Dilshi Kumarasinghe: eyes medal at Tokyo Olympics | Sunday Observer

Dilshi Kumarasinghe: eyes medal at Tokyo Olympics

14 March, 2021

Dilshi Kumarasinghe is a young and talented athlete. Her performance in her pet event, the 800 metres recently has placed her among the top three in the Asian region. She is one of the youngest athletes in the country and is confident of winning medals in the future.

The Youth Observer caught up with her to discuss her athletics life.

Q: Hello Dilshi, are you busy these days or are you simply idling?

A: There is nothing special on these days. I continue my training sessions as well as I can. But, we do not gather too much.

Q: What would you say if I introduce you as a young and promising athlete?

A: I am very happy about that introduction. My ambition is to become the greatest athlete in the country and I train very hard to achieve it. I hope I can succeed.

Q: The Tokyo Olympics is due to be held this year. Aren’t you keen to be a member of the Sri Lanka contingent?

A: Of course I am. Participating in the Olympics is the dream of all athletes. It is the same for me too. I am trying hard to take part in the Olympics. I have another chance in the selection trial to be held in a few weeks.

Q: What do you think of the competition you have in the 800m event?

A: It is good to have competition. If competition grows I can sharpen my skills. That is how I view the situation. Some of our athletic legends are of the opinion that this is a rare chance for Sri Lanka to perform well in the 800 metres at international athletic events.

Q: Why do they say that?

A: I have heard that the 800m event has become very competitive now as three athletes are trying to find a place in the Sri Lanka contingent. Three speedsters competing for a place in one event is very rare in our history according to seniors in the athletics field. I do not know if it is true or false. But I also think there is very good competitiveness in the 800m event.

Q: Nimali Liyanarachi and Gayanthika Abeyrathna are the other leading runners in the 800m event. What is the challenge they pose?

A: They are the most talented runners in this event and have enough experience. I think I will stand a better chance if I develop my skills quickly.

Q: What is the timing needed to take part in the Tokyo Olympics in the 800m event?

A: It must run in 1.59 minutes. At the athletic nationals this year, I finished first. Nimali akka gave up the race but Gayanthika akka tried to beat me but could not. I think we can obtain a better timing now.

Q. You are the youngest athlete with medal prospects. Do you think you can win medals for the country?

A: Yes. Without targets man cannot find success. As a young girl the country has big hopes on me and I like to wave my country’s flag in the international arena.

Q: You are in your twenties. Isn’t that a heavy burden on your shoulder?

A: No, it is not. I love the challenge and will definitely win medals in the future. I did it at the last South Asian Games.

Q: Yes, at the last South Asian Games you won several medals. Could you speak about it?

A: I remember the Games very well. Due to Indika akka’s absence I had to compete in the 400m race and I won a Gold in that event. In total I bagged three gold medals as an athlete. Those were for the 400m, 800m and relay event. It all happened so suddenly.

Q: Do you think that you can succeed at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games?

A: Why not. It is not too hard to perform well at those Games. We dominated athletics in the Asian region in the mid-nineties. Susanthika Jayasinghe, Damayanthi Darsha, Sriyani Kulawansa, Sugath Thilakaratne held our flag high. Now it is our turn to hold the flag. As I said earlier we must focus on winning and it is not a difficult task.

Q: Do you think you can reach Olympic standards soon?

A: I hope to achieve it. I am now 21 and have enough time to participate in the Olympic Games in the future. It will not be a difficult task for me.

Q: You are a product of Walale A. Rathnayaka Vidyalaya, which is well-known for producing top sportsmen and women. Can you describe your beginnings?

A: In 2014, I joined Walala A. Rathnayaka Vidyalaya. Before that I studied at Rajawella Junior School and competed in the 100m and 200m events. After coming to the Walala A. Rathnayaka College my athletic instructor Susantha Sir changed my events to the 400m and 800m. That made a big change in my life. I found more success than in other events.

Q: Will the next Asian Games be your main target in your career?

A: Yes. It is in my mind. I think it will be held next year.

Q: Could you tell us something about your short athletics career?

A: At the South Asian Junior Games I won the 400m, 800m and 400m relay, setting up records. In the Junior Asian Meet I won Silver in 400m event and won bronze medal in 400m relay and 800m event also. In 2019, we succeeded in setting up a new Sri Lanka record in the 400m relay event in Doha Qatar. These performances are vivid in my memory.

Q: One final question. Could you say something about your future plans and your personal life?

A: I hope to run the 400m in less than 52 seconds and the 400m under 1.59 minutes in the future. With regard to my family - my mother works in the garment sector and my father is unemployed and I have now joined the Army.