Weightlifter Sudesh Peiris targets another Commonwealth medal | Sunday Observer

Weightlifter Sudesh Peiris targets another Commonwealth medal

29 November, 2020

“I have taken part in a large number of weightlifting competitions on behalf of my country over the past twenty five years in the international arena and won several medals. Although I have now reached middle-age, I have no inclination to give up the sport. My heart tells me that I could win more medals,” weightlifter Sudesh Peiris told the Youth Observer.

Excerpts of the interview:  

Q: Sudesh, What are you doing these days? 

A: I continue my training in weightlifting and do a part-time job at the CrossFit Gymnasium in Thalawathugoda. 

Q: The Sri Lanka weightlifting pool is conducting its training camp in an upcountry area. But you are in Colombo. Can you explain that? 

A: Our weightlifting national pool has begun training in Kandy. Earlier they were at Torrington. But following the second wave of Corona-19 they moved to Kandy. But before they went I got a part time job. I explained it to my coach and also the Federation and got permission to stay in Colombo.

Q: How do you get your weight training schedules? Is it via WhatsApp or other social media channels? 

A: I follow my own schedules. When I was in Japan, I followed my own schedules  and succeeded. Today, a large number of lifters are doing it. When I am in the national pool I follow the coach’s schedules.

Q: Did the Federation and the coach agree to your suggestion to train separately? 

A: I am the only lifter without a proper job and have many personal commitments. They understood that and agreed to my suggestion.

Q: If you don’t mind could you outline your personal expenses? 

A: I have to maintain my car and buy food supplements to build body muscles. Paying telephone bills and looking after my mother and grandmother are the other expenses. I cannot maintain my lifestyle without a job.  

Q: You are in the middle age of your life. How many more years do you plan to represent the country? 

A: I think about it deeply.  But my heart has not told me to stop the game as yet. When it tells me I will stop. I have body strength and I think I can win another Commonwealth medal. 

Q: Weightlifters have more doping problems compared to other sports. But  you have not faced such scandals in your career and are an example to young lifters. What have you to say?

A: I never use drugs. I have won several medals in international events using my talent. In 2014, I led the Sri Lanka contingent to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. While in Japan, I found that weightlifters in that country never use drugs or cheat their federation. It also taught me a good lesson for my sports career. If I train in Sri Lanka my name may be linked to such allegations. Fortunately, I understand the truth and keep my sports life free of drugs. 

Q: You were living in Japan. Have you come back permanently? 

A: No. I live in both countries. But the Covid-19  pandemic has affected my life. I came here for the weight lifting selection trial for the world tournament. The world tournament has been cancelled and trials also postponed. So I could not move back to Japan. 

Q: Do you think you can win medals in the future? 

A: Of course. I am maintaining my body and can win few medals. 

Q: Do you have competition in your category  in the country? 

A: I am 35 years old. For that reason I have few challenges in my weight category. But I think I can meet this challenge with my experience. Challenges like this are important in sports. Otherwise it would be difficult for us to improve our skills. 

Q: How do the Japanese go about in weightlifting?

A: Japanese weightlifters develop their skills day by day. They have a proper plan to develop their game.

Q: Could you tell us about your beginnings?

A: I studied at St. Mary’s College, Negombo. I took to weightlifting while in school. Ranjith Sir, was my first coach who taught me the basics. Before that, I was a soccer player. Later I won the junior nationals and became a national weightlifter as well. 

Q: Are you happy about the decision to take up weightlifting?

A: Yes. I think weightlifting is what I love the most in my life. I have never regretted taking up the sport. I have spent nearly 25 years with this game. I have won several medals and become national champion in my weight category. Everyone  cannot become a national champion.

Q: Sport Ministers  felicitate athletes now and then. Have you ever been felicitated during your career?

A: I received a cash award as a Commonwealth medalist. But for presidential and other awards we have to make a request to the organizers of the award ceremony. I have never agreed to it.

Therefore, I have not been given a house or car by the government. As a principle, I have never requested anything from the Sports Ministry. That is my policy. If they think I should be felicitated let them do it.

Why should I request for a felicitation or award from  them? That is my life policy and I do not cheat by taking banned substances. It is my life motto.