Vidusha’s triple jump blazes a trail | Sunday Observer

Vidusha’s triple jump blazes a trail

Competing and winning the bronze medal at the 23rd Asian Athletic Championship in Qatar this year was definitely an amazing experience. Being able to make the final and jump in front of thousands of people was special.

Vidusha Lakshani, 22-years-old and from Negombo, blazed a trail with her amazing feat at the recently concluded 23rd Asian Athletic Championship in Qatar. At this international competition, Vidusha brought the only medal for the country, a bronze, in the women’s triple jump covering a striking distance of 13.53m.

After winning the gold medal at the South Asian Junior Athletics Championship in 2013 and the silver medal at the Asian Games in 2016, Vidusha holds the Sri Lankan record for women’s triple jump marking a striking distance of 13.53m.

Born in Negomdo to a Sinhala Buddhist family on December 28, 1996, Vidusha is the youngest of the family with two elder sisters. She was a student of Ave Maria Convent and Newstead Girls School, Negombo.

Youth Observer caught up with Vidusha at one of her training sessions at the Sports Ministry Grounds in Torrington ahead of next year’s Olympics.

Q : When did you first become interested in sports?

I first became interested in sports around the age of seven or eight. My elder sister played netball when she was schooling and was my muse. Following my sister’s footsteps, I started playing volleyball and netball when I was very young. I also started participating in school sports events. I did the 400m hurdle without proper training and was fortunate to break the all island record at the Western Province Sports Competition. That was the turning point in my life and I decided to go through proper training to continue my interest in athletics. I learnt my ABCs in athletics under my first coach Philip Ranjith during my school days. I’m really grateful to him for identifying my talent for athletics and training me accordingly.

Q :  What is your biggest achievement to date?

Competing and winning the bronze medal at the 23rd Asian Athletic Championship in Qatar this year was definitely an amazing experience. Being able to make the final and jump in front of thousands of people was special.

Q :  Were you a bright student in school?

I actually tried my best to balance my studies and athletics when I was schooling. I never repeated any of the exams at school although I was average in my studies and hardly attended private tuition classes. My friends and teachers helped me to do my Ordinary and Advanced Level exams and I’m really grateful to them. However, my first preference is always athletics.

Q :  The bronze you won at the Asian Championship was your second international medal. What difference did you experience competing with international athletes?

Technology was the main challenge I had when competing with international athletes. Most of our techniques are equal. They use the most advanced equipment to measure daily improvement .

Adapting to weather conditions is the biggest challenge we face when participating in international competitions.

Comparing daily routines of practice with international athletes, it’s very hard to find any difference. Although the level of improvement or talent can vary according to the commitment of each athlete, our techniques and practice routines are quite similar to international athletes.

Right now I’m training under an international coach, Luiz Miranda from Cuba.

Q :  What support did you receive from the Sports Ministry?

It sponsored my air tickets, accommodation and other expenses during the tour. I get a monthly allowance from the National Olympic Committee.

Q :   How important is constant training?

It’s very important to have a constant training schedule to achieve goals as well as to have a sustainable career in athletics.

If you want to have a successful career in any field, constant training and commitment are the key elements.

Q :  What are your top three tips for keeping fit?

  •  Be consistent
  •  Don’t stick to the same workout everyday but follow a strict diet plan
  •  Have fun

Q :  How challenging is it to be a female athlete when climbing the ladder of success?

The first challenge that female athletes have to face is being paid half or less of what is given to males. This is not something unique to our country or to the athletic field. It’s a global phenomenon that applies to every field. Its unethical and a violation of our fundamental human rights.

Being an Asian woman, there are lots of cultural barriers we have to overcome, especially in a field like athletics, where many people think it should be for males. These outdated ideas will however, gradually disappear.

Q : What is your next hurdle?

My biggest endeavour in the next few months is to get selected for Olympics 2020. I work diligently to improve my capabilities and I’m confident that I will be selected.

Q :  Do you always look for a gold in every competition you participate?

I never dream of winning medals, instead I concentrate on improving my distance in every competition I participate. If I can improve my distance in every competition, winning an award is always easy.

Q : Have you any tips for eating healthier?

I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I try my best to avoid sweets. I have a lot of fruit with my meals. It keeps me going throughout the day.

Q :  If you weren’t an athlete what would you be and why?

I honestly have no clue because sports has been a part of my life for so long. So, I have never thought of being anyone other than an athlete.

Q :  What are the most memorable events in your athletic career?

Winning the bronze at the 23rd Asian Athletic Championships. Competing with Kazakhstan athlete Olga Rypakova (my favourite athlete and role model -I love her techniques) in an international competition is also a memory I treasure.

Q :  What are your biggest strengths?

To be successful in any field you have to have self confidence. It should be gradually developed. However, over confidence can kill your career. I have seen very talented athletes who screwed up their careers due to over confidence.