Madame Silva for athletics training in the Sri Lanka Army. Madame Silva was my first coach in the Army. In 2013, Mr. Asanka became my coach. At the 2013 Nationals I placed 3rd in the Heptathlon. At the 2014 Nationals I was placed 9th in the 100m.

In 2015 at the Nationals I was placed 4th. I was selected for the 2015 South Asian Games. At this South Asian Games, I won Gold at the 100m relay.

F&S: What are your future goals and your plan to achieve them?

LSG: My main target is to participate in the 2024 Olympic Games.

F&S: Who do you wish to appreciate who have supported and encouraged you?

LSG: I thank my Parents, my coaches Madame Silva and Mr. Asanka along with my other coaches who have guided me along the way. My physio Kyasturi and the Sri Lanka Army who takes care of me and enables me to participate in athletics.

arangi Silva, Medals Won at 2019 South Asian Games:

2 Golds

Sarangi Silva is 23 years old and comes from Thalpitiya, Panadura. She won Gold Medals at the 2019 South Asian Games in the Long Jump and the 100m Relay.

Fitness & Sports: How and when did you start doing the long jump?

Sarangi Silva: I started athletics in Grade 5. I did the Long Jump and 100m. It was my coach Y.K Kularatne who brought me up to international standards. I am ranked 141 in the world for the long jump.

F&S: You are an athlete in the Sri Lanka Army, describe how the Army has helped you in your athletic career?

SS: I joined the Army because my Father was a soldier and the Army takes very good care of their athletes. The Army gives athletes the discipline they need to be successful.

Because of the salary that the athletes receive from the Army, the athletes are able to afford the necessary attire and accessories to participate in athletic events.

F&S: Describe your training?

SS: I first do full body stretching to relax the muscles. It is essential that the muscles are fully relaxed before the workout. Then I do the warm up drills such as the double bounce, ankle flex, bounding, leg jumps followed by more jumping. My workout consists of box jump, 3 step jump, 5 step jump and 17 step jump. I train at the Torrington grounds and at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

F&S: What are your future goals and your plan to achieve them?

SS: My main target is a medal at the 2024 Olympics. I would like to win a medal in the future Asian Games as well. My coach goes to different countries and learns new techniques which he teaches us. I request the Sports Ministry to send us abroad for further training and to get more international experience in training and competing on international tracks.

 

F&S: Who do you wish to appreciate those who have supported and encouraged you?

SS: I thank my Parents and my brother. They have spent a lot of money on me to pursue my athletics. My coach Mr. Y.K. Kularatne helped me reach international standards. The Athletic Association, Sports Ministry, the National Olympic Committee, the Sri Lanka Army and everybode else who has helped me.

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