Challenges will not stop my journey – carrom player, Roshita Joseph | Sunday Observer

Challenges will not stop my journey – carrom player, Roshita Joseph

31 January, 2021
School team
School team

Roshita Joseph, a former No. 1 women’s carrom player in Sri Lanka, clinched the women’s title at the world online Carrom Championship organized by the United Arab Emirates Carrom Federation last year.

The Youth Observer caught up with her to discuss her career and the challenges in her life.

Q: Roshita, how did you take to carrom?

A: Carom is my hobby. As my family had a carrom board and I was attracted to that sport easily.

Q: Would you care to share that experience with us?

A: As my father was a carrom lover we had carrom board in our home situated in the Maradana area in Colombo. Lots of people gathered at our home everyday to play carrom. My mother is also addicted to this sport and I too loved it. That is how I became a carrom player.

Q: You mean your father was the inspiration for you to take to carrom?

A: Yes. My mother also inspired me at the beginning. My father always came to play the game with my mother. We watched their talent and studied their game as well. That’s how we honed our skills. I treasure that period in my life.

Q: Why do you say that?

A: My father was with us at that time.

Q: What happened then?

A: My father passed away suddenly. Following which we had to face many challenges. Carrom and other sports activities took a back seat in my life.

Q: You were involved in other sports activities at that time?

A: Yes. As a student at All Saints’ Girls College, I played netball, took part in swimming and athletics too. But following my father’s sudden death I had to quit sports. We had to think about a source of livelihood rather than sports.

Q: How did you become a carrom player while in school?

A: Our school principal, Sister Preethi introduced carrom to our school at the end of 2005. Our Mistress in Charge Miss Priyanga Nishani told us about it and as I had sweet memories about the game I was easily attracted to it.

Q: At which age did you find success?

A: As a 14-year-old, I won the runner-up title in an under-19 tournament. That was the turning point in my carrom life. That victory guided me to clinch six national carrom titles later on.

Q: That was encouraging victory. What followed in your carom life?

A: In 2006, we entered the Western Province School’s carrom tournament for the first time and won the title. Then we were selected to take part in the all-Island school carrom tournament and we won the runner-up title. That was a feather in my cap.

Q: Is it true that you won your first all-Island title in 2007?

A: Yes. The National Junior Carrom Championship was my first all-Island victory. I clinched the under-17 Champion title and also won the amateur singles title.

Q: That helped you to become a member of the national team and take part in an overseas tournament?

A: Yes. In 2008 I took part in the Skin Field International Carrom tournament in India where I won the under-17 girl’s title as well.

Q: You had various economic issues at that time. How do you find the money to go to India?

A: It was a very crucial tournament. As a schoolgirl without a father I had to face many problems to find the money. My mother pawned her jewellery and found the money for that tour. We had to bear all the expenses with our own money. That was discouraging for us. But my mother never gave up and she supported me all the way.

Q: That was the beginning of your victories in overseas tournaments?

A: Yes. In 2009 I took part in the SAARC carrom championship in India and the Third Asian Carrom Championship and clinched more titles as a team which represented the country.

Q: You have won six national titles up to now. Do you remember winning your first National title?

A: In 2010 I won the national title for the first time. That year, I was also crowned singles and doubles winner in the National Junior tournament. Then in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 I clinched the national title and in 2018 I did it again.

Q: How many times have you represented the country abroad?

A: Around twenty times. As a player I have a goal and that is to clinch the world championship. I also plan to win the national title this year too.

Q: Who are the people you encourage you?

A: My father when he was alive, my, mother, sister, my school principal, Lasantha sir, Langley Mathias, the present Navy Commander and all staff in the Navy help me to continue this sport. All other retired Navy Commanders also helped me on my journey. Last year I married carrom player Abishek Jayawardhana who also encourages me. I have overcome every hurdle in my carom life. That is the mind power my family gave me. I appreciate their goodwill.