Bull’s eye Rehana has more than a target | Sunday Observer

Bull’s eye Rehana has more than a target

Mother Lanka can well be proud of her young daughter Rehana Tyabally who did her proud at the South Asian Federation Games 2019.

Rehana was a member of Sri Lanka’ mixed archery team and they won a bronze medal. A silver medal was won by her as a team member of the ladies’ archery team which clinched the second place.

Currently, she is one of the two Sri Lankan girls who have attained the minimum qualifying mark for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. She scored 625 at the Asian Archery Championships 2019 while the qualifying mark for ladies is 605.

She now has to participate in the World Archery Championships 2020 and win to qualify for a slot in the Sri Lanka team for the Tokyo Olympics.

Rehana winged her first arrow at the tender age of 14 years under the guidance of her father Leyaket Tyabally who is an archer himself and the present archery coach of CMS Ladies’ College, Colombo when she was a student of St. Bridget’s Convent at the time.

For a while Rehana had to give priority her studies and archery had to be put on the back burner.

It was in 2014 that Rehana took up her bow and arrow again and she has never looked back since. She also joined CMS Ladies’ College for her A/Levels and continued with her archery in private with her father Leyaket as coach.

However, Rehana represented Ladies’ College at both the Junior and Senior Nationals in 2017 clinching both Championships. She represented Sri Lanka at the Indoor Youth World Cup in 2017 and bagged a Silver medal. Rehana was also a member of the team at the 2016 SAF Games in Shilong, India and represented Sri Lanka at the South Asian Archery Championships 2018 in Bangladesh.

Slim and attractive Rehana is very modest and was very reticent to talk about her successes. Her interest was piqued by watching her father and she took to archery easily and it soon became a passion with her.

During the run up to the 2019 SAF Games she trained from 8 am to 3 pm at the CR and FC ground under the eagle eye of British coach Michael Peart who was the former coach of the victorious British Para Olympic Team.

Now, Rehana trains for three hours a day at the SSC ground coached by her father and also by Michael Peart. She uses a re-curve bow and Eastern X 10 arrows to shoot her way to success. “It is the technique which matters the most” says Rehana. “It matters more than the aim so it is the technique that we practice the most”. To achieve what she has achieved in archery this young girl has sacrificed much including fun activities like hanging out with friends and late night partying.

Her studies in economics and finance at the Royal Institute in Colombo had to be adjusted to accommodate the rigorous practice sessions for SAF 2019. She will now graduate in 2022 with a degree in economics and finance from the London School of Economics.

To the question what she has gained from archery Rehahana said: “Archery is more of a mental sport than a physical one. It requires tremendous concentration and mental discipline. These traits have stood me in good stead in life and my studies. Archery has also taught me punctuality,” she added.

The Sunday Observer Sports asked this up and coming archer about the state of the sport in Sri Lanka. “Compared to other countries Sri Lanka has much to achieve to reach international levels. But it is good that the Government is investing in the sport for instance, obtaining the services of British coach Michael Peart.”

Her advice to aspiring archers is to be passionate about the sport and ready to work hard and sacrifice much to succeed.

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