Hiruni Wijerathne ready to help SL | Sunday Observer

Hiruni Wijerathne ready to help SL

6 September, 2020

Hiruni Kesara Wijerathne is a Sri Lankan National Marathon Champion living in the United States of America.She participates in many International events held annually since 2014. The events include well known marathon races like the marathons in Ottawa, London, New York, Boston and Houston in the USA. As a woman she has empowered herself with sports and her profession. Her time management is remarkable and this can be said to be the foundation of her success. She reestablished her 5,000 metres Sri Lanka record recently and the Youth Observer had an online interview with her.

Q: Hiruni, a few days ago you established a new National record in the 5000m race. Can you speak about this achievement?

A: Covid -19 basically cancelled all my previous plans for 2020. I had high hopes of participating in the Olympic Games. Since I continued to train but at a lesser capacity than my normal marathon training, my coach and I decided to take this opportunity just to compete again. I am thrilled that I was able to come away with the national record.

:But, at the last South Asian Games held in Nepal you did not compete in the 5,000m event. What is the reason?

A: I qualified to represent Sri Lanka in 5000 and 10000m by winning the National championships in August 2019. I am also the South Asian Marathon area record holder. I decided to give up my spot to another SL athlete so she could have an opportunity to go to SAG. She needed to win Gold! My favourite event has always been the marathon and I was happy to win my event.

:After re-establishing the 5,000m National record do you hope to represent the country in this event again?

A: Of course I will run a 5000m again. But it’s not the main event I am focusing on.

:How about your marathon career?

What are the forthcoming races you wish to participate in?

A: I can’t answer this question because of the pandemic. Globally,no marathon races are scheduled currently. As soon as I hear of one I will do my best to reach the Olympic Games standard.

:You live in the U.S.A. You are professionally a sales and marketing director. But you are involved with competing in sports. What is the reason for it? I ask this question as most of the players after beginning a career often give up their sport.

A: I don’t receive any funding from outside entities. I also prefer not to depend on other people for my livelihood. I have Master and Bachelor degrees so I prefer to develop my future and career at the same time while pursuing professional sports.

:How do you find the time to engage in both fields ?

A: My days are very long. I wake up before sunrise and have very little time for social activity outside of my job and running.

QYou have been representing Sri Lanka during the past few years and have obtained the best results among all other SL players. But one day, you also will retire. Have you thought about your retirement?

A: It’s been an honour to wear our country’s flag across my heart at each opportunity. I hope my performances can motivate others. I haven’t thought about my retirement until now because there is still much to accomplish. Once I do retire, I hope to see other women rise far above the standards I’ve set for Sri Lankan sport. That would make me the happiest person. I also hope I can play a role in developing sports and female participation in SL sports for years to come.

QHiruni, you are the most internationally experienced athlete in Sri Lanka especially in marathons. How do you rate our players’ skills compared to foreign players and how can we develop our players to world standards?

A: I can’t really speak about this. I think work ethics and having resources to improve is key. Sri Lankan athletes are highly talented, they just need the right support.

What is your your daily routine? How do you balance your sports and profession?

A:Answered this earlier. My routine is pretty boring. I wake up early to accomplish everything each day.

Q:Are you married? How does your husband support your sport?

A:Yes I’m married. My husband is a marathon Olympian for Venezuela. We have a very supportive relationship in developing our sport careers and professional business careers.

QI think you are a long term planner. Can you explain how you plan your yearly schedule? It it will be an advantage for youngsters to learn how to make an annual plan.

AUnfortunately, if this year has taught me anything it is that plans need to be flexible. I do plan long term and of course I have big ,long term goals but I also set myself small goals I can strive to reach along the way so I can stay motivated.

QWhat time do you set aside for your practice? During winter how do you continue your practice?

A: I run outside most days. Even when it’s -20*Celsius I’m running outside. The only times I use the treadmill are on days with heavy snow or ice. On those days it’s too risky to run outside.

QHave you an international coach? Who is he and who are the other players he has trained?

AMy coach was a top marathon and distance runner for the US. He was my first coach at age 15 and he has remained my coach for many years.

QWhat is the place yout like to travel to the most?

A: I love traveling to various islands throughout the world. Like Sri Lanka, every place has its own charm.

QDo you plan to settle in Sri Lanka one day and will you develop our youngsters in the future?

A: I am not sure I need to live in Sri Lanka to develop sports for youth. As I mentioned earlier this is one of my passions and I hope to be able to contribute to Sri Lanka’s rise in sports and international presence in all sports in the years to come.