National squash champion Ravindu Laksiri | Sunday Observer

National squash champion Ravindu Laksiri

14 February, 2021

Twenty-five-year-old Ravindu Laksiri has won the Sri Lanka National squash championship title on eight consecutive occasions.

Last month he proved his skills again and won the National Squash championship in Colombo. The Youth Observer met him to discuss his achievements.

Q: When did you take up this game?

A: I took up the game when I was schooling at D.S. Senanayake College in 2004. At that time, I was in Grade Three.

Q: Isn’t squash an expensive sport?

A: Yes it is. As players we have to spend a lot of money on our training sessions. As it is an indoor game we have to book the courts and also spend money to buy racquets, balls and the shoes too are expensive compared to most other games.

Q: Who or what inspired you to take up this sport?

A: Actually, it was my brother. He is a good squash player. Watching him play attracted me to it.

Q: Does your brother still play squash?

A: Yes. He left school a couple of years ago and joined the Air Force.

Q: Who helped you to reach national standards?

A: First of all, my school coach, Chandana Sir. Then I was helped by Mohan Sir, Thalagala Sir, Yasmin Miss and my school also helped me in my journey.

Q: Are you employed?

A: Yes. I am employed at the Brandix Group. They help me to continue to play this game. I am thankful for their support.

Q: When did you first become national champion?

A: I won that honour in 2013 when I was in Grade 12.

Q: Have you represented the country in squash?

A: Of course. I have participated in several foreign tournaments. However, Covid-19 has put a stop to all this.

Q: Could you recount memorable incidents while on tour?

A: A day before I was due to go abroad to take part in the South Asian Games in India, my father passed away. I was the captain of the team at that time and I had to stay back several days before I went on the tour. We won a bronze medal in the tournament. We had to compete with teams from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan.It was very challenging and the competition was hot.

Q: Now that you are the best squash player, what is your ambition?

A: I wish to be among the top 50 international squash players. Up to now, we have not won top class international tournaments in this game. I wish to be the first and set a trend where youngsters can come forward to maintain and develop it in the future.

Q: That is a positive attitude to take. But do you have any plans to reach this target instead of simply limiting it to words?

A: I have no intention of limiting it to words. I always train hard and keep up my enthusiasm for the sport. I train alone most of the time. I take one day’s leave every week for practises. That is how keen I am to fulfil my dream of reaching the top 50.

Q: The world squash meet is due to be held this year. What are your plans for it?

A: Yes. The world squash championship will be held in Australia this year. I am training hard to perform well in that championship. We train either at the NCC squash courts or the Police Sports complex in Narahenpita.

Q: Does your employer Brandix support you in your sports career?

A: Of course they do. They give me enough leave for my practice sessions and they provide my air tickets and other necessities in sports. That is another reason that keeps my interest in the game.

Q: Isn’t squash a rich man’s sport?

A: Maybe it was at one time, but not now. Today, young people of every layer in society are involved in this sport. A few years ago only the police and the three forces were involved in this game. But now that has changed. Squash has spread outside the main cities.

Q: Can you recall your victories in this game?

A: In the South Asian Games we won bronze medals in 2016 and 2020. I have participated in the Commonwealth Games on two occasions. I have entered the plate finals several times.

Q: Do you consider yourself as being unbeatable?

A: Of course not. Anyone can beat me if they develop their skills more than me. I need tough competition. However, I have become the national champion eight times in my country and also won three junior championship titles. It is really hard but I have achieved it.

My parents, coaches, workplace staff and several others help me to develop my skills. I thank them publicly for this.