Javelin is my first love - Nadeeka Lekamge | Sunday Observer

Javelin is my first love - Nadeeka Lekamge

5 June, 2021

The Sri Lanka Javelin champion is Nadeeka Lekamge of the Sri Lanka Army. She won the javelin event at the National Athletic Championships which was held at the Sugathadasa Stadium recently.

The Youth Observer caught up with her to discuss her achievement and her future plans in life.

Q: To begin with, what Province did you represent before becoming a national level athlete?

A: I represented the Sabaragamuwa Province. My village is Parakaduwa, Eheliyagoda, a beautiful place.

Q: The Sabaragamuwa Province was famous for cycling. But it has now produced a champion athlete?

A: Cycling dominated Sabaragamuwa in the seventies and eighties. But, athletics became popular in the earlier 90s. Yogananda Wijesundra sir also represented the province at one time. Susanthika Jayasinghe, Nilani Rathnayaka and several other athletes are from the Sabaragamuwa Province. There was a dramatic rise in sports activities following the setting up of Sumana Balika Vidyalaya and other schools. Seevali and Aloysius Colleges in Ratnapura have produced top boxers.

Q: How did you become a javelin thrower?

A: My sports career began when I was at Narada Central College, Parakaduwa. Running events were my favourite although I participated in other sport events. A new master to our school, Aruna Shantha asked me to try out the javelin. I tried it out and day by day my performance improved. Shantha is an admirable sports master who has helped in my sports career.

Q: After the change of event you entered another school. Was there any special reason?

A: I joined Sri Mahinda College, Aruppola in 2003. It happened because Aruna sir was transferred to that school and to continue my sports activities under his guidance I entered that school. He was my coach until 2012.

Q: You also represent the Sri Lanka Army Sports Club. How did you join the Army?

A: After leaving school I got a chance to join the Army and continue my sports activities. It was a big opportunity for me. Without the Army I cannot perform well in sports. The Army is the strength behind my performance.

Q: Javelin is a field event. Field events are not popular in Sri Lanka. Did you not have second thoughts about taking up the sport and finding success in it?

A: I know the track events are most popular with spectators in our country. But it has not affected me. I have talent for this event. I also think the javelin is a suitable event for Sri Lanka to perform well in the international arena.

Q: Do you have any role models?

A: In the beginning I did not have role models. Later I heard about Nadeeka Lakmali akka and I followed her performance day by day. I dreamed of becoming like her.

Q: Today Parakaduwe Nadeeka has overtaken Nadeeka Lakmali, former national javelin champion. What do you think about that?

A: I am very proud of it. If anyone can beat his or her role model in their life it is a brilliant experience. The competition helped me sharpen my skills.

Q: What do you think about the competition for this event in the country? Is it enough to sharpen your performance?

A: A more competitive environment would help to improve skills. But we have to be satisfied with the facilities we have.

Q: Today, several Sri Lankan athletes perform well in Europe and in the USA. Are you not keen on receiving training in foreign countries?

A: It is not easy to obtain foreign training. Also, after my coach Rodrigo sir’s death, I faced the big problem of finding a new coach. But I do not fret over it and try to do my best in the event.

Q: Has the pandemic forced yor to stop training activities?

A: No it has not. I am continuing my training activities.

Q: Where do you train? Is it your village area or around the workplace?

A: I train in Colombo as my coach is in Colombo.

Q: How do you travel to the grounds?

A: I travel on my own motorcycle or in the coach’s car. Those are the methods I use to travel to the playground these days.

Q: National javelin champ traveling on a motorcycle for practices?

A: I never ask for any special facilities. Especially I do not like to make requests for my personal benefit. So, I never ask for a vehicle permit or any other loan. I do not mind a light vehicle. If the Government helps me, I can buy a small car and maintain it myself.

If the Sports Ministry does that, other players will work hard to improve their skills as well. Even if they never give me anything I will try to give my best for the country.

Q: Before the last South Asian Games Nimali Liyanarachi met with an accident while riding a motorcycle. I think the safety of athletes is not guaranteed when travelling by motorcycle. What is your opinion?

A: Yes. There is a risk. But it is beyond my control. If some other form of transport can be provided it will be great for all national champions.

Q: Would you care to talk about your economic background?

A: The Sri Lanka Army is my only source of income. I provide for my family and maintain all my needs with this salary. Sometimes it finishes before the end of the month. However, I try to manage it to the best of my ability.

Q: Now to come to something personal. Do you plan to marry soon?

A: No. I do not plan to marry soon.

Q: I think you are in the right age to change your life status. What is the reason you think like that?

A: Marriage is a big responsibility. I cannot maintain my married life and sports together. I will marry after I retire from sports.

Q: Finally, tell me what is your ambition in sports?

A: I hope to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games. I am also trying to reach the Asian level too. My one and only ambition is earning more respect for my country.