Sajeewani conquers boxing ring | Sunday Observer

Sajeewani conquers boxing ring

Boxing is generally not a sport embraced by most Sri Lankan women. Of the few who took up this sport and excelled is Sajeewani Cooray. The 29 -year -old boxer has had a challenging life from childhood and hers is a story of determination against many challenges. She explained “I was born and sent into foster care, so I had quite a difficult childhood. I studied at St. Anthony’s school, Kadalana, Moratuwa.

During my school days I played cricket and did athletics. I had no clue about boxing, as I enjoyed playing cricket was only interested in it. It was in 2013 that I got a new job at MAS Holdings. This was the turning point in my life as I realised that even women had a chance to compete in boxing. I am very thankful to two persons- Kamal Sameera and Rohan Dangalla who encouraged me and helped me in my sporting career. I competed in the novices meet and tasted my first boxing victory. Being at MAS, I was able to meet women’s boxing star as Anusha Koddithuwakku, who had a great influence on my boxing career”.

Boxing requires stamina and speed, and Sajeewani had to commit to an intense training routine. In 2014 she got her first gold medal at the Layton Cup in the 54 kg Bantam weight category. Seeking to challenge herself further she enlisted in the Sri Lanka Air Force in 2015. Here she underwent her basic training for three months, making new friends. The SLAF gave her a greater opportunity to pursue her career in boxing. Since 2015, Sajeewani Cooray has gone onto become the National Champion in her weight category, increasing her medal tally to 22 Gold medals. This is a tremendous achievement for a girl within a short span of time.

Subsequently, she went to Indonesia to take part in competitions. She added “I am thankful to two friends Kaushalya Lokusuriya and Madushanie Lasanthie who have stood by me and helped me in many ways. Also to Shirani Fernando who has been like a sister to me. Where sports are concerned in Sri Lanka people always get excited about and enjoy cricket. Boxing is not understood or enjoyed by many.

There are very few female boxers and I wonder if others will take up this sport in the future? No one can achieve success alone- I owe all my achievements to God. I strongly believe that God has been good to me and will continue to depend on him. Whenever I am free on Sunday I go to church”. The young boxer begins her training at 6 am and goes on till 9 am and then again from 3 pm to 6 pm, trains five days a week.

Having faced many challenges in her life her long term ambition is to compete in the Olympic Games and win a gold medal for Sri Lanka (DJ).