Sri Lanka target medals at World Military Boxing | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka target medals at World Military Boxing

12 September, 2021
Sajeewa Nuwan
Sajeewa Nuwan

Sri Lanka are aiming for at least five medals as they field a 15-member team at the 58th World Military Boxing Championship to be held from September 16 to 26 in Moscow, Russia.

“We are hoping to win medals in at least five weight classes,” said team captain and Navy boxing chairman Captain Arjuna Lanka Perera. “Our target is the heavier weight categories.”

Navy coach Chief Petty Officer Nikshan Sajeewa Dasanayaka said they have been training hard for this tournament despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic. “Our main medal prospects are Indika Ariyarathne (75kg), Roshan Kumara (69kg), Jeewantha Wimukthi Kumara (60kg) and Sajeewa Nuwan (49kg) among the men while Sajeewani Cooray (57kg) is the best bet among the women boxers,” said Dasanayaka, a two-star AIBA qualified coach.

He will be assisted by Air Force’s Danushka Bandara Ariyarathne and Army’s Divarathna Mallawarachchi.

Two-time national champion Sajeewa Nuwan who has carried away the Best Boxer awards at the Layton Cup, Clifford Cup and the National Championships, is Sri Lanka’s brightest prospect but has yet to deliver at the international level.

A technically sound boxer with superb ring-craft, the 29-year-old Lance Corporal is hungry for success having taken part in two Asian Championships. “I want to win a medal and bring glory to the country. I have trained hard for this tournament,” he said.

Five-time national champion Sajeewani Cooray of Air Force is the most experienced woman pugilist. The 31-year-old was a bronze medallist at the 2019 SAG in Nepal.

A tough-as-nails fighter, she lost to the world number three from India in the Feather weight (57kg) at the Thailand Open Boxing Tournament in 2019. She is one of four Air Force women pugilists who will be representing Sri Lanka.

“My trophy cupboard will not be complete without winning a gold medal for Sri Lanka,” she said.

Among the eight representatives from Army are three boxers with a proven track record in the past. They are 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ishan Bandara, national bantam weight (56kg) champion Thilina Weerakkody and 2019 SAG gold medallist Rumesh Sandakelum.

Bandara’s form in domestic competition has fluctuated since his medal winning feat. Weerakkody a silver medallist at the 2016 SAG, was overlooked for the Nepal Games but still packs a deadly knockout punch. Corporal Sandakelum, a southpaw stunned his Pakistan opponent in the Light Heavyweight (under 81kg) semifinal before outpointing a Nepalese in the final to bring home a boxing gold from the SAG after nearly two decades.

Maj. Gen. Prasanna Ranawaka will be the Chef-de-Mission of the tour party which comprises two referees Brig. Wasantha Saman Kumara Liyanawaduge and Sqn Ldr Chaminda Prasad Wijesinghe with Sgt Sunil Prasad Ranaweera as masseur.

MEN: 46-49kg - L/Cpl Sajeewa Nuwan, 52kg - Sgt Ishan Bandara, 56kg - WO I Ruwan Thilina Weerakkody, 60kg - Cpl Nissanka Jeewantha Wimukthi Kumara, 64kg - Cpl Sanjeewa Bandara Rajakaruna, 69kg – L/SEA Piyankara Roshan Kumara, 75kg – AB (PTI) Indika Ariyarathne, 81kg - Cpl Rumesh Sandakelum, 91kg - L/Cpl Dhanushika Vaidyarathna, 91+kg - Sgt Buwaneka Eranda Thilakarathna

WOMEN: 51kg - L/Cpl Hanwellage Sanduni Priyadarshani, 57kg - LAC Sajeewani Srimali Cooray, 60kg - LAC Harshani Chamodi Pasyala, 69kg - LAC Weerakoon Kashmi Thiwanka, 75kg - LAC Gayani Nisansala Kaluarachchi