Boxer Thiwanka plans to become a coach | Sunday Observer

Boxer Thiwanka plans to become a coach

8 November, 2020

In 2018, Thiwanka Ranasinghe won a bronze medal in boxing in the Light Fly Weight category at the Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia.

This is a remarkable achievement as Sri Lanka won a medal in boxing at the Commonwealth Games after a lapse of seven decades.

The Youth Observer met Thiwanka to talk about his boxing career.

Q: Boxing has taken a break these days with the Covid- 19 virus spreading rapidly. How do you manage your daily work schedule?

A: I work at the Hela Clothing Group and have stopped my sports activities at present. My job keeps me busy.

Q: You are not that old to give up boxing. What made you take such a decision?

A: I have come to a point in life where I have to decide on the most suitable path for me and I decided to concentrate on my job full time. That was the reason for my decision.

Q: Is your decision a permanent one?

A: I am not sure about it. I am a bit confused. I cannot give you a direct answer.

Q: I cannot question your decision. But, what is the reason?

A: I sometimes wonder whether I made the correct decision. However, I do not have the financial stability to continue boxing.

Q: Does your employer, the Hela Clothing Group, provide you with facilities to continue the sport?

A: At present it does not. I have to work for my progress and that of the company.

Q: Did the management of your company ask you to give up boxing?

A: No. They have never asked me to give up the sport. It was my own decision as I could not balance my job and sports activities so, I decided to give up boxing.

Q: Do you mean that you do not have enough skills?

A: I can box well. But I need to have a good financial background too. Without money we cannot do anything. In another seven years I will be 35 after which I will not have any chance of being involved in amateur boxing. How could I find a job at that age? I have to take care of my parents and my brothers and sisters as well. It is a huge burden on me.

Q: If someone sponsors your boxing career would you resume your sport again?

A: If anyone invites me to start my boxing career again, I would certainly grab the chance. But I must find a solution to the problems that I have mentioned. If they can solve them , I can begin to box again.

Q: Following your decision to quit, other boxers have come into your weight category. Don’t you think that is a challenge?

A: I have been away from boxing for around one and a half years. In that situation it is a challenge. But I can regain my full rhythm again within three months. So, it is not a problem for me.

Q: You are a former Sri Lankan champion in the light flyweight category. Am I correct?

A: Yes, I was the unofficial champion in my weight category. I am very proud about it.

Q: Today, other boxers are dominating in your weight category. What do you have to say about it?

A: One day we have to stop everything and go. We have to condition our minds for it. However, it has affected me because I have enough time to get involved with the sport.

Q: I like to know about your background. What is your school?

A: Vidyartha College.

Q: Isn’t the school famous for boxing?

A: Yes. We have produced a large number of talented boxers. We have a good reputation for boxing.

Q: Was that the reason you got involved in boxing?

A: That was the strongest reason. My class was situated near the boxing room. I saw boxers often. I had a dream to become a boxer. I asked my father for permission to start boxing and he agreed.

Q: Your father worked at Slimline which is a part of the MAS Group at Pannala. Did that influence your boxing career?

A: Yes. My father was a sportsman and worked at Slimline. The boxers and my father used the same gymnasium. So, my father had good knowledge of boxing.

Q: In your early days you boxed for the MAS Group? Am I correct?

A: Yes. I boxed for the MAS Group. But I was offered a job at Hela Clothing and I changed my workplace.

Q: To how many countries have you travelled during your career?

A: Around twenty countries.

Q: Tell me about your international medals?

A: I have won around ten medals including the Commonwealth Bronze Medal and South Asian Medal. I won a Gold Medal in the Netherlands in 2018. All the medals are valuable to me.

Q: I know the Commonwealth Medal is the special one among them . Please tell me about it?

A: I won that Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia in 2018. I was the first male boxer from Sri Lanka to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games after sixty-seven years. I am very proud of it. Unfortunately, I could not win in the semifinal. Before the game I planned well for victory. But suddenly it failed. That is life.

Q: After your decision to stop your boxing career didn’t you try to go for professional boxing?

A: One of our senior boxers introduced me to an agent to take up professional boxing in the USA. I discussed this with him and the agent. According to the agreement, I have to give twenty-five percent of my income to them. I thought about it deeply and spoke with a lawyer. But my family doesn’t like it. So, I have given up my dream of becoming a professional boxer.

Q: Do you plan to become a boxing coach?

A: Of course. If I cannot box I like to produce boxers for the country. Actually I was thinking of becoming a coach. But Covid-19 has made me postpone the idea.

Q: In conclusion, what would you like to say?

A: If any one, such as the new Sports Minister, gives me enough facilities to begin my career again I can win more international medals such as the Commonwealth medal as I have about eight more years to complete in the amateur category.

I also thank my coaches, teachers, colleagues and especially Dion Gomes.