Sprinter Amasha de Silva, akin to Susanthika | Sunday Observer

Sprinter Amasha de Silva, akin to Susanthika

7 February, 2021

Amasha de Silva is one of the top sprinters in the country today. After Susanthika Jayasinghe’s feat at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Sri Lanka has not produced top women sprinters. Speed seems to be the biggest drawback.

Amasha may fill that gap in the near future.

The Youth Observer caught up with Amasha to discuss her athletic career.

Q: How did you enter the athletics field?

A: My mother and father influenced me. They were sportspersons in their young days. My mother was an athlete who participated in 400 metres hurdles events and my father was a bodybuilder.

Q: How was your athletics performance in school?

A: To tell you the truth, I did not perform well in sports in my childhood. I never showed any skills at school sports meets. Not even when I was a teenager.

Q: How did you come to do well in athletics?

A: I became successful due to training hard and my coach polished my talent.

Q: You had to be satisfied with a Silver medal in the 100 metres at the South Asian Games in 2019 as you could not beat the Indian sprinter?

A: Yes. I did my best in that event. But today, I have improved a lot and can put up a better performance in the 100 metres.

Q: At the 98th Athletics Nationals you completed the 100 metres in 11.55 seconds setting up a new Sri Lanka record.

A: Yes. That was my personal best. I am very thrilled about it.

Q: You produced your best timing in the heats and went on to set up a new record. Wasn’t it a remarkable moment in your athletics career?

A: Of course. In the heats I finished the race in 11.64 seconds. That was my personal best and in the final I finished it 11.55 seconds. I will never forget that in my lifetime.

Q: Do you know that is the fourth best timing recorded by a Sri Lankan athlete?

A: I heard about it. Before me, our legendary sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe set up a record in 2006. Rumeshika Rathnayaka finished a race in 11.51 seconds in Australia. After that, I achieved this timing.

Q: What was the best time that you achieved before the Nationals?

A: I once had a timing of 11.71 seconds before this achievement.

Q: Why were you unable to achieve this timing at the South Asian Games?

A: I do not know. But I could not reach my personal best and I had to be satisfied with a Silver. But now I have improved and can perform better in the South Asian Games.

Q: You have won medals in several international meets within a short period. Could you describe those achievements?

A: In 2018 I represented the country at several international meets - IAAF World Junior Championships in Finland - 100m, Asian Junior Championships in Japan - 4x400m and won a Bronze, Asian Junior Championships in Japan - 100m - Silver, 2018 - Asian Junior Championships in Japan - 200m - Silver, 2018 - South Asian Junior Championship in Sri Lanka - 100m - Gold, 2018 - South Asian Junior Championship in Sri Lanka - 200m - Gold, 2018 - South Asian Junior Championship in Sri Lanka - 4x100m Gold, 2018 - South Asian Junior Championship in Sri Lanka - 4x400m - Gold, South Asian Games 4x100m - Gold and 100m – Silver.

Q: To which school did you go to?

A: Swarnamali Balika Vidyalaya, Kandy.

Q: When were you born?

A: I was born in 1999 in Kandy.

Q: What do you do these days?

A: I am an undergraduate of the Sri Jayawardenapura University.

Q: Isn’t taking part in sports a hindrance to your education?

A: Sports gives us the strength to achieve our targets. In fact it has helped me to move forward in my higher studies. I tell the youngsters in our country, don’t be afraid of doing sports. It is not a barrier for studies. On the contrary it helps you on that journey.

Q: How did you manage your training during the lockdown periods?

A: I managed to follow my schedule and trained well. That is how I was able to set a new record at the recent athletic nationals.

Q: What are your future plans in sports?

A: I hope to take part in the Olympics one day. I have enough time to achieve it. I am sure my coach, the Sports Ministry, and the Athletics Association will guide me to it and I strongly believe I can do it.