Shooter Tehani’s Olympic dream started with babies and bullets away from home | Sunday Observer

Shooter Tehani’s Olympic dream started with babies and bullets away from home

4 July, 2021
Tehani Egodawela
Tehani Egodawela

Shooter Tehani Egodawela qualified to represent Sri Lanka at the Tokyo Olympics taking part in the women’s 10m air rifle 0.1777 event which will definitely be the pinnacle of her career after going through many hardships that included having to nurse her twin babies she took to India where the South Asian Games was held in 2016.

Tehani is enlisted in the Navy and has been selected as the best shooter seven times since 2012. In addition, she has represented Sri Lanka in many overseas competitions and has exhibited excellent performances.

She holds the Sri Lanka record in the women’s 10m air rifle 0.177 event from 2018 and the National record in the women’s 50m rifle 0.22 in standing, kneeling and prone events since 2019.

She won bronze medals in the women’s 50m rifle 0.22 team event at the South Asian Games 2016 in India as well as in Nepal in 2019 and set a new national record in the women’s 50m rifle 0.22 event held in Qatar in 2019.

“I had no idea of going for the Olympics. But the South Asian Games held in India in 2016 was the turning point of my career when I won a bronze medal.

“I took part in this meet with my twin boys just three months old at that time. I had to face difficulties to obtain visas for them as I was breast feeding them and they needed me,” said Tehani a former student of Good Shepherd Convent in downtown Hendala who had a motivator in Bhathiya Attanayake.

Tehani presently continues to train under the supervision of Captain (Naval Infantry) RA Raymond, Chairman of the Navy Musketry Pool and is coached by Master Chief Petty Officer (Retired) UM Premalal.

“I started shooting in 2010 and my first competition was the inter command firing meet. I was not very keen to take part in this meet but Captain Jinadasa encouraged me and from then on I continued overcoming several hurdles,” recalled Tehani.

She trains at the Shooting Federation’s new firing range at Kohuwala which has a modern electronic target system but hopes for the day that the country will have the latest modern-type of weapons for shooters as well as a foreign coach to fall in line with world demands.

She also has to be mentally conditioned before a meet under the guidance of mental training coach Nandana Weerasinghe and is provided with the necessary equipment including bullets by the Navy under the direction of its commander Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugethenna who is also the chairman of Navy Sports Board.

“Times have been very hard for me but as a Christian I put my faith in God and as a player I never hesitate to commit and dedicate myself in whatever I do,” said Tehani.